Robert Hughes, Harry Felton and Andrea Diaz Gaxiola have developed a system of printing, using material extrusion, microfluidic channels at a fraction of the cost of current methods. Resolutions as small as 100 x 100 µm have been demonstrated as achievable with commercially available, desktop equipment. This can be achieved at negligible cost (~$0.50 per 5000/scaffolds) using equipment readily found at home, the workplace or in educational settings (in addition to the 3D printer).
The protocol that can be followed to fabricate these devices can be found at https://dx.doi.org/10.17504/protocols.io.biw7kfhn and is outlined below.
Autodesk Fusion Add-in
As part of this work, an Autodesk Fusion add-in has been developed that allows a user to quickly generate microchannel designs. This is done through a simple user interface where specific dimensions are required, before a model is generated and an stl exported for easy 3D printing.
The latest version of the add-in can be found at: https://github.com/dmf-lab/microfluidics.
Ultimaker Cura Profile
Ultimaker Cura profiles are also provided for an Ultimaker 3 Extended printer (though settings should be generally transferrable between printers). These are provided for 0.4 and 0.1 mm nozzles that were tested as part of the research. The Autodesk Fusion add-in and Ultimaker Cura profiles can be downloaded from github. The project link is: https://github.com/dmf-lab/microfluidics.