Comparison of the fit of surgical guides manufactured with low-cost 3D printers

Gregory W. Bennett, Sung K. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In-office printing of surgical guides is becoming increasingly common in the modern dental practice. This in vitro study sought to evaluate the accuracy of fit of surgical guides printed with 4 low-cost desktop 3-dimensional (3D) printers: SparkMaker Original, Photon, MP Mini SLA, and Epax X1. All of the printers in this study were released after 2017 and purchased for less than $500. All of the 3D printers were capable of printing biocompatible surgical guide resin. To evaluate the accuracy of the printers, a total of 20 surgical guides were produced with the 4 printers (n = 5) from the same stereolithography (STL) file using the same resin. The guides were then scanned with a laboratory scanner, and the intaglio surface was compared to the master STL file using metrology software. The null hypothesis was that, across printers, the intaglio surfaces of the printed surgical guides would achieve the standard of at least 80% of the surface fitting within a 100-μm tolerance level. Data were analyzed with the Tukey-Kramer test (P < 0.05). Three of the 4 printers (SparkMaker Original, Photon, and Epax X1) were able to consistently produce surgical guides within the accepted tolerance values. The Epax X1 surgical guide group had a significantly higher mean percentage of fit within the tolerance level (P < 0.05), indicating that this printer produced the greatest accuracy relative to the original STL file.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-21
Number of pages4
JournalGeneral dentistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • 3D printing
  • additive manufacturing
  • stereolithography
  • surgical guide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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