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

Dr. Mike



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 from slicer.org. 3D Slicer works on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux operating systems. Also, I use Blender, which is available from blender.org, to perform some mesh cleanup. Finally, I check my model prior to 3D printing using Meshmixer from Autodesk. This is available at meshmixer.com. All software programs are free.


If you like this, view my complete tutorial where I go through each step shown here in detail. I hope you enjoy the video.




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I guess I could have, but I had to open the file in Blender anyway to do the smoothing so I just did it there. I like to remove the bone islands early to reduce my poly count. I have found that MeshMixer can be a little slow and unstable with large poly count files. Have you had better luck with MeshMixer?

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Osirix is great, but biggest limitation is that it is Mac only. 3D Slicer is very complicated and there is a tough learning curve. I am still learning about its many features. Both are very functional, and best, free.

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Hi, I am an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Resident and was curious to start using these techniques to aid in patient care and fabrication of surgical guides. I was wondering:


1. How accurate are the final models?

2. Is there anyway to only print select portions of the CT/model?

3. What would be the best software to edit these models, for instance "surgically reconstruct a section" by adding and deleting space or ideally mirroring left and right

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