Advances in three-dimensional (3D) printing allow for digital files to be turned into a “printed” physical product. For example, complex anatomical models derived from clinical or pre-clinical X-ray computed tomography (CT) data of patients or research specimens can be constructed using various printable materials. Although 3D printing has the potential to advance learning, many academic programs have been slow to adopt its use in the classroom despite increased availability of the equipment and digital databases already established for educational use. Herein, a protocol is reported for the production of enlarged bone core and accurate representation of human sinus passages in a 3D printed format using entirely consumer-grade printers and a combination of free-software platforms. The comparative resolutions of three surface rendering programs were also determined using the sinuses, a human body, and a human wrist data files to compare the abilities of different software available for surface map generation of biomedical data. Data shows that 3D Slicer provided highest compatibility and surface resolution for anatomical 3D printing. Generated surface maps were then 3D printed via fused deposition modeling (FDM printing). In conclusion, a methodological approach that explains the production of anatomical models using entirely consumer-grade, fused deposition modeling machines, and a combination of free software platforms is presented in this report. The methods outlined will facilitate the incorporation of 3D printed anatomical models in the classroom.
Three-Dimensional Printing of X-Ray Computed Tomography Datasets with Multiple Materials Using Open-Source Data ProcessingArticle
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