Converting CTs and MRIs Into Printable Objects

skullPeople get CT and MRI scans every day, and when [Oliver] needed some medical diagnostic imaging done, he was sure to ask for the files so he could turn his skull into a printable 3D object.

[Oliver] is using three different pieces of software to turn the DICOM images he received from his radiologist into a proper 3D model. The first two, Seg3D and ImageVis3D, are developed by the University of Utah Center for Integrative Biomedical Computing. Seg3D stitches all of the 2D images from an MRI or CT scan into a proper 3D format. ImageVis3D allows [Oliver] to peel off layers of his flesh, allowing him to export a file of just his skull, or a section of his entire face. The third piece of software, MeshMixer, is just a mesh editor and could easily be replaced with MeshLab or Blender.

[Oliver] still has a lot of work to do on the model of his skull – cleaning up the meshes, removing his mandible, and possibly plugging the top of his spinal column if he would ever want to print a really, really awesome mug. All the data is there, though, ready for digital manipulation before sending it off to be printed.

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From CT Scans to 3D Prints

3-face-cup-2

[the_digital_dentist] had a CT Scan done back in 2007 for treatment using orthodontics. Some how, he managed to get a copy of the CT Scan data from the lab, and has been playing around with it lately.

Since he has a 3D printer, the obvious end goal was to print his face using some of the data extracted from the CT Scan. This required a lot of manipulation to get it to the finished model you see above. He used an open source software called DeVIDE to process the data and export the STL. Not much information on this is given on his site, but in our research we managed to find another video documenting the process in DeVIDE on extracting the STL model from DICOM CT scan data.

Unfortunately, the STL is far from being ready to print after being extracted; there is a lot of extraneous data that needs to be cleaned up. He used mesh editing software to help blow away the unnecessary details. We don’t know for sure what software [the_digital_dentist] used, but MeshLab is a good one.

After that, it was just a matter of printing the STL file. But the really cool thing about using data from CT scans is the amount of detail it captures… Stick around after the break to see an animated GIF demonstrating this.

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