In September 2018 I fractured a few bones in my hand and needed to be in a cast for four weeks. Everyone who experienced something similar knows that after those four weeks you still need to be very careful because the real healing of fractured bones takes much longer than four weeks. So I was thinking that it might be a great idea to create some form of support for when the cast is removed. I found a wrist brace model on Thingiverse that looked really good but what kind of material can one use for something that needs strength and is safe for your skin. PLA was not an option because it’s just too brittle so maybe PETG or ABS then? Well, I was lucky! My friends over at Treed Filaments found out about my fractured hands and offered me to send me a spool of their amazing FMD material designed especially for the creation of custom made orthopedics.

Healthfil is a range of filaments specifically developed for applications that implement the support offered by fused filament extrusion-based additive printing technologies.
Through a partnership with some of the leading industry professionals, the Healthfil team has studied a range of materials to meet the most stringent requirements for rigidity, flexibility and durability post-treatment.

There’s a complete range of Healthfil materials that you can choose from.

  • OSSO is a specifically developed PLA simulating the appearance and texture of real bone, for use in 3D model prototyping from CAT scans.
    Easy to print, awesome detail.
  • Fortis LL filament on a polyolefin matrix allows the combination of relative elasticity, elastic memory, enervation resistance with high wear and laceration threshold.
    Another key strength is its exceptional lightweight properties.
  • Elasto A is an elastometric, flexible material with a 92 shore A hardness.
    Reliable over time and resistant to aggressive skin fats, it also offers excellent elasticity and high abrasion resistance.
  • Structura MA was created to combine lightweight properties with mechanical strength.
    The addition of carbon fibers allows the production of structural supports with more advanced geometries and by overcoming more constructive challenges than ever before.
  • Pure Ft is a flexible material with a 93 shore A hardness.
    The polymer composition was enriched with a new generation antimicrobial material, boasting a 99,9% efficiency.
    Tested in a laboratory according to international standards and tests.
  • Verum T offers the ability to produce rigid elements with high tenacity properties.
    The pieces can be sterilized in autoclave at 125° C.

The material that I got to review is Healthfil Verum T. The filament comes in a simple but beautiful cardboard box. A nice white, clean box held shut by a rubber band. The Treed and Healthfil logos are on the box and Made in Italy with the web address.

When you open the box it’s all Italian class. There’s a nice transparent plastic spool inside a sealed bag and a Treed UV protective / antistatic bag to store the spool in when your finished printing.

The material is made from polyester matrix and with shore hardness 78 it is really strong. You don’t need to have a professional 3d printer for this filament but I strongly recommend to only use it if you already used other kinds of material than PLA or PETG.

I used my Original Prusa i3 Mk3 by Josef Prusa to print the brace and the printer handled the material very well. The only huge problem I’ve experienced was to get the Verum T to stick to the powder coated double-sided PEI sheet. I used acetone, alcohol and a bit of glue but nothing seemed to work (I was out of Magigoo…. Grrrrr). Then I tried the smooth PEI sheet and that seemed to go a bit better than the powder coated one but after two layers it started to warp and come off the bed. No success! After a few hours, I wanted to take a break and rethink strategies. Then i came up with the idea to use a raft and then first print a few layers in ColorFabb HT which is also printed at 270 degrees Celcius and then switch to Healthfil Verum T and that worked amazingly good.

The brace took 10 hours and 34 minutes to complete. It came out really good but there was a little bit of stringing so i need to change some settings for the next print. But with the help of a heatgun this problem is solved. The transparent blue-ish look of the filament is amazing on the finished product.

Print settings:

  • Nozzle temprature: 270 C
  • Bed temprature: 110
  • Part fan speed: Max 10%
  • Print Speed 35/45 mm/s
  • Perimiters: 2
  • Infill: 20% gyroid

I used Cura slicer to see what differences it is going to make with the same model sliced in Slic3r PE which I am going to use next. I also want to change the infill to 100% to see how much stronger the brace is going to be. With the 2 perimeters and the 20% infill, I need to be really careful not to break the material because it’s not easy to put on. It works but it’s not the greatest solution. With my big hands, I want to be able to use a bit more force but I think with more infill that minor detail is fixed also.

The verdict for this first Verum T print.

I think like all the other materials by Treed Filaments this material is really great for its purpose. Altho I really think many hospitals are not going to use this filament for casts for broken bones because it takes much to long to complete a print the orthopedic world can choose a few great new materials to satisfy its costumers. I do not own an autoclave so I can’t tell you if the finished product really can handle 125 degrees Celcius but to test that I can also use my oven to try that. For more info about Healthfil visit the website by clicking HERE or send them an email.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *