Bioprinting Hard Tissues using PCL (Polycaprolactone)

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Overview

PCL (polycaprolactone) 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. Follow this protocol for bioprinting hard tissues using PCL.

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

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

Materials

Methods for Bioprinting Hard Tissues using PCL

Material Prep: Thermal Method

  1. Load PCL into metal syringe;
  2. Screw the metal tip on the metal syringe;
  3. Set your Allevi CORE™ extruder temperature to 100˚C;
  4. Load your metal syringe into the extruder;
  5. Wait for approximately 20 min until the PCL melts before starting to print.
Print Settings: Thermal Method
Speed (mm/s) Layer height (mm) Nozzle Diam (mm)   Gauge
1.0 0.1 0.1 30
Pressure (psi) Crosslink (sec) Print Temp (°C)
100 0 100

Troubleshooting

  1. If there is stringing observed during print, try lowering the print speed, using a nozzle with smaller I.D., or increasing the extruder temperature.
  2. If the printed structure is taller than it is wide, it is more likely that it will detach from the print surface. To prevent this, use a textured print surface such as the sandpaper printing surface.

We hope you found this protocol helpful for bioprinting hard tissues using PCL! Click here to learn how to prep and bioprint solubilized PCL, or click here for more bioprinting protocols.

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