3D Printing for the Fourth of July

Today is the Fourth of July, or Independence Day, here in the U.S. This means most people in the United States will get the chance to enjoy a three-day weekend, and that brings with it the chance for barbecues, camping, fireworks, and more summer fun! Obviously, we thought there was no better way to celebrate this exciting occasion than by 3D printing some holiday-related items, so read on and enjoy.

Fireworks ring

If you’re heading out to see a fireworks display (obviously wearing your mask and social distancing from others, of course), you’ll want to look your best. So, why not print out and wear this fireworks ring from Cults3D user Lockheart? She writes that if you really like this piece, you can also order it in metal from Shapeways. However, some cities are canceling their July 4th fireworks displays due to COVID-19, and even if the shows are still happening, many people may not feel comfortable being in a big crowd yet. So, you can always print this Fireworks sculpture and make your house or backyard a little more festive.

“Put something heavy in the bottom compartment to have it stand better. Scale as wanted,” Thingiverse user Mizcak wrote. “Printed well in ABS at 0.2mm layers and 0.4mm nozzle. No raft or brim.”

Technically this sculpture was created as a decoration for New Year’s, but I think it works for the Fourth of July just as well.

This 3D Printable Fireworks LED Lamp, posted by MyMiniFactory user Joe Casha, is another great decoration, though it will take more than a 3D printer to make. You’ll need screws, wires, an Arduino Nano, fiber optic cable, and a few other things. Plus, some soldering is required.

If you want to have some low-key fireworks fun in your own backyard, you can also make this awesome Sparkler Holder by MyMiniFactory user Muzz64. This easy print holds 27 sparklers over three levels, which means you can place a whole package in the holder, and you won’t need a lot of filament to make it, either.

3D Printable Sparkler Holder

“The design features an internal retainer to locate the Sparklers so they stay at a similar angle as others on the same level as well as keeping the hot / burning part well clear of the holder itself so it won’t melt or burn.”

Speaking of fun in the backyard, it’s always fun for kids when the sprinkler gets hooked up for the summer – make their day with this Basic Water Sprinkler by Thingiverse user ICEPICKTONY. While they’re all running around, you can keep cool yourself with this nine-sided Glacier Wine Cooler from MyMiniFactory user 3DRegan.

“This neat wine cooler uses the infill settings in 3D Printing to trap a cold layer of air between the two walls and keep your wine bottle chilled!”

Glacier Wine Cooler

It takes about 16 hours to print this model out of PLA, with 20% infill, no supports, and layer height of 0.3 mm. You can also print it in separate colors if you so choose.

But if you prefer beer over wine, then you’ll definitely need this Bottle Opener and Cap GUN! by Thingiverse user 3Deddy. It’s an easy print, with just a few supports, and you’ll need a set of M3 bolts and an elastic rubber band to get the fun started. The speed at which it shoots is described as “gentle,” though obviously you won’t be shooting it at people…maybe just stand way back and see how close you can get to the grill!

Bottle Opener and Cap GUN!

If your grill doesn’t have quite as much space as you’d like for the necessary tools of the trade, you can print this handy BBQ tool holder peg multiplier by MyMiniFactory user Kazys Domkus. It fits on a 200 x 200 mm print bed, and should be scaled by 25.4. If the tool doesn’t fit your particular grill, Inventor files have been included for this print. You could also try this BBQ CLIP-ON HOOK/HANGAR print from Cults 3D user Dantu, who printed this out of PETG material.

Once your grill is set up the way you want, you can get down to the serious business of cooking the meat…and why not have some by customizing your burgers with this Burger Stamp by MyMiniFactory user Jeff Green? He says it only “takes about 10 seconds to change it/create it in Tinkercad,” and another 20 minutes to print out of food-safe PLA.

Burger Stamp

If you’ve decided to take advantage of the long holiday weekend and go camping, 3D printing can help with this activity as well. You can make this 1L Camping Bottle from Cults 3D user wavelog, or a helpful Folding Tripod Camping Stool Part by Cults 3D user to make your chair away from home more stable.

You can turn a mini flashlight into an ambient light with this Cults 3D Camplamp model by user 3DPrintNovesia. It’s designed with a 12 mm hole, so you’ll just need to scale it to your own flashlight, and print it with a low infill out of transparent filament. But my favorite is this Camp Caddy by fittingly named Cults 3D user TeamOutdoor, because it’s attractive and multifunctional.

Camping Caddy

“Condiment Holders don’t get any more far out than this. Everybody who BBQs in the outdoors or cooks on a campfire needs this. For one thing, condiments are unwieldy little suckers, and best passed and carried around all at once. And this one is a 3D printed work of art. Also holds a six pack—because of course—and your shower stuff, because why not?”

You can’t argue with that reasoning! It should take about 32 hours to print each half of this caddy out of PLA, and then you simply press the two together “until all of the vertical edges snap together.”

Happy Fourth, and happy 3D printing!

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Researchers Evaluate Feasibility of Closing Multiple Atrial Septal Defects Guided by 3D Printed Model

We’ve often seen physicians use 3D printed heart models to help during surgeries, but a group of researchers from China published a paper on using them to help with an alternative to surgery for repairing secundum atrial septal defect (ASD), a rare congenital defect characterized by a hole in the wall between the atria. Their goal was to evaluate how feasible it was to use a single device to close several ASDs guided by the 3D printed heart model and transthoracic echocardiography (TTE).

Due to interference between devices and threat of repeat intervention, it’s difficult to use multiple devices simultaneously, or in staged device closure, in percutaneous transcatheter closure of an ASD. But using an over-sized device, can tear the atrial septum. So the best plan is to use single device closure for patients with multiple ASDs, as it preserves the anatomical structure.

“However, this strategy is technically challenging because of inability to determine the target defect for catheter passage and occluder selection, warranting careful interventional planning with comprehensive anatomical information for successful device closure,” the team wrote.

That’s where the 3D printed heart model comes in. The researchers used the single-device strategy, assisted by 3D printing, to perform multiple ASDs closure, and compared their results of “3D printing-based and transthoracic echocardiography (TTE)-guided percutaneous transcatheter closure with those of traditional fluoroscopy-guided closure.”

Simple working flowchart in patients with multiple ASDs, from image acquisition to 3D printed solid and hollow model.

