PCL (Polycaprolactone) Bioprinting

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Polycaprolactone (PCL) is a thermoplastic polymer that offers enhanced control over mechanical properties of final 3D structures. It is specifically developed and optimized for bioprinting of 3D structures. PCL may be used on its own or printed with matrix bioinks such as gelatin methacrylate.

The recommended preparation provided in the user instruction below yields a streamlined printable biomaterial that creates reproducible 3D printed constructs. However, preparation can be modified by users to suit their needs.

Fig 1: PCL can be printed on its own or in combination with a matrix bioink for additional support[1].

Storage and Handling

PCL should be stored at room temperature.

You Will Need

  • PCL
  • Metal needle
  • Stainless steel syringe (5 mL for Allevi 1 and 3, 10 mL for Allevi 2)
  • Petri dish or well plate for printing

Instructions for Use

*If printing with cell-laden matrix bioinks, all steps must be completed in a sterile environment. Be sure to sterilize PCL overnight prior to use with cells.

*Do not try to mix PCL with cells prior to printing. Melting the PCL will kill the cells.

  1. Load PCL pellets into syringe. We recommend 2-3mLs. If working with cells, complete all steps in sterile environment.
    • Do NOT use a rubber stopper when heating a metal syringe.
  2. Cap the metal syringe with a metal needle. A 30 gauge needle is suggested.
  3. Load syringe into the extruder. Connect to your Allevi printer through the software.
  4. Set the extruder’s temperature to the suggested print temperature and allow time (usually 10 minutes, depending on volume) for the PCL to melt.

Print Settings

Speed (mm/s) Layer Height (mm) Nozzle Diameter (mm) Gauge Pressure (PSI) Print Temp (°C)
1-20.10.130 Tapered100100

Notes

  1. Print speed, nozzle diameter and pressure may all be adjusted to better fit a user’s needs. For help adjusting print parameters please contact [email protected].
  2. A fill volume change of more than 2 ml may affect pressure settings.
  3. A lower gauge size or tapered gauge will require lower pressure, while a higher gauge will require higher pressure for extrusion. Lowering the gauge size will also generally lower resolution

References

  1. Kundu, Joydip et al. An Additive Manufacturing-Based PCL-Alginate-Chondrocyte Bioprinted Scaffold for Cartilage Tissue Engineering. J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2013.

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