This Guy Just 3D Printed His Own Plastic Braces For $60


An undergraduate student from New Jersey Institute of Technology, Amos Dudley, has 3D printed his own plastic braces that cost him mere $60 of materials and a whole lot of creativity. Dudley had braces in middle school, but he didn’t wear a retainer, so his teeth slowly shifted back.

Now needing a new set of braces, he didn’t want to shell out thousands of dollars, which led to the idea of 3D printing them himself!

On his blog, Dudley writes,

“It was an unlikely combination of two things:  was broke, but had access to a high-quality 3D printer through his university, so decided to take full advantage of this.”

Here is the process he used to create the braces:

Dudley came across an ad from a “name brand clear-alignment treatment” and noticed that their plastic teeth looked very similar to ones printed in a 3D printer. That inspired him to try to make his own version.

Amos Dudely

First, he made a cast of his teeth using alginate powder.

“These molds are very precise, and capture an amazing amount of detail,” he writes. “There were some bubbles in the mold,” but they wouldn’t matter for the aligner.

Amos Dudley


He adds,

“Making this casting was simple, he says. I put the mold upside down in a yogurt container, and then filled it with liquid Permastone. When it came out, I simply broke off the top to reveal the casting, and used a razor blade to smooth out the surrounding area.”

Amos Dudley


Using this model, he had a better sense of the shape of his teeth.

Amos Dudley


After painless laser scanning, he placed the design using the NextEngine software.

“The dimensions of the scan seemed to correspond very closely to the dimensions I measured on the physical model with calipers,” he writes.

Amos Dudley


Finally, he was able to make a 3D mold of the teeth.

“Here’s where it started to get very exciting,” he writes.

Amos Dudley


Here’s a close up of the 3D-printed mold.

Amos Dudley

Here are all the “steps” of the 3D-printed teeth.

“Labeling the pieces is critical,” he advises. “They look virtually identical.”

Amos Dudley


So did all that handwork pay off? Here’s his smile before the braces:
Amos Dudley


And here is it after about four months.

Amos Dudley

You can view the entire process in detail on Dudley’s blog.


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