Pulteney Grammar has a 3D printer, think of an old dot matrix printer. But instead of printing a single line and then the paper moving down and slowly building up a 2D picture or text; it prints a 2D outline in plastic, then moves down, prints another outline, moves down and slowly builds up a whole 3D model.
This is not new and there are many schools that are using their 3D printers for CAD and design. Pulteney has used the printer to make a class set of brains. These brains are taken from an MRI scan and put together in a 3D package by Christoph Klein (Germany) and downloaded from Thingiverse.com (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:169184)
These brains are really good. I printed on a Makerbot Replicator 2 with glow in the dark PLA at 240C. I have found that the hotter temperature on my machine is more stable. Printed four at a time on low quality 0.34mm with rafting and supports and took 6 hours to build 4 and remove the supportive structure. It was mesmerising to watch as the internal structure was also created during the build, but this cannot be seen in the final product. I plan on stopping the build at different points so students can see the brain structure inside.
We printed 25 brains, each one fits inside the palm of your hand and gave them to each student. We could also keep them as a class set for looking at during lessons, but for our senior students they are able to put them in their pencil cases and take them out when we go over different structures of the brain.
The final product after removing the supports is very good detail (MRI scan) including the way the brain folds, the cerebellum and brain stem, even up to the hypothalamus and I think the pineal glands, but this may just be some of the supportive structure that has been removed.
Pulteney Grammar School, Adelaide, South Australia