Structure-function assessment of 3D-printed porous scaffolds by a low-cost/open source fused filament fabrication printer

Raúl Vallejos Baier, José I. Contreras Raggio, Carlos Toro Arancibia, Miguel Bustamante, Luis Pérez, Iurii Burda, Ameet Aiyangar, Juan F. Vivanco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Additive manufacturing encompasses a plethora of techniques to manufacture structures from a computational model. Among them, fused filament fabrication (FFF) relies on heating thermoplastics to their fusion point and extruding the material through a nozzle in a controlled pattern. FFF is a suitable technique for tissue engineering, given that allows the fabrication of 3D-scaffolds, which are utilized for tissue regeneration purposes. The objective of this study is to assess a low-cost/open-source 3D printer (In-House), by manufacturing both solid and porous samples with relevant microarchitecture in the physiological range (100–500 μm pore size), using an equivalent commercial counterpart for comparison. For this, compressive tests in solid and porous scaffolds manufactured in both printers were performed, comparing the results with finite element analysis (FEA) models. Additionally, a microarchitectural analysis was done in samples from both printers, comparing the measurements of both pore size and porosity to their corresponding computer-aided design (CAD) models. Moreover, a preliminary biological assessment was performed using scaffolds from our In-House printer, measuring cell adhesion efficiency. Finally, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy – attenuated total reflectance (FTIR–ATR) was performed to evaluate chemical changes in the material (polylactic acid) after fabrication in each printer. The results show that the In-House printer achieved generally better mechanical behavior and resolution capacity than its commercial counterpart, by comparing with their FEA and CAD models, respectively. Moreover, a preliminary biological assessment indicates the feasibility of the In-House printer to be used in tissue engineering applications. The results also show the influence of pore geometry on mechanical properties of 3D-scaffolds and demonstrate that properties such as the apparent elastic modulus (Eapp) can be controlled in 3D-printed scaffolds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111945
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D printer
  • Cell adhesion efficiency
  • Finite element method
  • Fused filament fabrication
  • Mechanical properties
  • Scaffold


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