3D printed Anatomical model of a skeletal human foot

Originally i got this idea after a injury my dad got into where he tore a ligament in his ankle and had to get surgery. Coming up with the idea of a unique gift for the doctor and a challenge for myself. I decided to make a model of the skeletal foot.

Getting started

Instead of making a model from scratch due to time constraints I decided to dig through Thingiverse. After some time I found the model made by DrGlassDPM which allowed me to save a tremendous amount of time. One of the biggest issues with this model is that none of the bones were saved as separate models, just one whole foot model.

Modifying the model

Using the model DrGlassDPM made I opened it up in MeshMixer to separate each bone then save them as the corresponding bone name. Once finished none of the models were scaled to the right size. This gave me the opportunity to use my own foot as a reference model. Here’s the thing about that though, I do not have an average foot size I wear a size 15 male. Definitely made for a larger then average model.


Printing the models

Now for the challenging part, I began to print it out the endless list of models out of white PLA at a 0.22mm layer height.  The print took a total of two days to complete for all the prints, the most challenging bone to print was the Cuboid due to its size and weird overhangs.

Connecting the bones

Having all the models printed it was time to connect each one, this mode wasn’t modeled for this functionality so I decided to go with it and drill 10mm holes in the end of each bone to glue disc magnets into to hold them together. This allowed the model to be separated and if you wanted it could be treated like a puzzle or to analyze a specific bone.

Now that the model was complete, holes drilled it was ready to go, or was it? I lifted the model up and realized one of most prevailing problems was the strength the model would require to hold it up with the magnets. I decided to re-position the magnets making more room for them to get contact with the connecting bone. Once this was done it was ready to go.

Final thoughts

fully constructed the modeled foot with removable bones was done. For the low cost and ease of production it was a great learning experience overall. Is it worth it for the price cost compared to other available models? In my mind, most likely not. This alternative was a fun project more than anything but it is still a cheaper method which was the goal in my challenge.

Total time took about a week to complete accounting for trial and error in printing, drilling holes for magnets and fixing the design. Cost was around a low price of $17.50. Not bad, If I had the chance to do it again I would only make it smaller to match a more average foot.


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