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Musings about biomedical 3D printing

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Medical 3D Model Creation: From CT Scan to 3D Printable STL File in 20 Minutes Using Free Software Programs 3D Slicer, Blender, and Meshmixer

Medical 3D Model Creation: From CT Scan to 3D Printable STL File in 20 Minutes Using Free Software Programs 3D Slicer, Blender, and Meshmixer

UPDATED TUTORIAL: A Ridiculously Easily Way to Convert CT Scans to 3D Printable Bone STL Models for Free in Minutes Hello, it's Dr. Mike here again with another tutorial on 3D printing. Proprietary software that creates 3D printable models from medical scans typically costs tens of thousands of dollars to license. But, did you know that you can do the same thing using freeware? It's true! In this tutorial I'm going to show you exactly how to do this.   We will be using the free,

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

A Ridiculously Easy Way to Convert CT Scans to 3D Printable Bone STL Models for Free in Minutes

A Ridiculously Easy Way to Convert CT Scans to 3D Printable Bone STL Models for Free in Minutes

Please note the democratiz3D service was previously named "Imag3D" In this tutorial you will learn how to quickly and easily make 3D printable bone models from medical CT scans using the free online service democratiz3D®. The method described here requires no prior knowledge of medical imaging or 3D printing software. Creation of your first model can be completed in as little as 10 minutes.   You can download the files used in this tutorial by clicking on this link. You must have

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

Welcome to Embodi3D!

Welcome to Embodi3D!

Welcome to Embodi3D! Embodi3D is the web's first online community dedicated to biomedical 3-D printing. Learn about the uses and potential of 3-D printing in biomedical sciences by reading the blogs or downloading a printable file. Contribute to the discussion by posting a comment in the blogs or forums. Upload your 3-D printing creations to the File Vault. If you have a lot to say, start your own blog. Help the world to realize the awesome potential of biomedical 3-D printing. Welcome to the co

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

3-D Printing of Dinosaur Bones

3-D Printing of Dinosaur Bones

Researchers in Germany have successfully re-created dinosaur bones using 3-D printing from original bones still embedded in rock. As reported in the March 2014 issue of the journal Radiology, a fossil of a vertebral body of a Plateosaurus still embedded in the rock was found and was scanned using a CT scanner. The digital dinosaur vertebra was then digitally removed from its rocky surrounding shell. The dinosaur bone was then 3-D printed using a selective laser sintering machine to create an exa

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

3D Printing of a Cerebral Aneurysm

3D Printing of a Cerebral Aneurysm

Researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center recently reported use of 3-D printing techniques to create a vascular model of an intracranial aneurysm. I have also used 3-D printing to create vascular models. In the journal Surgical Neurology International, the authors described their technique. They used digital subtraction with a fluoro-CT system to capture the anatomic image and create a surface model. Mesh editing was then performed with MeshLab.

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

3D Printed Casts for Healing Fractures

3D Printed Casts for Healing Fractures

Deniz Karasahin recently won a A'Design award for a 3-D printed medical cast that allows for improved ventilation and patient comfort when compared to traditional plaster or fiberglass casts. The organic 3-D printed structure has multiple ventilation holes which do not, presumably, compromise the mechanical integrity or strength of the cast.   The cast is created after scanning the patients target body area and importing the data into CAD software. The cast is printed with ABS plastic

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

3D Printing the Skull of Richard III

3D Printing the Skull of Richard III

Researchers at the University of Leicester and Loughborough University have successfully 3D printed the skull of Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England. For those of you rusty in your English history (as I am), Richard III was killed in battle at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. This was the final major battle of the Wars of the Roses. The victor, Henry Tudor, went on to become King of England and founded the Tudor dynasty.   Richard III was buried in a nearby friary sh

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

3D printed skull base generated from CT scan data accurately demonstrates complex skull base anatomy.

3D printed skull base generated from CT scan data accurately demonstrates complex skull base anatomy.

The base of the skull is one of the most complex and difficult parts of the body for doctors in training to master. And one of the most important. It is comprised of multiple bones (the ethmoid, sphenoid, occipital, frontal, parietal, and temporal, to be exact) and has numerous foramina (holes) through which arteries, veins, and the vital cranial nerves and spinal cord exit the skull on their way to and from the body.   These structures, although very small, are critically important c

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

3D printed models help with surgery for complex congenital heart disease

3D printed models help with surgery for complex congenital heart disease

Researchers at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington DC have used 3D printed heart models to aid repair of congenital heart defects. In the International Journal of Cardiology, the researchers report the case of a patient with transposition of the great arteries, a congenital heart defect in which the pulmonary artery and aorta are switched. Without treatment this condition is fatal in infancy. The man apparently had surgical treatment as a child, but as an adult began to have pro

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

3D printed half-skull from CT scan shows detailed skull anatomy for students. Files available for free download.

