3D printing and bagging sterile components

A sterile glovebox chamber that will use unsterile plastic filament to repeatedly produce and bag sterile FDM parts.

The goal of the project was to prove that we could produce and bag sterile FDM parts inside of a sterile chamber. With the press of a button, the insulated and sealed chamber is heated to a high temperature, which it maintains for a certain amount of time to sterilize inside before it is allowed to cool off. The filament guide tube connects a 3D printer’s extrusion head inside the chamber with the filament drive motor outside. The 3D printer’s electronics, including those on the print head, were placed outside of the chamber, safe from the sterilization process, and connected to the print head by high temperature wires as required.

Unsterile filament is run through the guide tube, and into the machine through the extrusion tip where the heat of the extrusion process is enough to sterilize. Gloves built into the chamber allow the operator to place any extrusions inside sterile bags already inside the chamber. An antechamber’s double-doors allow the operator to remove the bagged, sterile extrusions from the main chamber without contaminating it, as proven by third party testing. Future upgrades will include full 3D printing capabilities, and UV sterilization for the antechamber.