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Experimental Validation of Plastic Mandible Models Produced by a “Low-Cost” 3-Dimensional Fused Deposition Modeling Printer

Federico Maschio, Mirali Pandya, Raphael Olszewski

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Cliniques Universitaires Saint Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium

Med Sci Monit 2016; 22:943-957

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.895656

Available online:

Published: 2016-03-22

BACKGROUND: The objective of this study was to investigate the accuracy of 3-dimensional (3D) plastic (ABS) models generated using a low-cost 3D fused deposition modelling printer.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Two human dry mandibles were scanned with a cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) Accuitomo device. Preprocessing consisted of 3D reconstruction with Maxilim software and STL file repair with Netfabb software. Then, the data were used to print 2 plastic replicas with a low-cost 3D fused deposition modeling printer (Up plus 2®). Two independent observers performed the identification of 26 anatomic landmarks on the 4 mandibles (2 dry and 2 replicas) with a 3D measuring arm. Each observer repeated the identifications 20 times. The comparison between the dry and plastic mandibles was based on 13 distances: 8 distances less than 12 mm and 5 distances greater than 12 mm.
RESULTS: The mean absolute difference (MAD) was 0.37 mm, and the mean dimensional error (MDE) was 3.76%. The MDE decreased to 0.93% for distances greater than 12 mm
CONCLUSIONS: Plastic models generated using the low-cost 3D printer UPplus2® provide dimensional accuracies comparable to other well-established rapid prototyping technologies.
Validated low-cost 3D printers could represent a step toward the better accessibility of rapid prototyping technologies in the medical field.

Keywords: Mandible - anatomy & histology, Costs and Cost Analysis, Models, Anatomic, Observer Variation, Plastics - chemistry, Printing, Three-Dimensional - economics, Reproducibility of Results