Adventures in 3D Printing: Jawbone Edition

image004Until fairly recently, I was not familiar with 3D printing technology.  Now I encounter daily news stories and articles about 3D printing in healthcare, at colleges and universities, and even the growth of maker fairs and the maker movement.

This year I was fortunate enough to attend training sessions and assist the Bay Shore Library staff in implementing 3D printing into two courses.  Through these course projects, I have learned a great deal about 3D printing technology and the world of 3D design.

Which brings me to these photographs: Pictured are two jaw bones, the jaw on the left, used by anatomy students studying facial structures, and the white jaw on the right, a replication of the jaw, created with an iPad (borrowed from the Bay Shore campus library!), free computer software and printed in the library.image002Initially, I was skeptical of the notion that a 3D design file could be created using photographs, especially given my attempts to use CAD programs to create these files, which can be quite overwhelming and complicated.  I am glad to report that the first trial was a success!  Here is a bit about the process:

In order to replicate the jaw, a few different software programs were necessary (all of which are free):

Here is one of the 64 photos – notice the newspaper, which is used to help the computer program stich together all of the images.

Once these programs were downloaded (Thank you IT Department for your patience!), I watched several video tutorials that deconstructed the replication process, including steps required for editing the design file, as well as best practices for photographing an object.

For this trial, a total of 64 photographs were used from various perspectives around the object. The app was incredibly helpful during the photography stage of this project, as it provided a guide for how many photos to take, when, and from what angle.

These photos were then uploaded to cloud computing software to merge them and create a 3D image files.  After a few unsuccessful attempts to edit, I eventually was able to ‘clean up’ the file, import the .stl into MakerbotDesktop and begin printing!


This jaw trial has inspired me with a great number of ideas for new projects that involve 3D printing technology.  It has also humbled my success in that it realized that we have only scratched the surface of the use of this technology, and we hope to continue to grow and keep up with new trends in 3D technology and their implications of higher education and the health science fields.  If you have any ideas, please feel free to contact us with your suggestions!

Contributed by: Rachel Oleaga, Librarian, Bay Shore


One thought on “Adventures in 3D Printing: Jawbone Edition

  1. Michoel Rotenfeld June 1, 2016 / 11:41 am

    Wow! That’s amazing!

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