Publication Date


Document Type

Student Project

First Advisor

Diggs, Alisha

Degree Name

B.S. (Bachelor of Science)


Department of Electrical Engineering


Introduction: Addressing the need for affordable and accessible bioprinting technology, the Northern Illinois University bioprinting research and design project aims to democratize the field by developing an open source bioprint head. The initiative targets the prohibitive cost of commercial bioprinters by proposing an optimal design that can be integrated with widely available 3D printers, like the Creality Ender-3. This approach seeks to enable the widespread adoption of bioprinting technology, particularly for applications in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Methods: Leveraging SolidWorks for design, the project employs a methodology that combines a precision extrusion system with thermal and UV crosslinking capabilities. The design process is informed by a comprehensive literature review and iterative prototyping, focusing on retrofit compatibility, manufacturability, and user-centric operation. Special emphasis is placed on the integration of a UV LED light array for effective photo crosslinking and advanced temperature controls for maintaining optimal biomedia conditions.

Results: The proposed design of the bioprint head anticipates precise multi-component bioprinting at a fraction of the cost of commercial alternatives, without relying on proprietary NICE biomedias or a dedicated CaCl2 crosslinking chamber. The preliminary results suggest a highly competitive and functional product that promises to open new avenues for research and application in tissue engineering, especially in cost-sensitive and resource-limited environments.

Conclusion: The Northern Illinois University design team's initiative to create an open source bioprint head positions itself as a pivotal breakthrough in making bioprinting technology more accessible. It holds the promise of significantly lowering the barriers to entry for research and educational institutions, potentially leading to innovative treatments and therapeutic strategies in medical science and engineering disciplines.


Northern Illinois University