By Jeff Todd

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – An engineering team at the University of Colorado Boulder has developed a way to 3D print on a microscopic scale. The discovery could revolutionize artificial arteries and tissues for the bloodstream.

(credit: CBS)

“We were able to control the local stiffness, the rigidity of the… in the 3D printed structure,” said Yonghui Ding, a team member in the CU Department of Mechanical Engineering. “This is a huge need there and no one can do that. We were able to do that.”

Yonghui Ding (credit: CBS)

The team printed structures with layers of material that were just 10 microns, or about 1/10 the width of a strand of hair.

“We were able to create this structure to mimic the diseased blood vessel. We can use it to test drugs before they go to clinical trial,” Ding said.

(credit: CBS)

The 3D printer used by the research team was built with parts purchased from eBay. The total cost was around $500.

(credit: CBS)

“We want to print to mimic artificial tissue,” Ding said. “We are currently working on putting cells in while we’re doing the printing so we can make a living artery.”

LINK: Nature Communications Article

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.