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Dr. Mike

Using Blender to prepare bone models for 3D printing

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I've released two tutorials on using Blender to get 3D bone models ready for 3D printing. Those of you looking for a freeware solution to preparing models for 3D printing may find this helpful.

 

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

 

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

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Thanks for posting the tutorials! I am totally new to using Blender and I have to say it is rather overwhelming to start. I found it helpful to watch two short tutorials on You Tube which goes over the basic interface:

and

That gave me enough initial background to follow along with Dr. Mike's tutorial without getting too lost. I downloaded the sample files and spent the afternoon working through the process of using Blender and Meshmixer to produce a printable STL file. The technique of shinkwraping a new mesh over the existing mesh is a really clever idea. Do you do that for all your files you wish to print? Also, doesn't that eliminate the need to clean up the unwanted internal geometry of the original STL file?

I am now printing out my ankle. Can't wait to see how it prints out!

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u19Af0d.jpg?1

Fresh off the printer! I use an Ultimaker 2 printer using Colorfab white PLA. The Ultimaker uses Cura software to provide the G code and also will generate the support if needed. I just used the "normal" print settings which gives 100 micron resolution. I reduced the size by 60% and the print time was around 7 hours. I am pretty happy with the print considering this was my first anatomical model. Looking forward to more tutorials!

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Whoa! Great job! Thanks very much for sharing the results of your print. It looks great!

 

To answer your question in your first post, yes the shrinkwrap technique does eliminate the need to remove internal mesh for bones with simple geometry, like a femur. But for structures that are hollow, like the skull, the shrinkwrap technique won't work because there is no way to get the shrinking surface into the hollow cavities. 

 

I'll definitely get working on more tutorials for you and the other members of the community since there seems to be a lot of interest.

 

Dr. Mike

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Dr. Mike,

I have segmented out this part of the mandible and no matter how many times a run the "shrinkwrap", I get this webbing that will not resolve. Suggestions?

LkpO8CS.jpg?1

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I've had the same problem many times. You can either go to Edit mode and manually cut the web off and close the holes, or go to sculpt mode and massage the webbing down, then run the shrinkwrap script again. Once pushed down a bit, the shrinkwrap will stick to the surface as you intended. Hope this helps.

 

Looks like you are doing some great work. No obligation, but if you are able, please consider sharing in the file vault.

 

Let me know if I can help further.

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