3D printed brain?

http://3dprint.com/92071/your-brain-on-3d-printing/

You can 3D print your own brain.

This Is Your Brain On 3D Printing

If you’ve been through the experience of having a complete MRI brain scan, and you’re not squeamish about such things, you might be interested in building a scale model 3D print of your brain itself.

That MRI scan data means you now have the option to print your brain.

meshlab brain scan file

As for that MRI scan, you’ll need the sort of scan free of surrounding structures, and a radiologist can create a range of scans and analysis for the various elements of tissues.

Why you’d do this without significant motivation is anyone’s guess, but author and editor Richard Baguley went that route. He says once you request DICOM data of your brain, it’s possible to ask for a CD which includes the various scans, or failing that, go straight to your doctor to make the request–as the patient, it’s within your purview to ask for these files.

DICOM, or Digital Images and Communications in Medicine, data represents an open format which can be utilized by a range of medical systems.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging itself is amazing technology which uses a powerful magnetic field to react with the atoms of the human body to create a radio signal, and by shaping the resulting magnetic field, the MRI can map and capture the structure of the brain and its varying tissues and blood vessels.

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Baguley says converting the images for 3D printing can be done via a host of free and open source software such as Slicerweb, Osirix, 3DSlicer and Invesialus. He uses InVesalius in his tutorial, finding it the most simple package to take on the task.

His step-by-step description of the process results in an .STL file, but he says there’s a bit of work left to be done after that. He uses MeshLab to clean up model up prepare for printing.

Brain Scan 3D Print

Ultimately, Baguley printed out his version of his brain via Cura and a Lulzbot TAZ 5 printer.

“I was quite pleased with how my print turned out. The convoluted texture of my grey matter was well captured and printed on the top of the brain, but the similar texture on the side wasn’t quite as clear,” Baguley says of the finished article. “That’s probably because of the way the scan was processed. I could get more detail on the side by using other scans and combining the results.”

He adds that with a satisfactory 3D model complete, he may well print it in a flexible plastic or laser-cut it from wood to produce an interesting ornament…because what do you really do with a 3D printed brain?

“Now I have the 3D model, the possibilities are endless. I could print it in flexible plastic to give my cats an amusing toy,” Baguley suggests cheekily. “I could laser-cut it out in wood to produce an interesting ornament. Or I could do a small print to have available the next time someone asks to speak to the brains of this organization….”

Baguley has been writing about technology for more than 20 years and his credits include work in Wired, Macworld, USA Today and Reviewed.com. You can read the exceptionally detailed documentation Baguley created for his Brain Printing Project here on Hackaday.

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3dprint.com

by  | AUGUST 28, 2015

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3D printing on an inflatable substrate

http://3dprint.com/73830/3d-printing-on-inflatable/

Fergal Coulter

3D Printing on an Inflatable Substrate

Fergal Coulter is a lecturer and PhD candidate at the College of Art & Design and Built Environment at Nottingham Trent University. He has experience in the additive manufacture of tubular, dielectric, elastomer Minimum Energy Structures, cardiac assist devices, auxetic structures, soft robotics and printed electronics.

His latest project, 3D scanning and printing on inflated structures, uses multiple layers of hard silicone – Shore A 73 hardness to be precise – to create seamless, hexachiral structures on an inflated silicone balloon.

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The soft silicone is sprayed onto an air-permeable mandrel which is then inflated and 3D scanned. Those scans are used to calculate geometries for 3D printed forms which are then extruded on to the inflated mandrel using a much harder silicone. The specific geometries being printed are auxetic, ‘hexachiral honeycomb’ structures.

Such auxetic structures have the potential to be used in a wide range of applications from deployable and morphing structures to various medical treatments, soft robotics and artificial muscles.

In this particular case the structures are used to constrain some of the pre-stretch that is imparted in the balloon during inflation. The entire printed structure is to be used in artificial muscles (or more specifically ‘Dielectric Elastomer Actuators’) for in-vivo prosthetics. Rather than using a conventional external actuator of some sort, dielectric elastomers can be made to change form and size through the application of a voltage across a thin rubber membrane. Their efficiency is greatly increased if they are held in a stretched form.

The “auxetic hexachiral structures” can be tailored and tuned for a stiffness response, by varying material hardness, thickness or the tangent angle of the straight line ‘ligaments’.

When the extruded layers of silicone are cured, the balloon mandrel is deflated finally settling into what is termed a Minimum Energy Structure (MES).

Coulter is also working on what are called “smart aortic grafts,” which researchers hope can one day be implanted into a removed section of the ascending aorta to improve the heart’s efficiency. Using “smart materials” that expand when a voltage is applied to them, these origami-esque auxetic techniques can be made to collapse and expand.

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The idea is that the grafts will create a counter blood-flow by aping the ‘beating’ response of the heart out of phase with the diseased heart. As the heart fills with blood, the woven tube contracts to increase pressure in the heart. When the heart pumps oxygenated blood around the body, the tube is essentially stimulated to expand and release the pressure, thereby increasing blood flow.

Coulter and his fellow researchers use 3D printing techniques which can be tailored to a patient using MRI scan data.

Working with team leader “Dr Anton Ianakiev, Coulter says the findings are groundbreaking stuff which has the potential to be more effective than current therapies.

Can you think of any applications for this 3D printing on an inflatable substrate technique? Let us know in the Inflatable 3D Printing Substrate forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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3dprint.com

by  | JUNE 17, 2015