Amos Dudley felt self-conscious about his teeth.
The 24-year-old digital design major at New Jersey Institute of Technology hated his crooked teeth and needed braces, but was a broke college student.
“They weren’t awful, but they were crooked enough to make me self-conscious,” he wrote on his blog. “I wasn’t smiling, and it was because I was unhappy with my teeth.”
However, clear braces like Invisalign can get pricey, costing up to $8,000.
So, he turned to technology.
Amos began researching clear braces online when he noticed the braces he was looking at looked like something that could be made with a 3D printer, which he has access to as a digital design student.
Using his school’s 3-D printing equipment, he scanned and printed models of his teeth.
He then 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 — a process that many orthodontists use.
The project cost under $60, and the braces are almost completely invisible.
After 16 weeks, Dudley has a significantly straighter smile.
Though many people have commented on his blog that he should go into the 3D-printed braces business, Amos isn’t planning on making sets for others.
But, he said it is clear that people are “frustrated with the state of the orthodontic appliance industry.”
“There’s not enough competition, and prices are very high,” he said.