3D printed half-skull from CT scan shows detailed skull anatomy for students. Files available for free download.

This is the second in a series of articles about skull models created from CT scan data and designed to provide a low-cost means of anatomy teaching. To see my past article about the skull base model, click here. Learning detailed anatomy is a grueling process that doctors, nurses, and other health science students must go through. Traditionally, learning anatomy involved detailed study of textbooks, but learning 3D structures from 2D pages just doesn't work well. Dissecting cadavers is the

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

Radbuz.com

Radbuz.com

I apologize for being slow with the posting recently. I was at a conference last week and this week I have been working on creating a 3D printable cardiac and arterial model (see image). More interesting blog articles will be coming shortly.   In the meantime, I encourage you to check out the blog of my friend, neuroradiologist, and 3D printing enthusiast Jenny Chen, MD., at Radbuz.com. You can follow her on twitter at @radbuzzz.

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

3D printed white matter tracts illustrate the beauty and complexity of the human brain

3D printed white matter tracts illustrate the beauty and complexity of the human brain

Thanks to 3D printing understanding of the complex neural pathways of the human brain became a little bit easier. The Philadelphia-based Franklin Institute's new exhibit, Your Brain, features a striking 3D printed model of the white matter tracts of the human brain. White matter tracts are the pathways that nerve cells use to connect to each other inside the brain, and are incredibly complex.   Dr. Jayatri Das, chief bioscientist at The Franklin Institute, incorporated the displays in

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

Capillaries in 3D printed organs - a big step towards 3D printable artificial organs.

Capillaries in 3D printed organs - a big step towards 3D printable artificial organs.

There has been a lot of hype recently about 3D printed organs. There have been several instances in recent memory where somebody holds up a kidney or liver shaped 3D printed blob of jello-like cells and the press goes wild, as if the jello blob, because it is shaped like an organ, must be an organ and is ready to go directly into a patient. As someone who works with transplant patients all the time I can tell you it's not that simple. Real organs are incredibly complex. Take the liver for e

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

3D printing prosthetic arms for children who are missing theirs

3D printing prosthetic arms for children who are missing theirs

E-Nabling the Future is a volunteer organization dedicated to creating inexpensive 3D printable prosthetic hands and arms for children around the globe who are missing limbs. The movement has grown from an informal collaboration to a veritable movement, and they are now producing functional and inexpensive prosthetic limbs. Traditionally designed arm and hand prostheses can cost up to $40,000. According to 3Dprint.com, it is now possible to create an entire functional my electric arm for $350. T

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

Member success with 3D Printed Skull

Member success with 3D Printed Skull

Community member Mike Kessler has successfully printed a half skull available for download in the File Vault using a filament printer. He made the skull to help a family member who is learning skull anatomy in medical school. The skull looks great. Fantastic job Mike! Check out Mike's complete album here. If you have had success with printing one of the 3D anatomic models available for download on the site, please let us know how things went. If you are creating your own medical 3D models,

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

3D Printable Lace Skull, Free for Download.

3D Printable Lace Skull, Free for Download.

I've been working on ways to artistically expand on 3D printed anatomic models beyond an exact replica of the anatomy. My first project is this Lace Skull. The skull is based on an anatomically accurate skull generated from a CT scan. I have made several of the earlier skull models available for download on the Embodi3D website here and here. Using a variety of methods, I have transformed the skull and given it a unique lace-like appearance. The overall surface contours are still anatomically ac

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

3D Printable Human Heart Model

3D Printable Human Heart Model

Lately I've been working on creating a 3D printed human heart from a CT scan. Printing cardiovascular structures like the heart is more difficult than bony structures since the blood vessels are usually not well visualized without a CT scan that uses intravenous contrast. Furthermore, the heart is always moving, and special techniques need to be performed during the scan to generate high-quality images that are free from motion artifact. This is one of several models I've been working on. I

