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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 Medical CT Scans" If you haven't seen the prior tutorial, please check it out. To follow along with the tutorial, please download the accompanying file. This will enable you to replicate the process exactly as it is shown in the tutorial. >> DOWNLOAD THE TUTORIAL FILE NOW <<
Cutting down costs for 3D prints is the number one concern for many Doctors and Patients. In order to achieve this, we need to understand how costs for 3D prints are calculated. Probably the most important variable is the amount of material that is needed for printing your medical object. So all we need to do is to make sure to use as little material as possible. Here are our some top tips for more successful 3D printing. They're short and to the point, and if you follow them, you'll find your models will stand straight and look beautiful. Create a hollow 3D model & 3D print with Escape Holes if needed. A hollow model means that the interior of your object will not be solid. Solid designs are not necessarily a problem – they will be stronger and harder to break (depending on the material), but they will also be more expensive as more 3D printing material will be used.With a hollow model the interior of your print will be empty (in theory). However, since our printers print layer by layer, 3D printing material can get trapped in the interior of your model. If you would like to avoid this, you can add ‘escape holes’ to your design. Material that is not used for building your 3D print can then be removed. However, creating a 3D model with an empty interior can be a bit tricky, you need to know how to hollow your model in the 3D modeling software you’re using, you need to define a wall thickness that is strong enough for your model not to break, and it probably makes sense to add so-called ‘escape holes’ to your model Why do I need escape holes? As already pointed out, our 3D prints are created layer by layer. With a hollow interior, this means that 3D printing materials can get trapped inside the object. A hollow model full of trapped powder is in danger of deforming. Escape holes are recommended for getting ‘trapped’ 3D printing material out of your 3D print. We typically use pressurized air for cleaning the excess powder off. How do I design escape holes? Again, the exact procedure depends on your software but the idea is often the same: create a cylinder at the bottom of your model and extrude or subtract from its wall Use supports If you plan on printing out a figure as one solid piece, you'll want to consider placing supports at overhang areas. Some slicing/preference software will do this automatically. The Infill for FDM 3D Printing The Slicing softwares lets you adjust the infill percentage and infill type to print your model in FDM. Choosing the correct percentage and type of infill depending on how strong you want your model to be can reduce the volume of your model making it cheaper. Know your materials Learn the tolerances of the various materials used. It's better to err on the larger side, because you can always sand or trim down the piece afterwards. Happy 3D Printing!!