Iron Innovations is a senior design team. For this project they partnered with the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University Of Michigan Hospital. The department of radiation oncology tasked the team with developing an improved Interstitial Brachytherapy Template. The template is used in conjunction with radiation therapy to treat gynecological cancers. Physicians use the template to guide hollow needles into the site of the patient’s diseased tissue only to later deliver the high dose radiation.
Currently the template has no means of locking the needles into the template to ensure that the needles do not shift during the patient’s stay in the hospital. So the design team came in and designed a screw collet to immobilize the needle in the template. Their system is on a millimeter scale; hence fabricating prototypes with traditional methods (molding, milling, etc.) would be very difficult and expensive. The team came to the UM-3D Lab because the machines the lab has enabled them to fabricate a comprehensive prototype not only on the scale of precision their design required, but the lab was also able to fabricate a small scale template in a matter of a few days. With the new ProJet 3D printer the team was able to cycle through several design iterations because the printed prototypes allowed for immediate feedback on the design functioning. “The engineering design process is highly iterative and our final design, soon to be implemented, would not have been proven without the 3D printers at the UM-3D Lab,” said senior design team member, Joshua Rosefelt.
Article by Kari Simonsen