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Complements to the Teeth

18 Mar 2016 | self-Amos, making, orthodontics, DIY, commentary


I had hoped that people might find Orthoprint interesting, as a design project with underlying social implications. Instead, it went viral in a way that I didn’t ever expect. Over 100,000 people have visited this blog in the past few days, which is about 1,000 times the number who had previously visited my page, ever.

Orthoprint has made it to the front page of Hackernews, and been covered on:

So, the big question is, why?

The most obvious explanation is that Orthoprint seems to promise a way to save a whole lot of money. Cosmetic orthodontics is financially out of reach for a lot of people, and the notion that a person could do it themselves at minimal cost is very appealing. Many people see the orthodontic appliance industry as highway robbers in white coats

However, Orthoprint is not a tutorial for how to perform medical procedures on yourself. I want this project to be understood as an expression of the disruptive power of technology. By showing people that it’s possible to circumvent an entrenched industry, I hope Orthoprint can make the status quo wobble a little. The response to this project suggests that it has. Meanwhile, real orthodontists are beginning to bring similar technology into their own offices, in order to offer clear aligners without relying on the services of a corporate monopoly, at a lower cost. People often wonder how 3D printing can become applicable to everyone’s lives - this is one big way.

As a 3D designer and aspiring professional, it’s clear that I need to work hard to avoid being exclusively associated with Orthoprint. Moving forward, I’m planning a new 3D prototyping project (partnered with Formlabs), as well as updating my portfolio with new game environment modeling and character design.

Stay tuned!

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Orthoprint, or How I Open-Sourced My Face



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