62 patients diagnosed by TTE with two or more ASDs with a 5mm or more diameter, were enrolled in their non-randomized study for analysis. 30 had cardiac computed tomography angiography (CTA) ahead of surgery in order to get data to create their 3D printed heart models. The CTA images were reconstructed and saved in DICOM format, before being imported to Materialise Mimics software. Cardiac masks were generated for 3D models, and 3-matic software was used to hollow them. The STL files were 3D printed, in hollow fashion, at 1:1 scale on a ProJet MJP 2500 Plus 3D printer out of silicone.

3D printed model of a patient with multiple ASDs. (a) and (b) show the model from left and right atrial sides, respectively. The arrows depict the position of the ASDs. (c) and (d) illustrate the status after occluder deployment in the model.

The surgeons performed in vitro simulated occlusion with the 3D printed models as a pre-op evaluation. Then, while the other 32 patients underwent ASD closure with fluoroscopic guidance, this group had TTE-guided closure procedures.

“The apical four-chamber view and parasternal short-axis view were used for guidance, and the multipurpose catheter was passed through the targeted defect, which was determined using the 3D printing model and intraoperative TTE,” the researchers explained.

“Then, a single septal occluder was inserted for ASD closure under TTE guidance. An ASD occluder or PFO occluder was selected based on the in vitro simulated occlusion in a 3D printing model.”

After implantation, the device position was evaluated through subcostal, apical four-chamber, and parasternal short-axis views, and they also performed Color Doppler assessment to detect any issues, like coronary sinus return or residual shunting. Once they determined that the occluder had been implanted correctly, “it was released by rotating the cable counterclockwise under TTE guidance,” and a reassessment was then performed in echo views, below.

Percutaneous closure of multiple ASDs under TTE guidance. (a) Multiple ASDs image displayed in subcostal view. (b) The left disc was released (parasternal short-axis view). (c) The ASDs were closed (four-chamber view).

“In the conventional group, multiple ASDs occlusion was performed under fluoroscopic guidance using the single occlusion device,” they wrote. “Based on TTE measurements, the single device was selected, equal to or up to 4 mm larger than the main defect [10]. According to experience [102021], the device was usually implanted into the largest defect. The occluder was replaced if echography found more than two residual shunts, the residual shunt was >5 mm in diameter, or the device compressed the mitral valve.”

Immediately post-op, and 6 months after the device closure, all 62 patients were evaluated via TTE and electrocardiogram, with the researchers noting the presence of any arrhythmia, residual shunt, or valve dysfunction. A Brand-Altman analysis was used to evaluate the agreement “between device size of 3D printed model and traditional estimation,” and the data was analyzed with SPSS software.

Bland–Altman plot analysis. Bland–Altman plot of empirical estimation versus 3D printed model estimation of occluder size.

They found that 26 patients in the 3D printing/TTE group, and 27 patients in the conventional group, achieved successful transcatheter closure with a single device. The prevalence of residual shunts was lower in the first group immediately and 6 months post-op, and there were no complications in either group during the procedure or the two follow-ups.

“Gender, age [18.8 ± 15.9 (3–51) years in the 3D printing and TTE group; 14.0 ± 11.6 (3–50) years in the conventional group], mean maximum distance between defects, prevalence of 3 atrial defects and large defect distance (defined as distance ≥7 mm), and occluder size used were similarly distributed between groups,” the team wrote. “However, the 3D printing and TTE group had lower frequency of occluder replacement (3.8% vs 59.3%, ), prevalence of mild residual shunts (defined as <5 mm) immediately (19.2% vs 44.4%, ) and at 6 months (7.7% vs 29.6%, ) after the procedure, and cost (32960.8 ± 2018.7 CNY vs 41019.9 ± 13758.2 CNY, ).”

They did note that the occluder on the 3D printed model was “consistently larger than in the empirical estimation but similar to final clinical selection,” which indicates a higher level of accuracy. Even in patients with a large defect distance, the results of the study suggest that “interventional therapy with a single occluder for multiple ASDs is feasible,” especially as technical difficulties and complex anatomy make successful single device closure tricky to achieve. It’s important to remember that the accuracy of the 3D printed anatomic model is paramount in attaining single device closure in patients with multiple ASDs.

“Occluders’ sizes preestimated by the 3D printed model were similar to the size actually used for patients and larger than the size from conventional empirical estimation. These results indicate that preevaluation using the 3D printed model can avoid unnecessary interventions, the possibility of enlarging ASD by changing occluders and the financial waste of replacing occluders,” they explained.

The researchers ultimately determined that it’s feasible to use a 3D printed model to help achieve successful device closure for patients with multiple ASDs with a defect distance of ≥7 mm. The model can also help screen patients who may not be well-suited for the closure route, and should instead seek direct surgical repair.

“The combination of the 3D printing technology and ultrasound-guided interventional procedure provides a new approach for individualized therapeutic strategy of structural heart disease and in particular a reliable therapeutic method for multiple ASDs, especially for challenging cases with large defect distance,” they concluded.

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3D Printing News Briefs: February 4, 2020

In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, we’re covering a range of topics. First, Digital Alloys is sharing a guide on the cold spray metal 3D printing process. UPM just launched its new GrowInk Bioinks product range. STPL3D offered its 3D printing expertise to help with a complex orthopaedic surgery, and the Smithsonian Institution is using Mimaki’s full-color 3D printer to make virus models for an exhibit. Finally, 3D printing was used to give an ancient mummy a voice…sort of.

Digital Alloys’ Cold Spray Guide

Massachusetts-based Digital Alloys has been publishing a Guide to Metal Additive Manufacturing, and the 16th part is all about Cold Spray technology, which was used as a coating process for many years before it was adapted into a metal 3D printing technology for rapid fabrication of near-net-shape parts. The technology uses pressurized gas to rapidly fire metal powders through a nozzle, aimed at the deposition point, with high enough velocity to create a metallurgical bond on impact but without melting the material. High-pressure Cold Spray systems allow for the processing of heavier materials, like steel and titanium alloys, while low-pressure systems use ambient air as a propellant, making them better for more ductile metals, like copper and aluminum.

“Cold Spray’s advantages include compatibility with heat-sensitive materials, low thermal stresses, and the ability to operate in an open (non-inert) environment. Disadvantages include restrictive part geometry, low density and accuracy, and material embrittlement,” the blog post states. “This post provides an overview of Cold Spray metal AM technology: how it works, geometry capability, material compatibility, economics, applications, and current state of commercialization.”

UPM Launched GrowInk Product Range 

Biomaterials company UPM, which introduced the biocomposite 3D printing material Formi 3D two years ago, is now launching a new line of hydrogels. The GrowInk 3D printing product range, which consists of non-animal derived, ready-to-use hydrogels, was introduced at the recent SLAS2020 conference. These bioinks, made up of water and nanofibrillar cellulose, support cell growth and differentiation by mimicking the in vivo environment, and are compatible with a wide range of 3D printers.

GrowInk Bioinks provide excellent imaging quality, and are perfect for many different 3D bioprinting applications, such as scaffold preparation and cell encapsulation for drug discovery, regenerative medicine, and tissue engineering. Additionally, UPM is also expanding its GrowDex product range with the sterile hydrogel GrowDex-A, which was created to debind biotinylated molecules, like antibiotics and peptides.

STPL3D Provides 3D Printing Help in Orthopedic Surgery

In December, 14-year-old Aaska Shah from India sustained multiple fractures to her left elbow while playing, and at her young age, a prosthetic implant would only compromise her natural movements. So doctors were left with no choice but to operate, using clamps to keep the bone pieces in place. Aaska’s surgery was denied because of how complex it would be, but Dr. Jignesh Pandya took on the task, and partnered up with Agam Shah from 3D printing service STPL3D to create a 3D printed resin model of the patient’s fractured elbow bone for surgical planning.

“Dr Pandya and his team first reviewed x-rays and 2D scans of the patient and reviewed their surgical plan. The doctors were a little concerned because there are a frightening amount of things that can go wrong during the operation but refused to give up hope,” an STPL3D blog post states. “The doctors have faced many challenges during the operation like deciding the clamp length and attaching points in the bone but the surgeries were successful largely thanks to the skilled surgeons.”

The doctors said the 3D model gave them “greater confidence,” and the patient was also on the operation table for roughly 25% less time.

Smithsonian Institution 3D Printing Full-Color Virus Models

This image shows the Influenza virus model, created using the Mimaki 3DUJ-553 3D printer, in an opened position. The clear disk that contains the eight purple capsids and the eight yellow RNA strands has been removed from the green envelope. Image credit: Carolyn Thome/SIE

The world’s largest museum, education, and research complex, the Smithsonian Institution, is working with Mimaki USA to help with art, cultural, educational, and science exhibits and experiences. The Maryland-based Smithsonian Exhibits’ (SIE) studios works with the Institution’s offices and museums, and the federal government, to help plan engaging exhibits, as well as create models for research and public programs. The SIE team is using the full-color Mimaki 3DUJ-553 3D printer to create detailed, 3D printed models of enlarged viruses for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World exhibition.

“We are pleased to be a part of the Smithsonian Institution’s efforts to engage and inspire audiences through the increase and diffusion of knowledge. This printer will enable the Smithsonian to use new technologies to produce exhibits in new ways, particularly for creating models and tactile elements that help bring exhibits to life for all visitors,” stated Josh Hope, Sr. Manager, 3D Printing & Engineering Projects at Mimaki USA.

3D Printed Vocal Tract for Mummy

The 3D printed trachea and mouth of Nesyamun. (Credit: David Howard/Royal Holloway, University of London)

We’ve seen 3D printing used multiple times to help bring the mysteries of mummies into the modern world, but here’s a new one: a team of researchers from the UK used 3D printing to help an ancient mummy speak. Together, they published a paper, titled “Synthesis of a Vocal Sound from the 3,000 year old Mummy, Nesyamun ‘True of Voice,’ about their work creating a 3D printed vocal box for the mummy. Nesyamun was an Egyptian priest who lived and died over 3,000 years ago, during the reign of Ramses XI. A scribe and incense-bearer who likely sang and chanted prayers at the temple in Thebes, his sarcophagus features an epithet that translates to “true of voice,” because as a priest, he would have said that he lived a virtuous life; this is the reason the researchers gave for their work being ethical. In 2016, the mummy was sent to a facility for CT scanning, which discovered that, while his soft palate was gone and his tongue was shapeless, his larynx and throat were still in good condition – perfect for an experiment to replicate his vocal tract and help him “speak.”

Egyptologist Joann Fletcher said, “The actual mummification process was key here. The superb quality of preservation achieved by the ancient embalmers meant that Nesyamun’s vocal tract is still in excellent shape.”

The team 3D printed a copy of Nesyamun’s vocal tract between the larynx and lips on a Stratysys Connex 260 system. The horn portion of a loudspeaker was removed and replaced with the artificial vocal box, and then connected to a computer to create an electronic waveform similar to what is used in common speech synthesizers. This setup was able to help produce a single vowel sound, which you can hear for yourself here.

Discuss these stories and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

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How Effective are 3D Printed Reefs?

Researchers from the School of Marine Science and Policy at the University of Delaware are looking further into the concept of 3D printed models placed in the vicinity of coral and fish, touching on concerns regarding toxicity and chemical leaching. In the recently published ‘3D printed objects do not impact the behavior of a coral-associated damselfish or survival of a settling stony coral,’ authors Emily J. Ruhl and Danielle L. Dixson outline their findings regarding the use of 3D printed models in coral reef behavioral research.

Previous research has been performed regarding 3D printed objects in the environment with success, from studying animal behavior and habitat to using 3D printed shells to offer stability to oyster beds. And you don’t have to live on an island or near the beach to be aware that coral reef systems are in trouble today—often with little left of their once-thriving habitats. Ruhl and Dixson see great potential in 3D printing for ‘advancing the discipline of coral reef behavioral ecology.’

For this study, the team experimented with the use of 3D printed and natural skeletons placed amidst blue-green chromis, along with researching the survival rate of Caribbean mustard hill coral on a 3D printed substrate. In creating the models, they photographed the coral from 50 different angles, using a simple iPhone. After converting the files into 3D designs, they printed the models to life-size dimensions on the following variety of 3D printers:

The researchers then acclimated the 3D printed models in seawater for a week, after which a ‘cafeteria-style arrangement’ was set up:

“All five coral treatments of a single species were arranged in a circular pattern spaced 50cm apart from the corals directly adjacent in a 1.8m diameter tank filled to 45cm. For each trial, coral species and treatment order were randomized. An individual fish was placed into an 18cm diameter mesh cylinder (1cm2) at the center of the experimental tank and left to habituate for 15-minutes (Aformosa n = 29, Pdamicornis n = 15). The cylinder’s construction allowed the fish to observe all habitat treatments without having access to them. After the habituation period, the cylinder was slowly raised to begin the 15-minute observation period.”

