Entrepreneurs and R&D Use Additive Manufacturing

Published 11/30/2019

Young Entrepreneurs and R&D Technologies Team Up to Use Additive Manufacturing to Create New Medical Device

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that 3D printing can deliver products to market faster and more economically. But it doesn’t hurt.

   Eli Kapas, Conor Cullinane and Matt Kane would seem to breathe that rarified air. With a virtual smorgasbord of degrees between them, including Biomedical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Medical Engineering, Medical Physics, Mathematics, and PhD’s from MIT and Harvard Medical School, the trio launched The Rocket Division, a research group housed within the Applied Aerodynamics Laboratory at MIT. The group was focused on developing a rocket test bed for the development of a control system. The goal was to create a modular system for large scale model rocket enthusiasts that could be added to their rockets and would control the trajectory and provide precise positioning of the rocket. But they wanted to do more.

In 2017, Matt, Conor and Eli formed Pirouette Medical, LLC, taking their expertise as rocket scientists and applying them to develop medical devices. Today Pirouette Medical is focused on developing and bringing to market a revolutionary drug-delivery device, specifically an auto-injector for treatments requiring an inter-muscular injection, similar to the epi-pen. The goal was to create a device which can mitigate the stress and discomfort of a traditional injection. To accomplish this they had to put an idea—a concept—to paper. And then they needed to hold that idea in their hands to study it and refine it, and do it sooner than waiting the 4-6 weeks often required by traditional manufacturing.

The trio needed the turnaround speed of 3D printing to make their concept a reality, so they turned to R&D Technologies to get the job done fast.

“We had the concept and initial design down on paper, but we needed to bring it to fruition, to actually hold it in our hands,” says Eli Kapas. “R&D’s rapid prototyping capabilities delivered the quick turnaround we needed, saving us four weeks of waiting to develop a mold and thousands of dollars.”

The team at R&D Technologies was able to deliver the quick turnaround Pirouette Medical needed by printing the components on a Connex 500 printer, utilizing a Polyjet digital ABS application. How quick?

“We are located in Boston, just two hours from Rhode Island,” points of Eli. “That meant we could email our concept to R&D in the morning, drive down in the afternoon to pick up the 3Dprinted components, and be back in the office in the early evening to review what we had come up with. R& was extremely valuable in how they assisted us by offering feedback on areas such as surface texture and so forth. I can honestly say that without R&D Technologies, and the 3D printing expertise they brought to the table, bringing our concept to reality would have been a much bigger challenge.”

For start-up companies like Pirouette Medical, which often find themselves struggling with the pressure of trying to create a dream within budgetary restrictions, 3D printing is often the solution. This means that by utilizing 3D printing, with its ever-expanding capabilities, you won’t have to be a rocket scientist to see your company “take-off.”