Home Applications & Case Studies Life-Size 3D Printed Brain Replica Based on MRI Data

Life-Size 3D Printed Brain Replica Based on MRI Data

Richmond-based maker Andrew Sink 3D printed a life-size replica of his brain after getting an MRI scan.

Based on data saved on a CD that was provided to him after the MRI, Andrew created a 3D model that was then 3D printed. “Living in the future is pretty cool, right?” he writes in his blog. We definitely agree!

Andrew used the following software: Blender, NetFabb and OsiriX. He explains that instead of Blender you could use any other CAD program as well. If you don’t use a Mac, there are apparently other free and open source DICOM (file format of MRI data) viewers for PCs.

After picking the best one of a group of scans saved on the CD, he used OsiriX to isolate the actual brain and remove skull, skin and eyes. The whole process took about an hour and the data was then exported as .STL file to be checked in NetFabb.

Using Blender, Andrew carefully removed any remaining floating bits that were not part of the brain. “… and it was delicate, time-consuming work,” he writes. With the help of 3D illustrator and artist Cindy Raggo the model was finalised and 3D printed on an UP!Box. With a medium-low resolution of 0.2 mm it took 49 hours to print.


If you don’t fancy doing all the work yourself you can also turn to Brainform, a New Zealand-based company that turns your MRI data into 3D printed sculptures.

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