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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

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 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 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

Choosing the Best Medical Imaging Scan to Create a 3D Printed Medical Model

Choosing the Best Medical Imaging Scan to Create a 3D Printed Medical Model

Hello, it's Dr. Mike here again with another tutorial on medical 3D printing. In this tutorial we are going to learn what types of medical imaging scans can be used for 3D printing. We will also explore the characteristics those scans must have to ensure a high quality 3D print. This is one of a series of 3D printing tutorials that will teach you how to create 3D printed anatomical and medical models yourself. Open source and commercial software are covered in the tutorials along with 3D printer

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

Creating a 3D Printable Skull from a CT Scan in 5 Minutes using Freeware.

Creating a 3D Printable Skull from a CT Scan in 5 Minutes using Freeware.

UPDATED TUTORIAL: A Ridiculously Easily Way to Convert CT Scans to 3D Printable Bone STL Models for Free in Minutes   Hello and welcome back. I hope you enjoyed my last tutorial on creating 3D printable medical models using free software on Macintosh computers. In this brief video tutorial I'll show you how to create a 3D printable skull STL file from a CT scan in FIVE minutes using only free and open source software. In the video I use a program called 3D Slicer, which is available fr

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

How to create an NRRD file from a DICOM Medical Imaging Data Set

How to create an NRRD file from a DICOM Medical Imaging Data Set

NRRD is a file format for storing and visualizing medical image data. Its main benefit over DICOM, the standard file format for medical imaging, is that NRRD files are anonymized and contain no sensitive patient information. Furthermore NRRD files can store a medical scan in a single file, whereas DICOM data sets are usually comprised of a directory or directories that contain dozens if not hundreds of individual files. NRRD is thus a good file for transferring medical scan data while protecting

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

Saving a Spleen with 3D Printing: Pre-Surgical Planning with Medical Models make "Impossible"  Surgeries Possible.

Saving a Spleen with 3D Printing: Pre-Surgical Planning with Medical Models make "Impossible" Surgeries Possible.

Summary: 3D printing is making rapid advances in many areas of medical treatment. In this article, I'll describe how I used recent advances in 3D printing to save a patient from having to have her spleen removed. In the process I broke some new ground in use of 3D printing in surgical planning. The clinical case and 3D printing advances are described in a recently published peer-reviewed paper in the medical journal Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology.   Intro image: The author usi

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 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

Easily Create 3D Printable Muscle and Skin STL Files from Medical CT Scans

Easily Create 3D Printable Muscle and Skin STL Files from Medical CT Scans

In this tutorial we will learn how to use the free medical imaging conversion service on embodi3D.com to create detailed anatomic muscle and skin 3D printable models in STL file format from medical CT scans. Muscle models show the detailed musculature by subtracting away the skin and fat. Even when created from a scan of an obese person, the model looks like it comes from a bodybuilder, Figure 1A. Skin models show an exact replica of the skin surface. The finest details are captured, including w

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

3D Printing a Spine Model to Help a Fellow Doctor with Low Back Pain

3D Printing a Spine Model to Help a Fellow Doctor with Low Back Pain

I was recently contacted by another doctor who asked if I could help him to create a 3D printed replicate of his spine to visualize pinched nerves in his low back and aid with planning a future back surgery. In order to work this doctor has to stand for long hours while performing surgical procedures. Excruciating low back pain had limited his ability to stand to only 30 minutes. As you can imagine, this means he couldn't work. Things only got worse after he had low back surgery.   A C

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

How to Upload and Share 3D Printable Files on Embodi3D

How to Upload and Share 3D Printable Files on Embodi3D

If you have a 3D printable file you would like to share with the Embodi3D community the process is very easy.   1) First, get your files ready. STL files are best and have good compatibility with most printers. Make sure your files are of good quality as Embodi3D's file library contains high quality files. If you think you files may have errors in them, you can check them using the Inspector function in MeshMixer. Be sure to compress your files if possible using a compression program l

