Feb 27, 2014

How to create model for 3d printing from CT or MRI data with open source 3D Slicer

This very detailed tutorial was prepared by Nabgha Farhat, Brigham and Women's Hospital. It describes, step-by-step how to extract specific data form CT scan and convert them into format from which it can be 3d printed. She isolated portions of the mandibular bone and the temporal bone for the model. Freee and open-source Slicer software was used.
Data was acquired with:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cone_beam_computed_tomography

Tutorial has several chapters:
  1. Introduction to the 3D Slicer interface
  2. Loading data
  3. Volume rendering and cropping
  4. Creating label maps
  5. Creating surface models
  6. Saving data in file formats appropriate for 3D printing
Link to Slicer:



Slicer is a free, open source software package for visualization and image analysis. 3D Slicer is natively designed to be available on multiple platforms, including Windows, Linux and Mac Os X.

Luis Ibanez made a post on KitWare blog, describing the process of actually printing this object:


For other medical field 3d printing applications see:




BTW: yes, you can 3d print your own skull if you have a CT scan of it ...


Here is Reddit thread on how to make 3d models from MRI data which has more methods beside this one more specific for MRI and DCIM images:


Update 2 (5.10.2014.):

Here is another video tutorial by Oliver Krohn on how to convert DICOM CT or MRI images into 3d printable models. It uses different software tools.
Preparing DICOM images (CT/MRT) for 3d printing using Seg3D, Imagevis3D (University of Utah, CIBC) and Meshmixer. 
Seg3D offers the advantage to apply filters, but it's not absolutely necessary. Imagevis3D can load DICOM stacks as well and the rendered isosurface may be exported as mesh directly. In this video I used the gaussian filter of Seg3D to smooth the model a little bit. 
Software Downloads:


here is a tutorial on how to design and 3d print a custom trachea stent from CT data:


Here are some 3d printed prototypes in common plastics from the tutorial above: