HOWTO produce a 3D printed skeleton from a CT scan of a living animal


11 Responses to “HOWTO produce a 3D printed skeleton from a CT scan of a living animal”

  1. Fantome_NR says:

    I went to see a dentist for an impacted wisdom tooth this winter. He had a stand up CT scan machine hooked up to a PC. The software on the PC took the data from the CT scanner and created a 3D model of my skull and jaw, complete with the teeth and gums, and whatever else was within the scanning area. He could fly a camera around all the teeth, and each one was modeled in high detail. I kick myself for not having a drive on me at that time, because I’m positive that somehow that software could have exported all that data in a format (such as OBJ or DXF) that I could then have used to create a 3D printable file (such as STL) and have a reproduction of that section of my skull made from it. I’ve actually been thinking about getting in touch with him to see if he has that data in my chart…

    •  They keep’em on file (or are supposed to). A friend did some artwork with some old MRIs of mine, and all I had to do was submit a request to the hospital. That said, they were 2d JPEGs; don’t know if it’s a bigger deal to make such a large 3d file available.

      • that confused me at first as well, the mri images are composed of a few dozen 2d images that are the dicom data, and then converted to a 3d model based on the voxels compiled from those 2d images.  ( it’s a bit of a simplification  but that’s how I usually think of it)

    • if you have the dicom data, it’s easy to port it to a stl, it’s difficult to get into a printable state.  

  2. freds4hb says:

    I’ll just leave this here  (they have a CT scan/3d print of the mueseum Owner’s skull on display)

  3. Jim Schmidt says:

    Killer app potential here for the medical field? Completely non-invasive exploration of injuries and defects sounds like a really cool use for this.

  4. Toby says:

    The position of the body makes it look like the rabbit was in stocks.  Like these ones:

  5. Charlie Holden says:

    Lots of skull .stl ‘s similar to the rabbit skeleton can be downloaded from  — the NSF digital library at UT Austin.  Already in a format that can be printed but they may need some cleaning up.

  6. evann says:

    The link doesn’t seem to be paywalled for me- it says “Open Access”.

    I’ve only scanned it but it looks really great- and timely, my dad had a CT scan of his skull recently (he’s fine) and I’ve been thinking a really great birthday present for him would be a scale model of his own skull. I tried to use a program called Osirix to get the data into a format that I could print and was unimpressed with its output. This looks a lot more promising!

  7. Brad Bell says:

    I was renovating my house, sledgehammering through a wall, and found an intact mouse skeleton that looked just like the picture. I gently touched it and fell into a hundred pieces. I kept the skull, which had a perfectly preserved, dehydrated brain inside. It was fairly robust. Several months later it got knocked to the floor and I inadvertently stepped on it. It was dust. Not a single fragment of bone remained. 

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