Ortho Project : Conclusion

That idea came around December 2019, and I try to implement it from January 2020 to March. COVID situation was a great help, because it gave me time and the possibility to wear my aligners.

I started wearing them on March 12th, and I’m currently wearing my last piece. It’s been 5 months, and I’ve almost reach my goal ! (photos will come soon)

I still want to do another round of aligners : As my teeth moved, my 3D model is not good enough to work on it, and need a more recent one. I also want to correct some small imperfections. I’m on holidays now, far from my 3D printer and tools, so I will resume it in September.

From now, here is what I can conclude on this project :

      • Time : I spend some time on this, probably close to a hundred hours between research and testing. The thermoforming part was clearly the longest, more than 3/4 of my time.
      • Money : It’s was really cheap (Alginate powder, plaster and 60 sheets of dental plastic were bought for less than 30€). I used around 1kg of PLA (15€) and already owned the tools.
      • Efficiency : It’s really efficient ! (wait for photos) Now, I need to find a dentist to put me a small contention metal cable behind my incisors to maintain them durably.
      • Pain : Ok, I had some. First aligner was new, and it was a little painful during the first 24 hours. Then, between each aligners, I sometimes feel a small pain with new ones. Probably because I wanted to move to fast between each aligners.
      • Speech : As expected, I had some difficulties to talk properly the first 3 weeks, but I get used to it.
      • Cleaning process : Each day, I needed to brush my aligners to keep them clean, same for my teeth. Mouthwash was also effective to keep a good hygiene.
      • Attendance : I was really focused during the process. Now with the summer, I’m feeling a bit bored and forget them sometimes.


Stay tuned 🙂

Ortho Project : Cutting and finalisation (step 6)

Cutting was quite easy, with no real difficulties. My Dremel was enough for that, I just had to follow the “tooth lign” to only keep the molding of the teeth.

Cutting following the tooth lign

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And to keep them always with me, I 3D printed a nice box !

By the way, I had to remove the last tooth of my upper jaw for two reason: my mold was not good enough on these teeth, and the aligner was too big for my box 🙂

Ortho Project : Thermoforming (step 5)

Final challenge : the thermoforming ! Final, but definitively the part that was very long to adjust.

For that, I found dentist material (transparent thermoforming sheet 1mm) on internet, easily, for less than 0,4 euros each sheet.
This material was right, and 1 mm is enough (I tried 0,5 mm, but that’s too thick after thermoforming it)

This plastic sheet melt around 160°C, so I guessed that a heat gun was enough. WRONG !

First try and fail

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At first, a thought that a handgun with some aspiration will be enough


At this point, I needed to perfect my system.
Dentists are using specific machine for the thermoforming, you can find some cheap one on eBay around 150€ but I prefered to built mine.

I found an interesting video on YouTube (or this one), showing the process : heating (a lot) and then vacuuming. My mistake was to try do it at the same time.
So I designed a frame, and use my kitchen oven for the heating part.

Final design

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I created an aluminium frame to hold the dental plastic sheet, to heat it in my oven :)


This went really well, even if I had to perfect my system in the beginning. Timing of heating and good aspiration were important.
At the beginning, my success rate was below 30%, and at the end (few days later) I was above 80%.

Sometimes I used a bit the heat gun to complete the thermoforming, because my aspiration was not strong enough. It was for small adjustments, but not always a good idea with the PLA nearby.

The last step was the cutting.