3D printing is poised to be a major advance in anatomy education. This is largely because anatomy educators can now produce high-quality bespoke models using commercially available 3D scanners. In our Journal of Anatomy article we show how these technologies can be used to produce relatively inexpensive anatomical replicas.
Thomas DB et al. (2016). 3D scanning and printing skeletal tissues for anatomy education. Journal of Anatomy doi: 10.1111/joa.12484.
We demonstrate these techniques using two specimens that are commonly used in anatomy education: the skeleton of a frog and the chondrocranium of a dogfish.
Spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) chondrocranium (i.e. head cartilage) showing some anatomical features. A 3D print-ready model is available for download.
Anatomical features in the dogfish chondrocranium that are identifiable in the 3D digital model. The original list of features is from De Iuliis & Pulera The Dissection of Vertebrates: A Laboratory Manual, 2nd ed. Academic Press (2010) .
Features: Abducens foramina, Antorbital processes, Antorbital shelves, Basal plate, Basitrabecular processes, Carotid foramen, Foramen magnum, Nares, Occipital condyles, Oculomotor foramina, Optic foramen, Orbit, Otic capsules, Perilymphatic foramina, Postorbital processes, Precerebral cavity, Rostral carina, Rostral fenestrae, Rostrum, Superficial ophthalmic foramina, Supraorbital crest, Vagus foramina.
Figures mapping the anatomical features to the chodrocranium can be found in Thomas DB et al. (2016). 3D scanning and printing skeletal tissues for anatomy education. Journal of Anatomy doi: 10.1111/joa.12484. This article can be made available to educators on request from Dr Daniel Thomas.
Dogfish are small sharks with a nearly worldwide distribution and a long history in anatomical education. The cartilaginous skull (chondrocranium) of the spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias)
provides insight into the evolutionary precursors for bony skulls. For example, by studying the shark chondrocranium students discover that the orbit, occipital condyles and other anatomical features are homologous to structures in the skulls of tetrapods
We scanned a dogfish chondrocranium with a SLS-2 structured light scanner (DAVID Vision Systems GmbH, Koblenz, Germany) that included a 1280 x 960 pixel CMOS monochrome camera (DAVID-CAM-3.1-M;DAVID Vision Systems) and a K132+ DLP projector (Acer Incorpo-rated, New Taipei City, Taiwan).
The chodrocranium has an anterior to posterior length of 98 mm.
3D scanning produced a high quality replica of the original cartilaginous structure.The rostrum, orbit, occiptal region and other larger-scale features are all well-resolved and distinct. Many finer-scale features are also well-resolved (e.g. perilymphatic foramina) but some features are not distinguishable in the digital model (e.g.endolymphatic foramina) . Poorly resolved features in the 3D digital model tend to have low relief in the physical specimen.
The dogfish chondrocranium model is freely available for download and use in anatomy education.
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Where to download
A 3D print-ready version of the chondrocranium model in .obj format is available from two sources.
Journal of Anatomy
Supporting information to: Thomas DB et al. (2016). 3D scanning and printing skeletal tissues for anatomy education. Journal of Anatomy doi: 10.1111/joa.12484.
The model can be downloaded from the NZ Fauna collection on Sketchfab.com.