Six smart guidelines for high-tech manufacture on low-tech 3D printers: the case of the 3Flex

Fabian Trauzettel*, Emmanuel Vander Poorten, Mouloud Ourak, Jenny Dankelman, Paul Breedveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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While articulated surgical instruments have enabled the proliferation of minimally invasive interventions, procedures such as laparo-endoscopic single-site surgery are waning in popularity. One potential reason for this decline is a lack of sufficiently dexterous instruments. Although multi-steerable instruments exist, these are often complex and therefore expensive assemblies. Even when 3D printing was used to simplify the design of these instruments, the requirement for high-performance 3D printers limited the reduction in manufacturing costs. To tackle this issue, we propose six guidelines for converting a 3D printed compliant medical instrument from printing on a Digital Light Processing (DLP) printer to a Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) printer. These guidelines provide a framework to manage and compensate for differences in the two processes to achieve comparable results at a reduced cost. The proposed guidelines were evaluated by assembling a FFF 3D printed prototype that shows equivalent performance to its DLP 3D printed counterpart.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-684
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Engineering Design
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • 3D printing
  • Hyper-redundant
  • medical devices
  • snake-like
  • surgical instruments


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