Method and software product allowing for direct conversion of any three dimensional image (e.g., CT, MRI, ultrasound, PET, etc.) into 3D printable instructions (i.e., G-Code).
Medical Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) image files generated by CT or MRI scanners can be utilized to generate the instruction for 3D printers. However, the conventional method has several limitations such as significant user interaction, image manipulation, high processing time, and computer memory restrictions. The current method requires an intermediate step of converting DICOM files into StereoLithography (STL) format file before conversion into the G-code instructions readable by 3D printers. This leads to a loss of structural information.
Dr. Rajapakse at the University of Pennsylvania has developed computer code that converts DICOM to G-Code without going through STL conversation. This approach substantially reduces the time to obtain a 3D print, provides greater customizability - from changing print speeds to allowing for different extrusion amounts for either increased porosity or better adhesion to varying print paths.
The code accounts for parameters such as printer’s resolution and speed of the extruder and allows for choosing the method of printing, from linear, to any inputted angle rotation between each layer. This method can be used also for bioprinting for various applications, such as bone, cartilage, muscle tissue fabrication, etc. and can be utilized for convenient and rapid 3D printing of patient-specific structures.
Chamith Rajapakse, Ph.D.