Biotech Life Science
3D Bioprinters

How Bioprinting Works & How We Save You Time & Money

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3D bioprinting diagram

Bioprinting utilizes 3D printing technologies for a multitude of tasks and applications in the fields of medicine, bioengineering, and pharmaceuticals.

Biotech diagram

This technology, which consists of different fabrication techniques, such as extrusion-, laser-, and inkjet-based 3D bioprinting techniques, focuses specifically on cell and tissue growth, as well as the manufacturing of biomaterials for biomedical parts.

It’s considered a form of additive manufacturing (AM) and rapid prototyping. However, unlike 3D printers, 3D bioprinters is used to reconstruct biological material and create tissue-like structures from various regions of the body using cell-encapsulating hydrogel bioinks reinforced with extracellular matrix derived from decellularized tissue. Simply put, 3D bioprinting—in conjunction with bioreactor systems—can be used for engineering human tissue.

Different cell types and bioinks are used depending on what’s being fabricated. Each bioink can be made with a specific type of material composed of living cells and additional polymers, such as collagen, gelatin, hyaluronan, and nanocellulose, and knowing what properties each bioink has is critical to tissue engineering’s success. The main bioink properties that should be considered include viscosity, gelation, and crosslinking.

Crosslinking is a crucial step that significantly influences the mechanical and physicochemical characteristics of the bioprinted constructs and the cellular behavior of the incorporated cells in the bioink.

One of the most common materials used for hydrogel-based tissue engineering and drug delivery is alginate. It is a type of biocompatible hydrogel with a wide pore distribution and physical properties that can potentially be tailored to direct 3D cell growth and differentiation in vitro and in vivo. It shows strong crosslinking capabilities, and exhibits high viscosity and gelling properties.

In tissue engineering, the cell type used alongside a specific bioink depends on the tissue model. For example, if the model is the brain, then you might see neural stem cells being used alongside a polyurethane-based bioink.

Being able to print structures that mimic both micro- and macro-environments of human organs and tissue can be incredibly important in clinical trials and drug testing, as well as testing treatments for diseases.

Bioprinting has already aided in the creation of necessary biological materials and cells for medical procedures that involve repairing damaged tissues, as there is often a shortage of these things, and has the potential for so much more.

Key bioprinting applications include tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TERM) and biomaterial and drug printing, printing living tissues, skin grafts, and organs, as well as tissue models for cancer research and drug and toxicology screening.

These applications are possible due in large part to the combination of nano-biomaterials and bioprinting, which has allowed for new opportunities in biofabrication, improving weaknesses in the biofabrication process and making the production of tissues and organs feasible.

Bioprinter Processes, Methods, & Price

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The basic 3D bioprinting process is similar to the 3D printing process. However, bioprinting replaces 3D printer materials with cells and biomaterials. It consists of three distinct phases: pre-processing, processing, and post-processing.


The first step in bioprinting is pre-processing. It involves constructing a model using DICOM files and CAD softwares that the printer uses as a guide to print with.

A DICOM file is an image saved in the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) format, and contains an image generated by common medical imaging technologies such as CT and MRI scanners. CAD (computer aided-design) softwares aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design, and are commonly used in 3d printing technologies. Together they help scientists and engineers create 3D tissue models.

Pre-processing also typically involves choosing the materials and cells that will be used when printing, and obtaining a biopsy which provides the initial cells that will be expanded upon using cell culture methods.

Using a layer-by-layer approach, a tomographic reconstruction is applied to the images. A small sample of living cells, collected via the biopsy, is mixed with a solution that provides all the necessary nutrients needed to keep them alive.

This cell expansion technique is essential to ensure a large number of cells are available for mass production needs. This is what makes up the bioinks used to print the image.


After creating the necessary 3D model using CAD softwares and selecting the correct material and cell type, the bioinks and cells are placed in a printer cartridge that deposits the material into scaffolding or a structure that mimics the bodily tissue needed. However, where the materials for printing are placed, or how they’re used, depends on the fabrication technique.

