3D plotting is an additive manufacturing technology enabling biofabrication, thus the integration of cells or biologically sensitive proteins or growth factors into the manufacturing process. However, most (bio-)inks developed for 3D plotting were not shown to be processed into clinically relevant geometries comprising critical overhangs and cavities, which would collapse without a sufficient support material. Herein, we have developed a support hydrogel ink based on methylcellulose (mc), which is able to act as support as long as the co-plotted main structure is not stable. Therefore, 6 w
%, 8 w
% and 10 w
% mc were allowed to swell in water, resulting in viscous inks, which were characterized for their rheological and extrusion properties. The successful usage of 10 w
% mc as support ink was proven by multichannel plotting of the support together with a plottable calcium phosphate cement (CPC) acting as main structure. CPC scaffolds displaying critical overhangs or a large central cavity could be plotted accurately with the newly developed mc support ink. The dissolution properties of mc allowed complete removal of the gel without residuals, once CPC setting was finished. Finally, we fabricated a scaphoid bone model by computed tomography data acquisition and co-extrusion of CPC and the mc support hydrogel.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited