Development of a Multi-Material 3D Printer for Functional Anatomic Models

Laszlo Jaksa, Dieter Pahr, Gernot Kronreif, Andrea Lorenz

Article ID: 420
Vol 7, Issue 4, 2021, Article identifier:420

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Anatomic models are important in medical education and pre-operative planning as they help students or doctors prepare for real scenarios in a risk-free way. Several experimental anatomic models were made with additive manufacturing techniques to improve geometric, radiological, or mechanical realism. However, reproducing the mechanical behavior of soft tissues remains a challenge. To solve this problem, multi-material structuring of soft and hard materials was proposed in this study, and a three-dimensional (3D) printer was built to make such structuring possible. The printer relies on extrusion to deposit certain thermoplastic and silicone rubber materials. Various objects were successfully printed for testing the feasibility of geometric features such as thin walls, infill structuring, overhangs, and multi-material interfaces. Finally, a small medical image-based ribcage model was printed as a proof of concept for anatomic model printing. The features enabled by this printer offer a promising outlook on mimicking the mechanical properties of various soft tissues.


Silicone 3D printing, Multi-material 3D printing, Anatomic models, Soft tissues

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