Replicates of P. damicornis (top) and A. formosa (bottom) control corals 3D printed with nGen, XT, PLA, and SS filament, respectively.

The authors recorded the habitat non-stop, and overall discovered that experimenting with 3D printed objects in situ rendered benign results, demonstrating suitability for assessment of a range of reef behaviors and habits.

“As coral reef ecosystems are highly dynamic environments, field studies are the next step to investigate the efficacy of using 3D printed objects to facilitate ecological research,” concluded the authors.

“While coral settlement studies in situ are typically not disruptive to coral reef systems, 3D printed substrate could allow for novel methodologies in conducting this research. For instance, printed substrate could be designed to compare settlement rates, growth, and survival of different coral species across specific surface complexities or cryptic microhabitats. This information could inform management practices by tailoring efforts to the needs of individual species.”

While many users and researchers today are concerned about the impact of 3D printing on the environment, the technology has been used in many different projects behind helping to save it, from preparing to rid the ocean of plastic waste to removing pollutants from the air and even stopping food waste.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

viridis spent in association with any of the coral habitat treatments (n = 44).

Mean behavioral responses (± SE) by C. viridis when exposed to 3D printed or coral skeleton habitats (n = 12).

[Source / Images: ‘3D printed objects do not impact the behavior of a coral-associated damselfish or survival of a settling stony coral’]


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Interview with Jasamine Coles-Black: Benefits of 3D Printed Models in Vascular Surgery

Seven years ago, the World Health Organization estimated the total global volume of operations to be 312.9 million. That could probably mean that in our lifetime, a lot of us will go under the surgeon’s knife, and because it’s not as scary anymore as perhaps the early 1900’s (if you saw the Cinemax hit show The Knick, you know what I mean), we should be thankful to live in the 21st. century. Surgery has become safer, and cosmetic surgery, microsurgery and many other elective-type surgeries are quite common and often painless procedures. Still, some of the more complex surgeries still have high death rates. In an attempt to take advantage of the ongoing technological advances, many medical specialists have noticed that 3D printing can improve surgical planning and training, which will directly benefit surgical procedures.

Last year, Nova Scotia surgeons used a 3D printed brain model in surgical planning for the first time, while 60 specialists at the Mayo Clinic dedicated three and a half years and more than 50 Saturdays to practicing a very complex face transplant, thanks to 3D imaging and virtual surgical procedures. In Melbourne, Australia, the Austin Health 3D Printing Laboratory supports 3D printing for clinical applications and runs an active research program exploring how 3D printing can be used for teaching, procedural simulation, patient education, surgical planning, and prosthetic implants. The first facility of its kind in the southernmost city of the country, 3dMedLab came about after discussions for a more coordinated and organised approach to 3D Printing Resources throughout The University of Melbourne and in particular the availability of this technology to Clinician-Researchers at hospitals associated with the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. Since then they have expanded the number of medical specialties and researchers that they work with across multiple Melbourne hospitals as well as developing nationwide and international partnerships.

3DPrint.com spoke to Jasamine Coles-Black, doctor and vascular researcher at the Department of Vascular Surgery at Austin Health, in Melbourne to understand how 3D printing can improve surgical planning in complex endovascular procedures to treat the arteries and veins of the body and training for medical residents.

Dr. Jasamine Coles-Black with kidney tumor model

“3D printing is the exciting next step in personalized medicine. The anatomical models are custom-made using scans that we have acquired as part of a patient’s medical care. From these scans, we can highlight the parts of the patient that we are interested in operating on and use these images to make a 3D model. From there, it can be printed using any 3D printer. The lab frequently prints models of diseased aortas to perform a ‘practice-run’ surgery. We have found that these 3D printed models are of greatest value when we are confronted with challenging cases. In addition to using them for surgical simulation, they can also be used to teach trainee surgeons about the anatomy and approach in difficult cases. These same models can be used to explain to patients their disease, and the procedure we are proposing they undergo. We have found that we are better able to communicate with patients about their disease when they can hold their own anatomy in their hands,” explained Coles-Black, who is Co-Founder of 3DMedLab along with Jason Chuen, the Director of the Lab.

Abdominal Aortic Model 3D printed on MakerBot Replicator 2X FDM printer in ABS, used for anatomical teaching of surgical trainees

At the 3DMedLab experts have also 3D printed internal carotid arteries (the main blood vessel in the neck supplying the brain) to help visualise them before the team performs operations aimed at preventing strokes, or before they operate on tumours in the neck involving these arteries. Tracie Barber, assistant professor and a collaborator for the University of New South Wales, 3D prints fistulas created by vascular surgeons for dialysis access as an educational tool for patients and nurses. Furthermore, the very first anatomical model 3D printed at the lab was to plan a particularly complex abdominal aortic aneurysm that would have been life-threatening to the patient if left untreated. The operation was succesfully performed by Chuen, and according to Coles-Black, the patient has even taken home the 3D printed replica of his aneurysm, where it has been given a name!

Hospital patients will benefit with new research that shows surgery is far superior if doctors do 3D printouts of the relevant body parts, so that people requiring operation will get customized surgery, making procedures quicker, patients wont be under anaesthetics for as long, allowing the production of efficient simulators for endovascular training, improving residents’ surgical performance and self-confidence. Coles-Black claims that 3D-printed models may help in understanding the behaviour of the endovascular material in three dimensions, inside a specific anatomy and can be directly manipulated and inspected, which can help identify some details that might not have been noticed on a CT scan. Furthermore, 3D printing allows a patient-specific simulation, which is more efficient than a generic one. Today, with online 3D printing services, like Shapeways or Materialise, taking care of any bespoke 3D project, it’s easier for doctors who don’t have access to 3D printers to outsource their anatomical printed models.

But although 3D printing improves surgical outcomes, as a cutting-edge field, there are still gaps in the literature that need to be filled in order to validate the benefits of these anatomical models in surgery. Scientific articles published to date have shown that surgeons find 3D printed models a beneficial advancement in surgical planning, and quite useful to train junior surgeons. Also, studies have shown that 3D printed anatomical models enhance patient safety by reducing a patient’s time under anesthesia, reducing operation times, recovery times, and even blood loss. The applications of producing life-size 3D models can have great benefits as well to a patient’s understanding of their disease and lessens their anxiety about the upcoming procedure. Personalised 3D printed models have been associated with increased patient understanding of basic anatomy, physiology, and the planned surgical procedure. This in turn helps the patient be more satisfied with their care resulting in a better engagement with the treating doctor.

Hollow aorta demonstrating type B aortic dissection

The 3DMedLab is fully equipped with many 3D printers which are used depending on the function required of the 3D printed anatomical model. Including printers from FormLabs, the Form2 which Coles-Black claims was very useful in the creation of transparent, flexible, and autoclavable models which can be sterilised and applied in the operative field, and the Form Cure and Form Wash. While for inexpensive initial prototypes and to print bony models such as for orthopaedic or maxillofacial surgery, they use an Ultimaker S5, for intricate structures such as the delicate bones of the face, Coles-Black and her team uses Ultimaker PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) a water-soluble support material for multi-extrusion 3D printing. To produce Orthopaedic models to size prostheses and simulate the reaming of bone, they rely on an Objet Scholar. And also have access to a Connex 3, Makerbots, and a metal SLS printer through the University of Melbourne. 

So how much time does pre-surgical simulation take? As Coles-Black told 3DPrint.com, it depends very much on the procedure that is being planned:

“The process can be as quick as bending a metal plate for facial reconstructive surgery against a 3D printed replica of a patient’s jaw in order to save time during surgery, to doing an entire “practice-run” of a procedure, such as introducing a needle and wire into a life-sized 3D printed aorta, navigating its anatomy, and deploying a stent into it as you would in a real patient. In essence, the strength of 3D printed anatomical models is that it allows us to create a life-sized replica of a patient’s anatomy. Doing a ”practice-run” before performing surgery on a real patient allows us to better plan for and anticipate challenging scenarios. Every individual’s anatomy is unique, and having the opportunity to practice the procedure beforehand allows us to make a plan to deal with potential problems before we operate on a patient. This improves the speed and the safety of our operations. Sometimes doing a “practice-run” on an exact replica of a patient’s anatomy also changes the techniques and equipment used.”

Model of Aortic Valve 3D printed in Formlabs Form2 SLA Printer

With research involving 3D printing hollow, diseased patient-specific abdominal aortic aneurysms, dilatation of the abdominal part of the main artery in the body which has a 70 to 80% mortality rate when ruptured, Coles-Black is very interested in introducing 3D printing technology to her work. Using 3D printed models help visualise and physically hold the patient’s individual anatomy in their hands, as well as practice minimally invasive repairs before performing them on the actual patient.

“These replicas of patient’s aortas also help to guide our selection of technique and equipment,” she stressed.

In order to improve the realism of her models, the expert is searching for a material that “most closely mimics a real aorta.”  Every month, doctors at the 3DMedLab print dozens of anatomical models to help with the pre-surgical planning of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Maxillofacial Surgery, Ear Nose and Throat Surgery, Urology, General Surgery, Neurosurgery, and of course Vascular Surgery. They even produce 3D printed anatomical models to help Vets with their surgical planning too; something many veterinarians have been attempting to do.

Hollow aortic root model showing aortic valve, used for planning prior to cardiac surgery

“In addition to this, we 3D print training models used by medical professionals to teach and upkeep their procedural skills,” Coles-Black said. “For example, we have just 3D printed a large batch of airway training models requested by a paramedic at a base hospital in the Middle East. We also receive requests from research labs hoping to quickly and cheaply replace equipment parts. 3D printing technology has been around for a while, but a few years ago, doctors and other health professionals began to make use of it as part of patient care. Five years ago, when Jason and I founded 3D Med Lab I was still a medical student, so I have always envisioned 3D printing as part of my practice. In the past few years we have noticed an increase in the uptake of this technology amongst medical professionals. Certainly, the number of requests our lab receives seems to reflect this. 3D Med Lab is open to the medical space and offers clinicians everywhere a chance to get started in 3D printing.” 

Dr. Jason Chuen, Director of Vascular Surgery and Austin 3D Medical Printing Laboratory

The 3D Med Lab supports doctors and scientists interested in this technology by providing a central hub for the exchange of knowledge and ideas. Thanks to their workshops they teach other interested clinicians in using 3D printing as part of their practice. Their next annual Australian 3D printing in medicine conference (#3dMed19) will take place November 14 through 16, in Melbourne. 

As Coles-Black says, it is a small but growing field, getting a lot of interest from enthusiastic research students. Nonetheless, to really disrupt the medical industry, some of these models will require even more human-like properties, so it might be a few more years before advances in 3D printing technology allow printing of multi-material products to achieve the mechanical properties required, using cost-effective methods. But this is a great start for many research centers, universities and hospitals around the world that are getting a noticeable advantage through the use of additive manufacturing, and certainly, more patients would benefit with its widespread use.

[Images: 3dMedLab, Austin Health]

SUNY Upstate Medical University: 3D Printing Testing Aids for X-ray Equipment

While there are numerous calls to action right now for greater quality control programs in 3D printing and additive manufacturing processes, researchers at SUNY Upstate Medical University are more worried about the accuracy of X-ray equipment, and have created 3D printed testing aids. Kent M. Ogden, Kristin E. Morabito, and Paul K. Depew outline their findings in ‘3D printed testing aids for radiographic quality control.’

The researchers created testing devices to refine quality control in radiographic and fluoroscopic imaging systems. Objects must be placed accurately, and such aids encourage greater efficiency and repeatability. During this study, they also created a device that can pinpoint the exact position of perpendicular rays. While such testing is important no matter what, especially in the medical field, it is also required and regulated by the state.

Currently, there are five different areas of testing:

  • Mechanical inspection
  • Beam geometry tests
  • Beam quality, tube output, and patient exposure tests
  • Systems tests
  • Image quality tests

Testing aids are not always readily available, and sometimes medical professionals must improvise; with 3D printing, however, they can create affordable, custom devices on demand. For this study, the researchers created several different models, using OpenScad for 3D design, and then a MakerBot Replicator 2 or Replicator Z18 printer for fabrication with PLA:

“We have created tools that aid in collimation testing and for general positioning of test articles such as aluminum blocks used for dosimetric measurements and commercial radiographic and fluoroscopic image quality phantoms,” state the researchers in their paper. “Collimation test tools include holders for radiochromic filmstrips that allow for easy positioning on fluoroscopic image receptors, and a newly designed tool to measure the x‐ray perpendicular ray relative to the center of a radiographic image receptor or x‐ray field central ray.”

