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


Evan Doney, a grad student in Matthew Leevy's biological imaging facility at the University of Notre Dame, has published a method for creating a 3D printed, life-size, accurate skeleton of a living animal by converting a CT scan of the animal to a printable file. They produced a detailed HOWTO as well, which, unfortunately, is paywalled.

The idea to print skeletons from CT scans came from Evan Doney, an engineering student working in the lab of Matthew Leevy, who runs the biological imaging facility at the University of Notre Dame. ”At first I didn’t really know what the killer app would be, I just knew it would be really cool,” Leevy said. But he began to see new possibilities after striking up a conversation with an ear, nose, and throat specialist during an office visit for a sinus problem. “I actually got out my computer and showed him some slides, and by the end of it we were collaborating.”

Doney used several freeware programs to convert data from CT scans into a format that could be read by a 3-D printer. As a proof of principle, he and colleagues printed a rat skeleton in white plastic and printed a removable set of lungs in green or purple. They also printed out a rabbit skull.

I have a 3D print of my femur in bronze and stainless steel, courtesy of my wife and her raid on my MRIs. Sounds like you get an even better shapefile from a CT scan, if you don't mind receiving the radiation equivalent of 800 X-rays.

How to 3-D Print the Skeleton of a Living Animal [Wired/Greg Miller]