Re: Zcorp users...

From: kirk (
Date: Thu Jan 09 2003 - 00:11:17 EET

Hi rapid prototypers,

Have any of you Zcorp machine users, come up with a substitute for Zcorp's plaster-based powder. At $500 for 15 pounds of the stuff it is eating us alive. Our students here at UCLA Architecture are using our new/used Z402, 24 hours a day.

Our UCLA Bio Medical Department also has a machine and they are using ordinary granulated sugar with great success but we would prefer to use plaster of Paris or something, here in architecture, if we can.

Here is the scoop on the sugar if you are interested. Our biomed students are using ordinary granulated sugar (the large bags) from Costco. Powdered sugar is too fine and doesn't work. The granulated is a little coarse so they run it in an ordinary blender and shake it through a sieve. They run plain water or ink on it. The print head in a Zcorp Z402 is an ordinary Cannon unit that takes standard cartridges from Office Depot. ($35 instead of Zcorp's $65) Sometimes they simply run the black ink that comes in the cartridge. It makes great looking black parts. Their parts look and feel the same as our plaster parts but their machine must be kept immaculate or it will gum up.

Their use for these parts is really incredible. When a person has lost a part of a bone or cartilage they digitize the cavity and model a piece to fit. They then take T cells from the patient's marrow, etc.,  and incubate them on the sugar part. The sugar part has a porous lattice, so the cells permeate the entire thing. After incubation, they wash out the sugar and have a beautiful  bone piece to implant.

z Kirk
Kirk Alcond, UCLA Architecture, Shop Supervisor,
Phone: 310-825-1626

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