Multi-Material 3D Printing: Bone Cross Sections
W3 Design Group came to Forge Labs with scan data and a challenge - 3D printing bone scans showing the effects of low gravity on bone density for Health in Space: Daring to Explore, a long term exhibit at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum.
Since the parts were meant to be tactile, the parts needed to be robust enough to stand up to frequent rough handling by atendees.
The scan data presented a unique problem - since the delicate features would not survive rough handling if printed as-is, they needed to be suspended in a durable, transparent material that would protect them.
First, the inverse of the supplied model was produced by our design team, leaving 1mm of 'bone' exposed on the upper surface - enough for antendees to feel the texture, but not enough that it would be fragile.
Print Preview in GrabCAD
Technology used for this project
Then, the two 3D models were printed in a single piece using our advanced Polyjet multi-material printing, which allowed us to simultaneously print in Rigur for the bone and VeroClear for the transparent 'marrow'.
With 3D printing, the base could be designed to closely mimic the shape of the upper bone, and 'keyed' to ensure that the parts would not detach even if struck horizontally. Fused Deposition Modelling was selected as a durable, affordable choice.
To ensure a firm connection to the exhibit, heat-sunk inserts were installed into the base per the specifications provided.