I. Image acquisition
Images are ideally acquired by computerized tomography though MRI can be used. The image quality will dictate the quality of the final print. Images should be acquired with the smallest slice thickness possible (<1mm ideal) without sacrifice resolution. Ideally the animal is position in the anatomic place for it to be stabilized should a spanning prosthetic or jig print be made. Images should be saved in DICOM format and exported to an individual folder. They can be uploaded via dropbox and shared with 3Dveterinaryprinting@gmail.com.
II. Image processing
The DICOM images are converted into a manifold stereolithography file. Through post processing the images are thresholded to identify the tissue of interest (in most cases bone). They are then segmented to removed all extraneous parts. This can require multiple software programs. For standard anatomic models the manifold is checked for error and then is ready for print. Surgical jigs, external coaptation and prosthetics required more engineering. For jigs, an interdigitating surface with the bone is created ideal and drill/saw trajectory planes identified. Prosthetics and splints are put through biomechanical simulations.
III. PRINT PROCESS
Images are uploaded into a proprietary “G-Slicer” program to teach the computer how to build the print. Our prints are made in a stereolithograph printer. This means that the prints are created out of a methacrylate resin, similar to PMMA used in surgical orthopedics.
We have several print materials at our disposal.
Have a custom model that needs printing?