The bioprinted tissue is then placed into an incubator, or bioreactor, that encourages cell growth and development. Typically, 3D printing biological constructs involve a biocompatible 3D scaffold in order to produce successful layer-by-layer generation of tissue-like three-dimensional structures. Commonly, these 3D structures lack the complexity of a real organ.

These reconstructed organs do not function as efficiently or effectively as their real counterparts due to their lack of blood vessels, tubules, and ability to grow new cells. However, tissues, cells, and biomaterials are easily reproducible under the current conditions of 3D bioprinting


In the final step of bioprinting, maturation of bioprinted cells is governed by providing conditions that enable cell growth and development. This process creates a stable structure from the biological material. In recent years, bioreactors have been used to enable faster maturation, vascularization of tissues, and the possibility of transplant survival.

There are three main approaches to 3D bioprinting. These include autonomous self-assembly, biomimicry, and the microtissue approach:

Autonomous Self-Assembly
This approach attempts to address the limitations of other approaches such as biomimicry. The conceptual reasoning involved in autonomous self-assembly is that an external influence, like a 3D scaffold, is not necessary with the correct embryonic environment.

This approach relies instead on proper structural elements to help with the construction of tissues and organs. It is believed that these cells are capable of self-organizing and interacting to create raw materials on their own to aid the development of maturation. This is, in short, an attempt to create embryonic autonomy.

Also referred to as a biomimetic approach, it attempts to engineer every component of native tissue. Every aspect of a target tissue is created using external influence, in an attempt to mimic natural occurrences and mechanics.

This can become incredibly complex based on the type of biological material being reproduced and its varying levels of cellular interaction. Biomimicry looks to minimize these complexities using the appropriate 3D scaffolding material and an ideal bioreactor.

Lastly, this approach is sometimes referred to as mini-tissue, and can be seen as a combination of biomimicry and autonomous self-assembly. The concept relies on the similarities of in vitro tissue that are composed of many small and simple units that work together to make up the whole. Implementing this, bioprinting techniques are used to form the smallest units of a target tissue which can then be combined to make up the final whole tissue.

High-Resolution 3D Bioprinter Leases to Fit Every Need

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Founder-Friendly Leases

Our lease agreements are founder-friendly and flexible, helping you preserve working capital, strengthen the cash flow of your business, and keep business credit lines open for expansions, staffing, and other crucial operational expenses and business development opportunities.

2-5 Year Lease Lengths

Leases range from 2 to 5 years. Length will depend on several factors, including how long you want to use the equipment, equipment type, and your company’s financial position. These are standard factors leasing companies consider and help us tailor a lease agreement to fit your needs.

Your Choice of Manufacturer

We don’t carry an inventory. This means you’re not limited to a specific set of manufacturers. Instead, you can pick the equipment that aligns with your business goals and preferences. We’ll work with the manufacturer of your choice to get the equipment in your facility as quickly as possible.

Maintenance & Repair Coverage

Bundle preventive maintenance and repair coverage with your lease agreement. You can spread those payments over time. Easily maintain your equipment, minimize the chances something will break down, repair instrumentation quickly, and simplify your payment processes.

End-of-Lease Options

At the end of your lease, you have multiple options. You can either renew the lease at a significantly lower price, purchase the machine outright based on the fair market value of the original pricing, or call it a day and we’ll come the pick up the equipment for you free of charge.

No Loan-Like Terms

Our leases do not include loan-like terms, which can be restrictive or harmful in certain situations. We do not require debt covenants, IP pledges, collateral,  or equity participation. Our goal is to maximize your flexibility. When you lease with us, you’re collaborating with a true business partner.

In-House Underwriting Process

Our underwriting is done in-house. You can expect quicker turnaround, allowing you respond to your equipment needs as they arise. We require less documentation than traditional lenders and financiers and can get the equipment you need in operation more quickly.