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

Formlabs Form 2 3D Printer Review: A Great Buy for Medical 3D Printing

Formlabs Form 2 3D Printer Review: A Great Buy for Medical 3D Printing

Hello Dr. Mike here and welcome to my review of the Form 2 3D printer by Formlabs. The Form 2 is Formlabs newest desktop stereolithography printer. It is a great asset for medical 3D printing with many user friendly features and an acceptable price.   My full review is included here in both video and text. You can download the splenic artery aneurysm file shown in the video. The Form 2 printer is available to purchase. The previous generation Form 1+ can be purchased on Amazon. However

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

How to Create a Hollow Shell from a Medical STL File Using MeshMixer

How to Create a Hollow Shell from a Medical STL File Using MeshMixer

In this brief tutorial we will go over how to use Meshmixer to create a hollow shell from a medical 3D printable STL file. Hollowing out the shell, as shown in the pictures below, can allow you to 3D print the model using much less material that printing a solid piece. The print will take less time and cost less money.   For this tutorial we will use a head that we created from a real medical CT scan in a prior tutorial, " Easily Create 3D Printable Muscle and Skin STL Files from Medic

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

How to Easily Tell the Difference Between MRI and CT Scan

How to Easily Tell the Difference Between MRI and CT Scan

If you are planning on using the democratiz3D service to automatically convert a medical scan to a 3D printable STL model, or you just happen to be working with medical scans for another reason, it is important to know if you are working with a CT (Computed Tomography or CAT) or MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan. In this tutorial I'll show you how to quickly and easily tell the difference between a CT and MRI.   I am a board-certified radiologist, and spent years mastering the subt

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

3D Printing Tutorial: Introduction to Free and Open-Source Software, 3D Slicer, MeshMixer, democratiz3D. From the 2018 RSNA Meeting

3D Printing Tutorial: Introduction to Free and Open-Source Software, 3D Slicer, MeshMixer, democratiz3D. From the 2018 RSNA Meeting

This tutorial is based on course I taught at the 2018 RSNA meeting in Chicago, Illinois. It is shared here free to the public. In this tutorial, we walk though how to convert a CT scan of the face into a 3D printable file, ready to be sent to a 3D printer. The patient had a gunshot wound to the face. We use only free or open-source software and services for this tutorial.   There are two parts to this tutorial: Part 1: How to use free desktop software to create your model

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

How to Create 3D Printable Models from Medical Scans in 30 Minutes Using Free Software: Osirix, Blender, and Meshmixer

How to Create 3D Printable Models from Medical Scans in 30 Minutes Using Free Software: Osirix, 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 and video on medical 3D printing. In this tutorial we're going to learn how to take a DICOM-based medical imaging scan, such as a CT scan, and convert into an STL file in preparation for 3D printing. We will use the free, open-source software program Osirix to do this. Once the file is converted into STL format, we w

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

3D Printed Lumbar Vertebra

3D Printed Lumbar Vertebra

Last year as part of my tests for creating bony anatomic models, I created a model of a lumbar vertebral body from a CT scan. The process was somewhat time-consuming as manual mesh editing was required to separate the vertebral body from its adjacent bony structures. I used Blender for this. Nonetheless, the end result looks good and accurately demonstrates the bony anatomy of a lumbar vertebra. I've created a YouTube video which briefly summarizes the steps of creation. Also

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

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

How to Convert Multiple 3D Printable Bone Model STL Files from a CT Scan

How to Convert Multiple 3D Printable Bone Model STL Files from a CT Scan

Please note that any references to “Imag3D” in this tutorial has been replaced with “democratiz3D”   In this tutorial you will learn how to create multiple 3D printable bone models simultaneously using the free online CT scan to bone STL converter, democratiz3D. We will use the free desktop program Slicer to convert our CT scan in DICOM format to NRRD format. We will also make a small section of the CT scan into its own NRRD file to create a second stand-alone model. The NRRD files wil

Dr. Mike

Dr. Mike

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