Polycaprolactone (PCL) is specifically developed and optimized for bioprinting of 3D structures. PCL is a thermoplastic polymer that offers enhanced control over mechanical properties of final 3D structures. PCL may be used on its own or printed with matrix bioinks such as gelatin methacrylate.
Figure 1: PCL can be printed on its own (left) or in combination with a matrix bioink (right) for additional support.
The recommended preparation provided in the user instruction below yields a streamlined printable biomaterial that creates reproducible 3D printed constructs. However, preparation can be modified by users to suit their needs.
Storage and Handling
PCL should be stored at room temperature.
You Will Need
- Metal needles (we suggest these)
- Stainless Steel 10 ml BioBots Syringe
- Petri dish or well plate for printing
Instructions for Use
*If printing with cell-laden matrix bioinks, all steps must be completed in a sterile environment. Be sure to sterilize PCL overnight prior to use with cells.
- If using with cells, first sterilize PCL.
- Soak PCL in 70% ethanol overnight
- After overnight ethanol wash, complete four 30 minute washes in sterile PBS to remove any leftover traces of ethanol
- Allow PCL to dry before loading into syringge
- Measure the desired amount of PCL for printing and load into metal syringe.
- Cap the metal syringe with a metal needle. A 30 gauge needle is suggested.
- Load syringe into the first extruder in the BioBots printer. Connect to your BioBots printer through your computer.
- Set the heat for the first extruder to suggested print temperature and allow time for PCL to melt.
|Speed (mm/s)||Layer height (mm)||Nozzle Diam (mm)||Gauge|
|Pressure (psi)||Crosslink (sec)||Print Temp (°C)|
Try it out!
Try a practice print by following the instructions for Your First Bioprint using the print parameters and loading instructions for PCL.
- Print speed, nozzle diameter and pressure may all be adjusted to better fit a user’s needs. For help adjusting print parameters please contact email@example.com.
- A fill volume change of more than 2 ml may affect pressure settings.
- A lower gauge size or tapered gauge will require lower pressure, while a higher gauge will require higher pressure for extrusion. Lowering the gauge size will also generally lower resolution
- Kundu, Joydip et al. An Additive Manufacturing-Based PCL-Alginate-Chondrocyte Bioprinted Scaffold for Cartilage Tissue Engineering. J Tissue Eng Regen Med. 2013.