Polylactic acid test article setup for measuring half‐value layer.

PLA, derived from a vegetable base, is an organic compound, and was chosen as the material for 3D printing because of its similarity to tissue. The researchers were intent on preventing the presence of PLA in the X-ray beam as much as possible, but sometimes it was unavoidable; for example, holders for the dosimetry system detector must be in the direct beam during the process. The aids ultimately, however, were found to be lightweight and easy to move from one test site to another, and the authors reported that they have improved testing processes.

“Prior to the development of these tools, we had used improvised positioning aids such as cardboard boxes, blocks of foam, etc. These improvised devices were not very stable, and it was time‐consuming to position test articles and dosimetry sensors at a precise distance from the image receptor and with the dosimetry sensor centered on the phantoms,” said the researchers.

Positioning aids for (a) portable c‐arm fluoroscopes, (b) R/F rooms with under‐table x‐ray tube, (c) interventional c‐arms in the lateral position, and (d) an image quality phantom holder for use in fluoroscopy or radiography.

This project puts all the benefits of 3D printing on full display as the researchers were able to make affordable, customized devices that changed their workflow for the better. The researchers reported one other significant benefit too: the 3D printed test aids are much more hygienic, allowing for the prevention of infection with an easy wipe-down.

“There is no way to disinfect the porous surfaces of cardboard or foam devices to hospital standards,” explained the researchers.

The authors were able to create their models with two spools of PLA (at about $20 per spool). Their designs were also meant to be standard enough so that most users could replicate them if so desired.

“Additive manufacturing is a disruptive technology that has had a large and increasing impact in many domains, including healthcare. Medical Physicists can benefit from this technology in multiple ways, such as the manufacturing of custom QC phantoms, patient specific phantoms for dosimetric purposes, and for prototyping novel equipment‐testing devices,” concluded the researchers.

“We have made these models available for download at https://github.com/Upstate3DLab/3D-Printed-Radiographic-Test-Tools. We have posted the OpenScad code and the generated digital models in. stl format. Users may modify the code to customize the devices to address varying phantom dimensions and to accommodate differences in printer characteristics.”

X-rays and 3D printing have been going hand in hand since the advent of 3D printed models and a variety of different patient-specific devices that can be designed based on CTs and MRIs, from training devices for medical students to using models for reconstructing the eye socket or studying cardiac anomalies. Find out more about how 3D printed aids can be used to test X-ray equipment here.

(a) Radiochromic filmstrip holder sets, (b) a typical use case in an interventional room, (c) aligned holders shown fluoroscopically, and (d) the resulting exposed film. Note that the wires in this example were positioned roughly at the edge of the collimator and not at the edge of the image receptor so that they would be visible in the fluoro image.

(a) Dosimetry base unit stand, (b) base stand being used in a computed tomography scanner.

[Source / Images: 3D printed testing aids for radiographic quality control]

3D Printed Medical Models: There Is a Growing Need for Quality Assurance in Production

Infographic overview of 3D printed model / part verification

Researchers from around the US have convened to analyze the uses of 3D printed medical models further. In their recently published paper, ‘Methods for verification of 3D printed anatomic model accuracy using cardiac models as an example,’ authors Mohammad Odeh, Dmitry Levin, Jim Inziello, Fluvio Lobo Fenoglietto, Moses Mathur, Joshua Hermsen, Jack Stubbs, and Beth Ripley appreciate the usefulness of 3D printed medical models, but they also realize a growing need for quality assurance in such products—and especially as popularity for their use continues.

The authors research different methods for examining quality of medical models through:

  • Physical measurements
  • Digital photographic measurements
  • Surface scanning
  • Photogrammetry
  • Computed tomography (CT) scans

In verifying quality assurance, models can be tested for accuracy in demonstrating patient-specific health conditions, along with ensuring they will serve their intended purpose for the patient. The authors also state that there can be challenges in verification, to include difficulty in measurements and obtaining the desired dimensions.

The models were created at the University of Washington School of Medicine to evaluate the usefulness of cardiac models in pre-surgery planning. Some of the models were subjected to additional QA testing to help set standards for verifying such models. Data was exported from Mimics Medical into 3-Matic Medical Software (Version 13.0) for editing, and then sent back to Mimics software for final verification. All medical models were 3D printed on a Form2 in clear, white, and gray resins.

Physical measurements of 3D printed cardiac models and cadaveric hearts. a-c Three examples of cadaveric hearts and their corresponding 3D printed models, used for measuring features of the aortic valve (a, b) and the mitral valve (b, c). d-e Measurement of perimeters was accomplished using a malleable metal wire which was marked with a needle driver and then straightened and measured against a ruler. f Organic shapes present challenges to measurement with linear rulers or calipers

The authors measured for discrete features on the models themselves, then on the .stl files, and then compared measurement styles. They also explored photogrammetry and surface scanning of 3D printed models, CT scanning of the models, and alignment of patient DICOM and 3D model DICOM datasets. While there were some challenges in attaining physical measurements, as the researchers state, it takes years to establish a good quality assurance program, and this study just focused on part verification.

Digital photographic measurement technique. a-d Four discrete 3D model features (a Feature 1, b Feature 2, c Feature 3, and d Feature 4) were chosen for measurement, based on their accessibility on an exterior surface and the fact that they had distinguishing features that would allow for repeat measurements. All digital photographs were calibrated before measurement. This was achieved by placing a marker of known length at the same height and angle as the feature of interest before photographing the model. Once the photograph was imported into an image analysis software (in this case, ImageJ), the length of the known marker was measured in pixels, and a conversion factor was calculated for pixels to millimeters. Of note, insufficient illumination for feature 3 (panel c) caused blending of edges, most pronounced along the inferior aspect of the photograph. This affected accuracy of measurements for this feature

As the researchers learned, 3D printing medical models can introduce errors at ‘each step in the process.’ Their solution is to monitor the process, creating checkpoints in the design process and printing. Each form of measurement has both pros and cons, and the researchers suggest that verification methods should be fitted to the patient specific requirements of the model being verified.

