The 3D-printed heart pump could have several advantages over conventional manufacturing methods. By being able to 3D print magnets directly into parts, manufacturing could be significantly faster and more agile. This could be especially important in developing ventricular assist devices (VADs), which require high precision and accuracy. The fact that the pump was printed in a single step could also simplify the manufacturing process and potentially reduce costs. Overall, this is a promising development in biomedical engineering and could potentially lead to better and more accessible heart pumps.
According to ETH doctoral student Kai von Petersdorff-Campen,“ My goal was not to make a good heart pump but to demonstrate the principle of how it can be produced in a single step. Conventional manufacturing methods are bottlenecks in developing ventricular assist devices (VADs). The shift to agile, fast, and test-driven development practices requires additive manufacturing techniques. A critical component of heart pumps are magnets, e.g., in the driving and bearing system of the impellers in turbo dynamic VADs. Using fused deposition modeling, I also developed a method to 3D print magnets directly into parts. Researchers printed and tested a functional pump with ten integrated components.”