Extract and Print your Brain in 3D

You know, I’ve never really understood what the whole zombie/brain thing is all about. If you had to extract and have a look at your brain, I would have hoped there would be an easier (and less painful) way to do it. Well now thanks to the zombie stopping power of 3D printing, there is…

Brain 3D Printed

You may think I’m taking the joke too far but it is actually true. imgr user ‘intrb’ has posted a step by step guide to do just this.

As with any medical procedure, there is a checklist to tick off before you begin, you will need: a 3D printer, a high quality anatomical MRI scan of your head, a decent computer, Meshlab software, FreeSurfer software, to be happy using terminal commands in Mac OSX or Linux. They don’t mention a brain anywhere but I assume that’s a given.

Essentially, the whole process revolves around obtaining a decent MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scan of your head (or a friend’s) and extracting the appropriate data as a printable file. But if you don’t have one of your own, asking around a local, friendly university department should prove fruitful. Luckily if you can’t find an MRI scan of your own, the FreeSurfer software comes with high quality test data you can use and reliably print.

The FreeSurfer software is very powerful having been developed at Harvard University in the US to help visualize and analyse brain imaging data. The computation required to produce a printable STL file can take up to 2 days to process – longer, if you run into problems.

3D mesh editor Meshlab

Once you have your STL file it should look like a brain and be ready to print, but you may have to reduce the number of faces in your model to below 20000 with the ever-useful 3D mesh editor, Meshlab.

Now the fun begins. With your newly exported and reduced brain model, you can begin the printing process. Barring any issues with intersecting faces you should, within a few hours, have a scale model of your brain in your hands.

I suggest starting with the Free Surfer Beginners Guide and persevering because once printed, you will have a very unique piece that you can show off to friends and family or use to distract the rampaging zombie hoard while you run off in the opposite direction!

intrb’s imgr post


Beginner’s Guide