“The choice of which method to adopt into a quality assurance program is multifactorial and will depend on the type of 3D printed models being created, the training of personnel, and what resources are available within a 3D printed laboratory,” concluded the authors.

Medical models are changing the face of medicine for everyone involved, causing a positive trickle down effect as medical professionals convert data into models to be 3D printed, doctors and surgeons are able to make more accurate diagnoses, establish treatment plans, and train for some procedures that may be very rare, medical students are able to learn, and patients and their families are able to be better educated on what is happening through such a progressive visual aid. Over time, medical models have helped with improving patient care further, helping doctors fight cancer, and even veterinary care. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

Digital photographic measurement technique. a-d Four discrete 3D model features (a Feature 1, b Feature 2, c Feature 3, and d Feature 4) were chosen for measurement, based on their accessibility on an exterior surface and the fact that they had distinguishing features that would allow for repeat measurements. All digital photographs were calibrated before measurement. This was achieved by placing a marker of known length at the same height and angle as the feature of interest before photographing the model. Once the photograph was imported into an image analysis software (in this case, ImageJ), the length of the known marker was measured in pixels, and a conversion factor was calculated for pixels to millimeters. Of note, insufficient illumination for feature 3 (panel c) caused blending of edges, most pronounced along the inferior aspect of the photograph. This affected accuracy of measurements for this feature

[Source / Images: ‘Methods for verification of 3D printed anatomic model accuracy using cardiac models as an example‘]

VA Hospital Uses 3D Printing to Create the Perfect Mandibular Implant

When a patient’s lower jaw bone is removed due to injury or disease, it can be replaced by a mandibular implant. Unfortunately, these implants only come in a limited number of sizes – much fewer sizes than there are unique patient anatomies. This means that surgeons need to bend and shape the implant during surgery to make sure that it perfectly fits the patient’s jaw, allowing him or her to chew properly and maintain a normal appearance. But at the VA Puget Sound Health Care Center, maxillofacial surgeons James Clossman and Jeffrey Houlton are using 3D printing to create a new type of mandibular implant – one that fits the patient perfectly from the start, without need for modification during surgery.

James Clossman (left) and Jeffrey Houlton

Clossman and Houlton recently teamed up with engineers Chris Richburg and Patrick Aubin and VA Puget Sound radiologists Eric Rombokas and Beth Ripley to create exact replicas of three patients’ mandibles, using the hospital’s Stratasys 3D printer. These models allowed the surgeons to compare standard mandibular implants to the 3D printed replicas, adjusting the size and shape as needed days before the surgery, rather than scrambling to do it during the operation itself.

“3D printed modeling, along with virtual planning, has really become a game changer in difficult mandibular reconstruction cases,” said Houlton. “Being able to have a 3D printed model of the patient’s mandible allows us to precisely plan key details during these cases, with a precision you just can’t get with traditional techniques.”

The 3D printed custom mandible models translated into approximately two hours’ time savings for each surgery. With OR time estimated at about $80 a minute, that’s quite a cost saving as well – not to mention that it means less time under anesthesia for the patient, and less fatigue for the surgeons.

VA Puget Sound is one of several VA hospitals that Stratasys equipped with 3D printers, as well as materials and training, in order to create a 3D printing hospital network. The company has been working closely with this VA network in order to help increase surgeon preparedness and quality patient care through 3D printing. VA Puget Sound is also using the technology to help surgeons identify the most appropriate heart valve size for replacement surgery, which can mean the difference between life and death. The hospital is also exploring 3D printing as a means to create personalized orthopedic implants for patients that fall at the extremes of the size range.

“It is exciting to see this technology being offered to veterans through the VA system,” said Houlton. “The next step will be to use the Stratasys 3D printer to create additional tools to help with optimal fit, such as surgical cutting guides. The dream is to eventually 3D print the perfect implant with a metal 3D printer every time.”

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.


Researchers Use 3D Printing and Basic Electronic Components to Make Neuroscience More Accessible

While I was worse in math, science was also not one of my strong suits in school. So anything that makes it easier for students to better understand these complex subjects is a good idea, in my humble opinion. Tom Baden, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Sussex, has been collaborating with his colleagues to further open up access to science education with a piece of hardware that can demonstrate how our brains function.

“By making access to scientific and teaching equipment free and open, researchers and educators can take the future into their own hands,” Professor Baden said. ” In time, we hope that this type of work will contribute to level the playing field across the globe, such that ideas, not funding can be the primary driver for success and new insights.”

Professor Baden is also one of the scientists behind the innovative 3D printable FlyPi microscope, and his latest work – an educational model of neurons in the brain made with basic electronic components – is just part of his expanding range of equipment that uses DIY and 3D printable models to make science more accessible and interactive.

One of the central parts of neuroscience is, of course, understanding how our neurons encode and compute information. But there’s not a good hands-on type of way to learn about this…until now. Professor Baden and other colleagues are building Spikeling: a piece of electronic kit which behaves similarly to the neurons in the brain and costs just £25.

“Spikeling is a useful piece of kit for anyone teaching neuroscience because it allows us to demonstrate how neurons work in a more interactive way,” Professor Baden explained.

Professor Baden, together with researchers Ben James, Maxime J.Y. Zimmermann, Philipp Bartel, Dorieke M Grijseels, Thomas Euler, Leon Lagnado and Miguel Maravall, published a paper about their work on Spikeling in the open access journal PLOS Biology, titled “Spikeling: a low-cost hardware implementation of a spiking neuron for neuroscience teaching and outreach.”

The team hopes that their invention will end up being a useful neuroscience teaching tool, and in fact, they are already seeing the benefits of their hard work. A class of third year neuroscience students at the university have used the kit, and at a Nigerian summer school last year, scientists were also taught how to build the hardware from scratch.

Spikeling has receptors, which react to external stimuli such as light to simulate how information is computed by nerve cells in the brain. Then, students can follow the activity of the receptors, or cells, live on a computer screen. Users can also link several Spikelings together to form a network, which demonstrates how brain neurons interconnect. This action makes it possible to demonstrate the neural behavior behind every day actions, such as walking.

