The What, Why, How?

3D Printing in the Classroom

You may have stumbled upon our blog and came face to face with a lot of questions. First and foremost being, what is our project all about? Well, let us tell you…



Understanding the brain is one of the ultimate challenges of the 21st century. However, the brain is not easily accessible, either literally or figuratively. This project will utilise 3D printing to reproduce brain models from a wide range of animals, thus making them become accessible, visible and touchable to UWA students and to the broader community, nationally and internationally.

This blog will walk you through the entire process of creating a 3D printable object, including tissue acquisition and preparation, bioimaging, digital segmentation and mesh development, and 3D printing.



Brains of different animals are unique and possess extraordinary natural variation that reflects the functional requirements of an animal’s nervous system and therefore gives important insights into ecology and evolution.

By incorporating our geometrically accurate brain collection into courses here at UWA, students can handle, assess and measure neural characteristics in a range of animals, reducing the need to sacrifice new animals and improving ongoing conservation efforts for rare and endangered species.



In this project,we’re using an unparalleled collection of preserved animal brains that has been collected by Our Team at UWA and make them accessible by scanning them using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at the Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis (CMCA) and then 3D printing them in The School of Mechanical and Chemical Engineering.

We’ve been working hard to  obtain high-resolution MRI scans of selected animal brains currently in our collection. This selection includes brains from rodents, marsupials, birds, reptiles and fishes (stay tuned for sneak peaks!). Our group has extensive experience in the imaging of non-mammalian tissue. Imaging of the brain of each specimen has been performed on an ARC LIEF-funded Bruker 9.4 Tesla small animal scanner, operated at CMCA. Then, we can digitally segment the MRI data and create a file that’s suitable for printing here on campus. We plan to walk you through every step of the process on this blog and give you the inside scoop on how we make it happen!

Can’t wait for our blog posts to start rolling out? Start with our latest video on the motivation behind this exciting project!


Want to learn more about our Team of Researchers? Meet them here.
Wondering what courses our technology is contributing to? Read more here.

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