Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol 2020; 33(04): 267-273
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1708525
Original Research
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Qualitative Assessment of Four Types of Three-Dimensional Printed Anatomical Tibial Bone Models Compared to Commercially Available Models

1  Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States
Cassandra D. Foster
2  School of Engineering Technology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States
Davin H. Huston
2  School of Engineering Technology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, United States
› Author Affiliations
Funding The study was conducted using the faculty research funds of Sarah Malek.
Further Information

Publication History

05 July 2019

09 February 2020

Publication Date:
13 April 2020 (online)


Objective The aim of this study was to compare technical and physical features of four three-dimensional printed bone models used for teaching purposes to commercial models.

Study Design A canine tibia was imaged using computed tomography and used for model development. Tibial models were printed using Resin, polylactide acid (PLA), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and high-impact polystyrene (HIPS). They were compared with two commercial models (SAWBONES 2117 and 2108). Models were drilled in three locations and then cut transversely. Subjective quality of models, time and cost of production were compared.

Results Print time was approximately 3 hours for Resin and 4 hours for each of the PLA, ABS and HIPS models. Unlike the Resin and SAWBONES, the PLA, HIPS and ABS had higher heat generation during both drilling and cutting with mild construct deformation at cut surfaces in ABS and PLA models. Characteristics of real bone during drilling and cutting were best simulated in decreasing order by Resin, PLA, ABS and HIPS followed by SAWBONES 2117 and 2108 models. Material costs were $14.6 (Resin), $0.48 (PLA/ABS), $1.52 (HIPS), $23.50 and $17.50 for SAWBONES 2117 and 2108 per model, respectively. Resin performed best and had the closest subjective tactile properties to real bone.

Conclusion The three-dimensional printed tibial bone models provide a cost-effective alternative to commercially available bone models in veterinary medicine as teaching models.

Authors' Contributions

Sarah Malek and Davin H. Huston contributed to conception of study and study design. All authors contributed to model production, model testing and interpretation of the data. Sarah Malek contributed to the funding of the project. All authors contributed to the collection and assembly of data, whereas Sarah Malek and Davin H. Huston contributed to administrative support. All authors contributed to the preparation and approval of the manuscript.