College Student Makes His Own Braces For A Fraction Of The Cost

Amos Dudley, a 24-year-old digital design major at New Jersey Institute of Technology, was self-conscious about his teeth but didn't have the money for braces. He then decided to take matters into his own hands by 3-D printing his own. He documented his efforts on the DIY project, with his braces costing him less than $60. In addition, he wore them for about 16 weeks, and his teeth are now much straighter.

Dudley wrote in his blog, “I feel like I can freely smile again. That’s what’s most important.” Dudley had braces as a teen, but was not able to keep up with them. He explained, “They weren’t awful, but they were crooked enough to make me self-conscious."

Dudley used his school's 3-D printing equipment and scanned and printed models of his teeth. After that, he molded non-toxic plastic molds around them to make 12 sets of braces. He used animation to help figure out the adjustments in each set of braces. This is a process that orthodontists use.

He wrote, “I planned the path my teeth would take as a 3-D animation, so that they wouldn’t collide with each other along the path. I used each frame of the animation as an aligner step. I determined the number of steps (frames) I needed by looking up the maximum distance a tooth can be safely moved within a given period of time.”

Earlier this week, he told CNN Money that he's still wearing the last set. He does not recommend doing this at home but added, “When I realized that I could do something that was a little bit culturally disruptive, while demonstrating my skills as a designer and a maker, and fixing something that was making me self-conscious for virtually free, I felt it was more than worth the risk."

Photo: Youtube

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