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convert CT- or MRI-scan with 2D DICOM files to STL and gcode

By pieter on Sat 21 Sep 2013 16:08:04


use invesalius to open the scan and export as stl use Cura and an ultimaker to print




Training time: 
Step by step instructions: 

-Choose the fastest computer available, some of the actions take some processing

-Download invesalius;


-start InVesalius

-import medical images; select the DVD-rom drive or the top folder(it might be faster to save the files to your local drive before importing, the software automatically imports all the DICOM files, this might take a minute(my ct scan has 1200files)

-select your data set, in the next screen you see the task panel on the left with the steps you have to go through to get a 3D model.

We finished the first step: “Load data”

-step2. “Select region of interest'' you can create multiple masks which can show different types of tissue, in step3I created a bone and a skin model. You can also manually select which values of gray you want to use, between -1024 and 255 In the 4 windows on the right you can see the slices from the top in red(axial), from the front in green(coronal) and from the side in blue(sagittal). You can scroll through the images in every window to see what you have selected. You can create multiple surfaces which you can select in the bottom of the task-bar

-click create surface to render the bottom right window with the 3D model(Volume)

-step4 export data either 2D or 3D

make sure you selected the correct surface and export as STL

Now that you got a STL of your data you can play with it in most 3D modeling software.

-download the last version of Cura and open the STL

Cura can manage the large STL files better than the other file types, I could print the skull immediate, but to print the skin I had to switch to go to tools=>full settings and try the fix horrible options in the expert settings

I scaled it down to 3cm because it takes to long to print it bigger and you can see enough detail on the model. I am not sure if the STL is real size, probably not more than 10% off






1. the first prints of the skin failed, it looked fine in cura but the line was to thin so he just printed the skull with some extra drops, after using the fix horrible settings i was able to print it

2. the top 2mm of the skull were ugly untill I changed the setting of  infill in expert settings to solid infill top with a

Further developments: 

I only used my ct, I hope to get a mri of a backbone soon