The goal in Professor Baden’s lab is to, as the university put it, “level the playing field in global science” and make necessary equipment less expensive than it usually is. That’s why all of the information and design files for Spikeling have been made available, joining a growing trend around the world of designs collected on the PLOS Open Hardware toolkit, which Professor Baden just so happens to co-moderate.

A. Bag of parts disassembled Spikeling, as used in our summer school in Gombe, Nigeria. B. Students soldering Spikelings as part of an in-class exercise on DIY equipment building.

“With all parts being cheap, and design files being free and open, we hope that like any open Hardware design, Spikeling can be a starting point for others to change or extend it to their requirements, and reshare their improved design with the community,” Professor Baden said.

Andre Maia Chagas, one of the research technicians in the lab, recently published his own article in PLOS Biology that explains the importance of open scientific hardware, in response to a piece by Eve Marder, an American neuroscientist who wondered if researchers who worked in less wealthy institutions would fall behind as scientific research equipment continues to grow more expensive. More and more, we’re seeing that 3D printing can be used to make sure this doesn’t happen.

Discuss this story and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

[Images provided by University of Sussex]

3D Printing News Briefs: November 3, 2018

In this month’s first edition of 3D Printing News Briefs, we’re starting again with news about formnext, before moving on to other business news, a medical story, and a case study. Mimaki will be bringing over 10 million colors to formnext, and M. Holland has signed a distribution agreement with 3DXTECH. Some exciting medical news out of South Korea – the country’s first chest transplant using 3D printing has been successfully completed. Finally, LulzBot published a case study about its work to help produce a haunting stop-motion animation short film.

Mimaki Showcasing Over 10 Million Colors at formnext

At formnext in Frankfurt later this month, Mimaki will be bringing its advanced, full-color 3D printing technology, under the theme of ‘Shape the Future in Colour.’ Its 3DUJ-553 3D printer, which offers consistent results in over 10 million colors, will be running live during the event so visitors can see the super fine, photorealistic detail it offers. In addition, through a collaborative project with Materialise, Mimaki’s 3D printed models are currently available under the name Multicolor+ through i.materialise. These models, 3D printed in UV-cured photopolymer resins with inkjet printing heads, have a strength that’s higher than other color 3D printing technologies and can be handled directly off the 500 x 500 x 300 mm build plate of the 3DUJ-553.

“Materialise is currently trialling Mimaki’s full-colour 3D printing technology. The material, Multicolor+, allows us to create smooth surfaces with vibrant colours that enhance the value of a finished object. Multicolor+ offers more vivid and intense colours and enables stronger, sturdier materials with a minimum wall thickness of 1mm. It also allows for printing interlocking parts. As a result, Multicolor+ is ideal for printing decorative parts such as figurines, avatars and architectural models,” said Miranda Bastijns, Materialise Director Manufacturing Online.

Come see Mimaki’s full-color 3D printing capabilities for yourself at booth D26 in Hall 3.1 at formnext, November 13-16.

M. Holland Signs New Distribution Agreement

This spring, international thermoplastic resins distributor M. Holland signed its first 3D printing product distribution agreement with Owens Corning to sell the company’s XSTRAND product line. Now, the company has announced that it signed its second distribution agreement, this time with Michigan-based manufacturer and supplier of high-performance 3D printing materials and parts 3DXTECH. This agreement will provide M. Holland’s industrial manufacturing clients with access to a larger team of commercial and technical support resources, in addition to adding over 24 materials, like carbon fiber and fire-retardant materials, to the company’s current 3D printing product portfolio.

“At M. Holland, our mission is to give our industrial clients agnostic advice about how to integrate 3D printing into their operations to create value. The 3DXTECH product line gives us a full portfolio of high quality, engineering-grade materials, which we can marry with objective recommendations about methods and machinery to deliver the optimal solutions to our clients,” said Haleyanne Freedman, M. Holland’s global 3D printing and additive manufacturing engineering specialist.

South Korea Completes First Local Chest Transplant Using 3D Printing

3D printed sternum model

A 55-year-old man, who chooses to remain anonymous, has just received the first chest transplant using 3D printing in the country of South Korea. Following Spain, Italy, the US, Britain, and China, this makes it the sixth nation in the world to complete this amazing medical innovation. The patient had a malignant tumor in his thorax, and while he’d had four other surgeries and anti-cancer drugs in the past, these conventional methods did not ultimately work, and the cancer returned to his body.

“All of a sudden, the patient once again was feeling pain, and the lump on his chest became clearly visible. This meant the cancer had grown resistant,” explained Professor Park Byung-Joon with Chung-Ang University Hospital. ” We felt the new treatment was necessary and so we had to perform surgery urgently.”

He knew that 3D printing could help customize treatments for patients. Together with the rest of his team, Professor Park created a 3D printed breastbone for the patient that would have been nearly impossible to create with other methods of manufacturing. The hope is that this 3D printed chest transplant will help spur additional innovation in South Korea.

To learn more, watch the video below:

LulzBot Helps Produce Stop-Motion Animation

Dale Hayward and Sylvie Trouvé of Montreal-based See Creature Animation, together with the National Film Board of Canada, have been working together for the past three years to produce the short film Bone Mother, a stop-motion animation version of the Slavic folklore tale of the witch Baba Yaga. For the first time, See Creature decided to use 3D printing, and chose the LulzBot Mini as the affordable, reliable machine they needed to create nearly the entire film with 3D printing. Then, the team decided to add three more to the studio, due to how much 3D printing was required – over 1,500 unique faces were needed, and See Creature used woodfill PLA by colorFabb, with a light infill, to make them. Adjustments were also made to reduce print precision, as one character needed plenty of wrinkles.

“Our main character, Baba Yaga is an ancient witch and naturally she should have wrinkles. So instead of sculpting them into the computer model, we found that if we print the face lying down, the layers look like a topographical map and the print naturally accentuated the curves of her face, creating a lot of the wrinkles for us,” Hayward explained. “We loved the look and it fit her character so much that we actually lowered the resolution to get even more stepping.”

“Where technology has forced traditional hand-drawn animation to adapt or fade away, stop-motion has always ridden the tech wave, so much so that there has become a renaissance of stop-motion films over the last decade. This is attributed to technologies like 3D printing…. they have opened the doors to greater creative possibilities at a lower budget.”

Bone Mother, which clocks in at less than nine minutes, recently premiered in Toronto. See it for yourself below:

Discuss these stories and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the comments below.