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The NIH 3D Printing Exchange: a virtual collection of biomedical 3D printing files and tutorials

Thursday, November 07, 2013 — Poster Session II

12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

FAES Academic Center (Upper-Level Terrace)




  • M.F. Coakley
  • M.N. Weber
  • E. Fincher
  • J. Swan
  • D. Chen
  • T. Yoo
  • D.E. Hurt


3D printing technology is widely used in industry to build prototypes, but has only recently become mainstream. 3D prints have proven their value in classroom-based instruction and biomedical research and communication, but much of their potential is unrealized. Though a few scientific models are available online, the expertise required to generate and validate such models remains a barrier. We will fill this gap by creating the NIH 3D Printing Exchange: an open, comprehensive, and interactive website for searching, browsing, downloading, and sharing biomedical 3D print files, modeling tutorials, and educational material. The content is directed toward three demographics: primary and secondary school educators looking for hands-on teaching aids, such as cells and sub-cellular compartments, larger anatomical features, and molecular structures like DNA; scientific or clinical researchers and investigators seeking specialized models to visualize existing problems and spark ideas leading to new discoveries; and speakers looking for ways to engage an audience. Our team of collaborators from NIAID, NICHD, and NLM already has more than 100 ready-to-print models to populate the website, created by biomedical illustrators or directly from experimental data and medical images. We aim to use HHSignite support to realize the full potential of the NIH 3D Printing Exchange.

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