Student uses 3-D printing to help research

This 3-D model of a dog's skull helped a university veterinarian determine how much growth on the dog's jaw would need to be removed. (Photo Courtesy of K-State News and Communications Services)

K-State student, Kelsey Castinado, graduate student in interior architecture and product design, used 3-D printing to help the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Castinado used CT scans of animal bones and turned them into 3-D prints. The prints are used for teaching and even help find better ways to treat animals. The project was part of Castinado’s Developing Scholars Program project for 2014-15.

Castinado’s mentor, Dustin Headley, assistant professor of interior architecture and product design, was already researching 3-D printing when Castinado asked him to be her mentor on the project.

“I knew that for my third year I wanted to change my research a little bit since I had been doing mostly architecture-based research,” Castinado said to K-State News and Communication Services. “I thought product design-based research would be a little bit more interesting, so I asked (Headley) if he needed any help with his research and if he would like to mentor me in the Developing Scholars Program.”

The Developing Scholars Program pairs students with faculty mentors to work on research.

Castinado worked with CT scans provided by the veterinary school to create the 3-D models.

“The digital CT scan files are just a lot of small, chopped up pieces of the bone image,” Castinado said to K-State News and Communications Services. “I use a 3-D modeling software to make all those pieces into a whole. I also have to take away all the extra fragments that are attached to the bone so that when it is 3-D printed, it will look like a bone.”

Walter Renberg, professor of clinical sciences and head of small animal surgery at the Veterinary Health Center, told K-State News and Communication Services that Castinado and Headley’s work has been beneficial.

“While Kansas State University is not the first to use 3-D printing in veterinary medicine, we’ve thought about doing so for awhile,” Renberg said. “It helps us with a couple of things clinically, particularly with bone deformities… For example, when planning a surgery to correct a deformity or even determining whether such a surgery is necessary, the model can help us determine the right surgical approach or come up with less expensive alternatives to certain procedures.”

The 3-D prints have enabled community members to use the veterinary services and save money, but they are also helpful in the classroom. Renberg and Headley are researching the possible advantages of 3-D printing for teaching.

“We are looking into the ability to explore soft tissues in 3-D at scale, such as tumors and vascular systems,” Headley said. “Such models would have potential to assist in teaching procedures, too.”

The 3-D printing could enable the College of Veterinary Medicine to preform more accurate procedures, which has kept costs down for patients.

My name is Jamie Teixeira and I am a senior English and journalism with a minor in Leadership. I am the president of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society, a tutor at the K-State Writing Center,and a member of the K-State Tap Dance Ensemble. My future plans are to become an editor or publisher of children's literature. Outside of school I love to read and cuddle with my kitten, Bert.