3D Printing of CT Dataset: Validation of an Open Source and Consumer-Available Workflow

J Digit Imaging. 2016 Feb;29(1):14-21. doi: 10.1007/s10278-015-9810-8.


The broad availability of cheap three-dimensional (3D) printing equipment has raised the need for a thorough analysis on its effects on clinical accuracy. Our aim is to determine whether the accuracy of 3D printing process is affected by the use of a low-budget workflow based on open source software and consumer's commercially available 3D printers. A group of test objects was scanned with a 64-slice computed tomography (CT) in order to build their 3D copies. CT datasets were elaborated using a software chain based on three free and open source software. Objects were printed out with a commercially available 3D printer. Both the 3D copies and the test objects were measured using a digital professional caliper. Overall, the objects' mean absolute difference between test objects and 3D copies is 0.23 mm and the mean relative difference amounts to 0.55 %. Our results demonstrate that the accuracy of 3D printing process remains high despite the use of a low-budget workflow.

Keywords: Computer-aided design; Dimensional measurement accuracy; Imaging three-dimensional; Multidetector computed tomography; Printing.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Design
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional / instrumentation
  • Printing, Three-Dimensional / standards*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Software
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Workflow