Adam Bleustein (12) applies 3D printing to medical field

Andie Goldmacher, Staff Writer

Adam Bleustein (12) will use 3D printing to make cost-effective splints and spleen guards for his Independent Study Project as a continuation of his summer work.

Over the summer, Bleustein worked in a rehabilitation group dedicated to researching 3D printing and prosthetics at Montefiore Medical Center, located in the Bronx. The center needed someone who enjoyed the more technical aspect of manufacturing medical devices, he said.

Over the summer, Bleustein completed a grant-funded trip to Jamaica as an extension of one of the projects he completed with the Montefiore Center, he said.

The project, called “3D Printer in a Box,” supplied several models of printers and an instruction manual to doctors in a developing country.

As part of the project, Bleustein taught doctors with limited resources how to make their own medical devices at a lower cost, he said.

In his Independent Study, Bleustein will attempt to address the problem of how expensive it is to purchase a splint, making such medical devices cost-prohibitive for some hospitals. Bleustein is exploring different ways to produce a splint as cost-effectively as possible while providing the same quality of care, he said.

As another part of his Independent Study,  Bleustein is also interested in making spleen guards for kids with enlarged spleens or spleen ruptures that can lead to death. He is working on creating spleen guards that can handle more force than what is shown on his current impact tests, he said.

Bleustein discovered the Montefiore Medical Center through his father and then reached out to determine whether the center needed any assistance with the technical aspects of its projects, he said.

Bleustein’s interest and experience with 3D printing began when he was younger. “As a child who enjoyed playing with remote control cars, I wanted to upgrade them and make replacement parts on my own through printing,” he said.

Bleustein became more passionate about 3D printing when he began research the summer before junior year at a lab at Columbia University. At the lab, he worked on an independent project that required a complex manufacturing method, and 3D printing was the easiest option, he said.

Bleustein owns two 3D printers and has been using the printers since the summer before sixth grade, learning how to work the machine through trial and error, he said.

Each morning, he checks the prints he has programmed the night before, which allows him to continue creating models at home, Bleustein said.

Computer Science and Robotics teacher Jason Torres, Bleustein’s advisor, spearheaded the introduction of 3D printers to the school. Torres has fueled Bleustein’s interests for 3D printing since the end of middle school.

“He’s very passionate about the project, and I think it’s probably a little bit fun for him, but more than anything else, he’s learning about a set of skills in 3D printing and how to use those skills to help people,” Torres said.

Nader Granmayeh (12) found Bleustein’s preliminary presentation interesting and learned about the intricacies of 3D printing, he said. “The project has the potential to turn into something really impactful, and Adam clearly has a passion for robotics,” he said.