Purpose – The purpose of the present work is to develop a methodology to manufacture patient‐specific models (lead masks) to be used as protective shields during cancer treatment, using 3D photography, rapid prototyping (RP) and metal spraying. It is also intended to reduce the trauma experienced by the patient, by removing any physical contact as with conventional methods, and also to reduce the manufacturing lead time. Design/methodology/approach – Patient‐specific data are collected using 3D photography. The data are converted to.STL files, and then prepared for building with an LS 380 in nylon polyamide. Next, the sculpted model is used as the mould in a newly patented metal‐spraying device, spraying liquid metal on to the sculpted surface. Findings – Intricate body geometries can be reproduced to effectively create metal shields, to be used in radiography applications. The models created fit the patients more accurately than through conventional methods, reducing the trauma experienced by the patient, and in a reduced time‐frame, at similar costs to conventional methods. The new process and its materials management are less of a an environmental risk than conventional methods. Research limitations/implications – Access to 3D photography apparatus will be necessary, as well as to RP or CNC equipment. Using this approach, files can be transferred to a central manufacturing facility, i.e. hospitals or treatment units do not need their own facilities. Added implications are the design of jigs and fixtures, which will ensure accuracy in reuse. Practical implications – Metal shields can be created with ease and great accuracy using RP machines. It takes less time without inflated costs. Models are more accurately and easy to use, with less trauma experienced by the patient during the manufacturing phase. Originality/value – Novel applications, combined with a new process. The research expands the fast‐growing field of medical applications of RP technologies. Its practical application will benefit patients on a daily basis.
Rapid Prototyping Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 2005
Keywords: Cancer; Lead; Lasers; Sintering; Metals; Spraying
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