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Printing your brain in 3D

by manuel on June 5th, 2015

So I’ve been doing some testing on our newly acquired CubeX 3D printer and had the idea to print a miniature of my brain.

Since I served as a control for one study, I had a great T1 scan from a 3T MRI. This scan had allready been processed by FreeSurfer, so all I had to do was convert the pial surfaces to an STL file. This is actually very simple, you just need to type into the terminal:

For more information on how to install and use FreeSurfer check out this post I wrote a while ago.

Now, there are different approaches on how to process the STL files for printing. Since we have a CubeX printer, I just opened the models in the CubeX software (its free), which asked me if I wanted to correct errors in the STL file (sure I did!). With the models loaded, I scaled them to 30% and positioned both sides on the board, medial face down, saving the result as a new STL file. I imagine this new, scaled version can be imported in any slicer software. I’ve been using KISSlicer with great results (much better prints than the CubeX software, more detailed and with better supports, you also don’t need to use the original $$$ cartridges!).

Since I printed in ABS, I did some postprocessing on the brain by leaving it for about 2h in acetone vapor.


This is the original FreeSurfer generated 3D model and the printed version.

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