Juliette, could you let us know about your background and what brought you to 3D printing in the first place?
Passionate for healthcare innovation, I graduated in Industrial Engineering and in Biomechanics engineering. My studies, and then my professional experiences brought me to 3D printing.
What was your very first experience with 3D Printing?
I discovered 3D-printing during my engineering studies in Grenoble (France), we were lucky to have access to a 3D printer (FDM technology). I had the opportunity to work in several group projects combining R&D and 3D-printing:
- Bike design with TIME Sport- (Voreppe, Isère) which makes high-end bikes in carbon,
- Re-design of a prosthetic element with an orthopedic company (Chabloz Orthopédie – Grenoble),
- Research project about mass customization of assistive products for walking.
For all these projects, 3D-printing was either a way to prototype quickly, either a finality.
You are an R&D engineer at Bone3D. Could you explain furthermore what Bone3D is and the services that you are providing?
Bone3D is a startup created in April 2018, based in Paris, specialized in the manufacture of personalized 3D printed medical devices. We offer custom orthognathic repositioning gutters, rhinoplasty splints, nostril shapers for children’s with labio-palatine clefts, anatomical models, surgery simulators and many other products!
Can you tell us more about your job: R&D Engineer – Responsible for simulation project?
At Bone3D, I am responsible for the development of surgical simulators and as an R&D Engineer, I work on the design and the production of new products, especially surgical simulators.
Surgical simulators are 3D printed models, which reproduce a part of the anatomy, designed to provide a pedagogic tool for the surgeon’s formation. They aim to allow trainees to perform all the specificities of delicate surgeries as many times as necessary in a safe environment by mimic the constraints of surgery.
This means that I work on simulator’s specifications (surgery understanding, going to the operating room …), the CAD modeling, and the production of the models: we have the chance to have our own 3D-printer in our promises (Stratasys – J735).
To date, what would you say is your greatest achievement in Additive Manufacturing?
I would say the simulator that we had developed during my biomechanics’ master project: I had the opportunity to work with a neurosurgeon, Dr. Stephan Gaillard, who had this amazing idea: provide a physical tool enable to train to all the specificities of complex surgeries. We develop together a 3D-printed simulator to train to the Endoscopic Endonasal Transsphenoidal Surgery. This surgery is a minimally invasive surgery performed to remove pituitary adenomas.
This simulator is today commercialized by Bone3D which took over the project in September.
Do you have any (fun or not) story about the company or your career to share with us?
Recently, I had the opportunity to visit a veterinary school and its simulation room – full of stuffed animals on which veterinary students train. It was an unusual and interesting experience!
Have you run into any challenges from being a woman engineer in 3D Printing?
Although I work in a male-dominated field, I have never experienced any gender discrimination during my studies and professional experiences. The main challenge for me is to stay true to myself and be confident in an industry dominated by men.
Anything exciting coming up you’d like us to know about?
Soon, Bone3D will acquire a metal 3D-printer to expand our products and meet the surgeon’s need! It will bring us so many possibilities!
What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far?
I think all the low-cost products which can help disabled people for everyday life. It is incredible how very simple 3D-printing parts, designed using a user-centered approach, can have such a positive impact on people life. I especially think of low-cost prosthesis made by the associations such as E-nable (https://e-nable.fr/) or My human Kit (https://myhumankit.org/)
What do you consider game-changing technologies in Additive Manufacturing?
The possibility to provide customized products with rapid delivery. This is particularly interesting and adds much value to the healthcare sector.
What makes the 3D printing industry particularly interesting for you?
- As an engineer?
Definitely rapid prototyping: you design something, and less than 5 hours later you can have your first prototype! Also, with 3D printing, many design rules are redefined: I like to have this liberty when I design.
On the other hand, I also think that sometimes 3D printing can be a trap: it is important to keep in mind all manufacturing processes, 3D-printing is not always pertinent! If it is used smartly, 3D printing is a powerful tool.
- As a woman?
It should bring nothing more and nothing less to a woman than to a man 😉
What do you think of the 3D printing industry today? And how would you like to see it evolve?
I think that the use of 3D printing in industries is still at its beginning and industries are determining the right way to use 3D-printing. It is a difficult task since the technology is in constant evolution.
In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with 3D Printing?
With education! As Nelson Mandela said, “education is the most powerful weapon which can use to change the world”. We start to see 3d-printers in a few high schools and it is great! It is also important to show that 3D-printing can be accessible to everyone and for all kind of application: jewelry, health, automotive, art, construction, etc… Not only scientific women can use this technology!
For those who could be interesting but don’t know how to start: think to the FabLabs which are based on sharing knowledge. With the growing of makers community, their number is increasing and it is perfect to get a foothold in 3D printing, whatever your gender or background.
Favorite 3D tool (could be a software, machine, material…you name it)? Blender because it is an open-source software which allows designing almost everything.
Favorite moment in your day job? At the end of a print, when I discover a new model that I have designed. I also loved when I get surgeon feedbacks about simulators.
What’s on your 3D Printing wishlist for the next 5 years? Evolution of bioprinting! More consideration for recycling in 3D printed process.