Fabrication – Wooden Brain

2014-05-03-01.25.54I recently visited Fablab Amersfoort for a course. We were asked to prepare a 2D or 3D design to try out the laser cutters, 3D printers, or other stuff they have available for use there.

I still had MRI scans of my own brain from an old research project. From this, I took one transversal and one sagittal slide, both roughly in the middle of the brain. I picked two coronal slides, one around the medulla and brain-stem and one a bit further back around the cerebellum.

The colors of the individual pictures were inverted so I had bitmap pictures of a black brain on a white background, and the contrast was upped so the bigger structures (like the ventricular system and the outer gyri & sulci) stood out better, all in GIMP. I then traced the brain in Inkscape with a red vector-graphical outline, and lastly added red bars with the same thickness of the material so the individual parts could be shoved into each other. I also created a small base, and ended up using an extra, thicker piece of wood that was left over from a different project to glue my thin base on.

The slides where cut out on a Morntech lasercutter, using Visicut, on 0,4 mm triplex. The bitmap images where burned into the surface with 200 dpi.Some measurements where a bit off, probably because I had to finish my design in a bit of a hurry on location, so I had to file some splits a bit deeper afterwards. I glued the bottom pieces to the base and the lower half of the coronal slide in the back to the transversal one, but otherwise the structure keeps itself together.

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