3D Printing My Teeth

As previously mentioned, I recently had a some dental issues and learned how to view a CT Scan in 3D using Linux.

At a hackathon last week, my friend Sidd brought along a 3D printer. How hard is it to convert a CT scan to a file suitable for printing? Slightly trickier than I expected! Most of the guides I found were outdated, or the software didn't work on Linux, or the instructions assumed a level of expertise that I just didn't possess.

So here's my simple guide to getting it working.

I used InVesalius 3 - specifically, the FlatPak version.

I opened the folder of .dcm files and loaded the record it found. From there, you can adjust the sensitivity of the mask.

InVesalius showing sliced data imported.

That shows the 3D version which you can interact with. Then the surface can be adjusted - for example to select the largest area, or other attributes.

InVesalius showing sliced surface in 3D.

Finally, the data can be exported to STL.

InVesalius showing the export screen.

Once exported, I opened it in Meshlab to view it.

Meshlab showing a close up of my teeth - there are some weird lumps.

You'll notice that there are still a few weird lumps in there. Ideally I'd find a decent 3D editor to smooth them out.

The Print

Sidd handled this for me. Rather than spending several hours printing a full-size model, we opted for a scaled down version which would print in about 45 minutes.

A tiny 3D printed Jaw.

After removing all the support material - it looked pretty cute!

Close up, maybe less so 😂

Slimy pink texture of a human jaw.


The resolution of a CT Scan isn't massive - 500x500px. So there will always be a limitation to the details it can pick out - and errors will creep in.

I don't have the skills to edit the file - but I suppose I can learn.

But, yeah, it's perfectly possible to convert CT Scans into physical objects.

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