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Hil Hughes

Entry/Minimal Use 3d Printer recommendation?

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Hey, I have looked through the forums a bit, and there are some instructions and recommendations about specific printers, but I was hoping one (or more) of you guys could comment on what printer/model might be best for me.  


I work in a law firm, and recently we've been toying with the idea of printing models of some of our client's scans.   Not an everyday thing, and price and relative ease of use would be important. 



  • Relatively easy printer to use
  • Decently supported
  • Limited use (not everyday printing, probably 4-6 big prints a year only)
  • Price may be important


Any ideas on printers and models?



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Medical 3D printing isn't at a point where a user can buy a printer, plug it in and do a few prints a year. There is a big learning curve a user must go through in order for prints to turn out correctly. This is especially true for medical trial exhibits where certain anatomy or conditions need to be highlighted from a CT scan. This requires 3D printing expertise and medical training.


Furthermore, you will need space and all the related tools that go with 3D printing. Some printer manufacturers show their printers sitting on an office desk. This really isn't practical because of the noise, heat and messy post print processing.


We offer a 3D printing service specifically for medical trial exhibits: https://www.embodi3d.com/3d-printing-anatomy-models-for-medical-malpractice-trial-exhibits/



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I think flaviu knows what a medical scan is. He is asking for specifics. CT? MRI? with contrast? If MRI what pulse sequence? T1? T2? MRAGE? post con? What body part? What slice thickness? etc etc. 


Hil, I think you may be underestimating the difficulty in printing from a medical scan. How are you going to extract your model data from the medical scan? How are you going to quality control the segmentation? How are you going to print it (size, material, layer thickness, orientation, supports, etc). You have to have this all planned out before you go down this road.

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If you want to scan people for fun, you can  use your cell phone for photogrammetry with free software. Then you can put the heads on different bodies and to print them. Something like this:
For this purpose you can use every 3d printer up to 2000$. I myself prefer my original Prusa MK3, because I'm not an engineer and I prefer something to do all the printing stuff for me. Here is the result:
When we're talking about medical 3d printing, we're talking about a whole different topic. The medical models have to be very precise and there is an industrial standards about it. For example, my models have 0,5mm deviation from the original body part at 95% confidence interval. I had a presentation at an morphology symposium about my favorite Lusoria model lately and now I have a lot of orders from the local hospitals, because of the standard, which I can achieve. For medical modeling you have to be an expert in all the morphological specialties (Anatomy, Pathology, Radiology) with some serious clinical background. To reach this level, you need:
1. Medical education.
2. A lot of treated patients, most of which have to stay alive after your job. The death patients are literally skeletons in the closet.
3. Some background in the basic dissection techniques, both the pathological and the anatomical ones.
4. The surgery training is a plus.
5. Some gaming experience or experience with CAD software. The computer games are like bodybuilding for the visual cortex.
6. 1+ years of hard work, everyday modeling, studying, drawing, dissections, consultations with the experts in the field, a lot of tears and some joy.
THEN you can do medical modeling, something like this.
I started to model, when I was an anatomy assistant professor, with 12 years of experience as an emergency internal physician. I had the chance to find this website with all it resources, tutorials and the awesome support from the administrators and after 1 year of really hard work, I became a professional, (one of the best in my region, in a matter of fact). But still, my biggest nightmare is that, because of my mistakes during the preoperative modeling, a patient will die. So - are we really talking about medical modeling or you just want to do some fun with your client's CT scans?

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Hello everyone, 

I am in a similar position where I would like to start experimenting with medical 3D printing. I understand everyone's feedback about how difficult the process can be, and how steep the learning curve is, but it is something I am interested in learning. 


So I was hoping, and would greatly appreciate, if anyone had a printer recommendation for someone just starting to learn the process? 


Thank you for your time. 

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For a limited budged - Ender 3. Several of my colleagues and some students purchased such machines. An amazing printing right from the box. 

For minimum troubles and great beginner experience - Prusa MK3S. It's declared "the best 3d printer of 2019" for a reason. Fantastic learning curve and results. The new Prusa Mini also looks quite formidable. Those are machines with automatic features, which are quite useful.

For professional settings - Ultimaker. It doesn't matter what kind of task you're trowing at it, it works and works and works. The minimum professional level machine.

DLP for limited budget - Anycubic Photon or Elegoo Mars. They cheap, dirty and reliable. They requires an exposure to chemicals, but the printing is fantastic.

STL - Form 3. The best in it's class. Because of it release, you can also purchase brand new Form 2 for 2k$, which was the best in it's class last year...

There are also the 3D systems, Stratasys and similar corporations, but it's a whole different world there - the machines are fantastic. costs thousands of thousands and provides a quality, which is impossible for the low class, for which you're asking.


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I agree with the Prusa Mk3S for most reliable FDM printer. Currently you can get it assembled for $999 or as a kit for $749. Link here. The quality is great and so far it is very reliable. It has an Multi Material Unit which promises to allow multicolor prints and that is definitely LESS reliable as I am still struggling with that. But for single colors, it is very stable.


Regarding the Ultimaker I did a review on it and had a lot of problems with complex organic shapes needed for medical 3D printing. I had some catastrophic failures, some of which almost destroyed the printer. See my video review on it below.


For STL I agree that the Form 3 is the way to go. Good printer and software and a great material library. I just got a new Form 3B and so far it is great. The optical engine is totally sealed. The Form 2 (which I also have) had an unsealed engine and vapor would deposit on the mirrors after several months of heavy printing requiring a disassembly to clean the mirrors. The Form 3 doesn't have this problem. 


FYI, if any member of the community is interested in purchasing a Form 3, you can use the code below to get $500 off. When you contact Formlabs sales give them the code to receive your discount. To go to the Form 3 website, click here


Form 3 Discount code: FORM3-JB9CY0


Hope this helps.



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