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

Maker Profile: Dr. Marco Vettorello

Maker Profile: Dr. Marco Vettorello

Dr. Marco Vettorello is an anesthesiologist and intensive care physician in Italy. On the side he has been creating high quality anatomical models that are of great value for medical education. He has agreed to share his models with the Embodi3D community. All are available for free download. The models that he has shared include: Human heart Anatomic skull Maxillary bone Frontal bone Mandible Sphenoid bone             Thanks very

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

Revealing the Beauty of the Microscopic World Through 3D Printing

Revealing the Beauty of the Microscopic World Through 3D Printing

There is tremendous beauty and diversity in nature that goes unnoticed by humans because it is simply too small for us to see and appreciate. Embodi3D member Michael Holland hopes to change that. Via his eponymous company Michael Holland Productions, he has created a fascinating traveling museum exhibit called MacroMicro that reveals the striking complexity and beauty of the microscopic world through high-resolution micro-CT scanning and 3D printing. On the remote island of Iriomote-jima, p

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

Using 3D Printed Liver Models for Guidance During Liver Surgery

Using 3D Printed Liver Models for Guidance During Liver Surgery

Researchers from Nagoya University in Japan are now using customized 3D printed liver models created from patient Computer Tomography (CT) scans for guidance during liver surgery, as reported at the 2014 Radiological Society of North America meeting. The human liver is a complex organ. Liver cells, called hepatocytes, do the work of cleaning the blood of toxins and waste -- the primary function of the liver. Hepatocytes are dependent on a complex network of vascular structures, including bile du

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

Amazing 3D Printed Models on Display at RSNA 2014

Amazing 3D Printed Models on Display at RSNA 2014

3D printing is a hot topic at this year's Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting in Chicago. I've been involved in medical 3D printing for the past two years, and every month there seems to be more interest. At this year's RSNA meeting, the level of interest is higher than I have ever seen before. There are literally dozens of sessions related to 3D printing in radiology, and they all seem to be very well attended. The Sunday session on "Fundamentals of 3D Printing" had a line out

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

Invasive Heart Surgery Avoided as Advances in 3D Printing Improve Safety of Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

Invasive Heart Surgery Avoided as Advances in 3D Printing Improve Safety of Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)

3D printing is revolutionizing the treatment of aortic stenosis, as reported by researchers from St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona and presented at the 2014 Radiological Society of North American (RSNA) meeting. Aortic stenosis is a deadly condition where the valve that connects the heart to the aorta does not open properly. The aortic valve, as it is called, is designed to open freely to allow blood pumped from the heart to move in a forward direction into the aorta, the main artery of

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

Preparing CT scans for 3D printing. Cleaning and repairing STL file mesh from bones using Blender, an advanced tutorial

Preparing CT scans for 3D printing. Cleaning and repairing STL file mesh from bones using Blender, an advanced tutorial

Summary: This is an advanced tutorial and assumes that you already know how to create STL files from CT scans. If you do not yet know how to do this, stay tuned, as a series of tutorials is planned on this website. Here we will use a free, open-source software package Blender to repair and correct a bony pelvis and lumbar spine model generated from a CT scan. If you would like to follow along with this tutorial, you can download the relevant Blender and STL files here, and follow along. >

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

3D Printing of Bones from CT Scans: A Tutorial on Quickly Correcting Extensive Mesh Errors using Blender and MeshMixer

3D Printing of Bones from CT Scans: A Tutorial on Quickly Correcting Extensive Mesh Errors using Blender and MeshMixer

Hello and welcome back. Once again, I am Dr. Mike, board-certified radiologist and 3D printing enthusiast. Today I'm going to show you how to correct severe mesh defects in a bone model generated from a CT scan. This will be in preparation for 3D printing. I'll be using the free software programs Blender and Meshmixer. In my last medical 3d printing video tutorial, I showed you how to remove extraneous mesh within the medullary cavity of a bone. That technique is best used when mesh defects

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

A Collection of Free Skull Medical Model STL Files from CT Scans - Ready for 3D Printing

A Collection of Free Skull Medical Model STL Files from CT Scans - Ready for 3D Printing

A lot of great 3D printable anatomic files have been shared on Embodi3D in the past few years. One of the most popular categories is skulls. There are many files available, and they are organized under Skull and Head STLs in the file Downloads area of the site. You can download any of these files by registering an account and in most cases the files are free to download.   Below I created a list of my favorite skull files for your learning and enjoyment. These 3D printable skull m

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

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