AccScience Publishing / IJB / Volume 9 / Issue 6 / DOI: 10.36922/ijb.0244

Development of an affordable extrusion 3D bioprinter equipped with a temperature-controlled printhead

Carlos Ezio Garciamendez-Mijares1,2,3 Gilberto Emilio Guerra-Alvarez1,2 Mónica Gabriela Sánchez-Salazar1,41,4 Andrés García-Rubio1,2,3 Germán García-Martínez1,2,3 Anne-Sophie Mertgen1,4 Carlos Fernando Ceballos-González1,4 Edna Johana Bolivar-Monsalve1,4 Yu Shrike Zhang3 Grissel Trujillo-de Santiago1,2,5* Mario Moisés Alvarez1,2,5*
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1 Centro de Biotecnología-FEMSA, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Nuevo León, México
2 Departamento de Ingeniería Mecatrónica y Eléctrica, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Nuevo León, México
3 Division of Engineering in Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
4 Departamento de Bioingeniería, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Nuevo León, México
5 Research and Development Unit, Forma Foods, Monterrey, Nuevo León, México
Submitted: 31 October 2022 | Accepted: 22 December 2022 | Published: 5 July 2023
© 2023 by the Author(s). This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( )

Bioprinters show great promise as enablers of regenerative medicine and other biomedical engineering applications. In this work, we present a flexible and cost-effective design for a do-it-yourself bioprinter capable of printing/bioprinting gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) and Pluronic constructs at flow rates of 0.05–0.1 mL/min and effective resolutions of 500–700 μm. The most distinctive feature of this bioprinter is its ability to control the rheology of bioinks simply by adjusting the extrusion temperature during printing. This is achieved by circulating temperature-controlled water within the printhead, which is engineered as a single 3D-printed component consisting of a water-recirculation jacket surrounding the ink/bioink cartridge. The flexibility to circulate either warm or cold water allows the system to be adapted according to the needs dictated by the bioink composition. Herein, we demonstrate the ability to control the printability of GelMA or Pluronic fibers by decreasing or increasing the temperature, respectively, thereby regulating its viscosity. In addition, any commercial needle with a Luer lock can be incorporated into the printhead, allowing the easy fabrication of fibers of different diameters with a single printhead. We showed that our bioprinter is capable of printing simple 2D constructs with high fidelity (i.e., lines of GelMA with a thickness of ~522 ± 36.83 μm can be printed at linear speeds of 100 mm min−1) and 3D constructs composed of as many as five layers of cell-laden 5% GelMA. We also demonstrated that C2C12 cells bioprinted through needle tips (300 μm in diameter) exhibit adequate post-printing viability (~90%), as well as spreading after 7 days of culture. The presentation of this bioprinter may contribute appreciably to the expansion of bioprinter use due to its low overall cost of manufacture, flexibility and open-source character, amenability to modification and adaptation for use with different 3D-printed printheads, and ability to bioprint using GelMA.

Do-it-yourself bioprinter
Temperature-controlled printhead
Temperature-dependent rheology
MGSS, CFCG, and EJBM gratefully acknowledge financial support granted by CONACyT (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, México) in the form of Graduate Program Scholarships. GTdS and MMA acknowledge funding from the UC-MEXUS program. GTdS acknowledges funding received from CONACyT and L’Oréal-UNESCO-CONACyT-AMC (National Fellowship for Women in Science, México). MMA and GTdS acknowledge funding provided by CONACyT in the form of Scholarships as members of the National System of Researchers (grant SNI 26048 and SNI 256730) and funding provided by Saya Bio. The authors also acknowledge the primary antibodies provided by Santa Cruz Biotechnology Inc. in form of free sample.
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Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflicts of interest.
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International Journal of Bioprinting, Electronic ISSN: 2424-8002 Print ISSN: 2424-7723, Published by AccScience Publishing