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How to Print
a 3D Model

Step 1: Be sure the scan is an STL file for 3D printing

Once the patient has been scanned, be sure to save the scan as a STL file for printing. These steps may vary depending on the scanner software. Please review the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 2: Import the model

Once the model has been prepared, import the model STL file into the software associated with your 3D printer.

Tooth movement software will typically base and label models automatically as they are exported.  If the raw .STL files are not run through a tooth movement software, there are various other software programs that can assist in basing and labeling.  These include open source options (e.g. MeshMixer), digital workflow software (e.g. EasyRx), or some 3D printer software.

Step 3: Set the model to the build platform

Select the base of the model (bottom of the model for horizontal printing or back of the model distal to molars for vertical printing) and set it flat to your build platform to ensure the entire base of the model is flat to the platform. Rotate the platform and confirm that the base of the model is visible in its entirety.

Step 4: Orient the model

Orient the model on the build platform. If you are printing more than one model at a time, ensure that the models are not overlapping.

Step 5: Add supports to the model if needed

In the 3D printer software, select the model and click on the supports icon. Select the desired support options and apply them to the model. For printing dental models, this is rarely required.

Step 6: Print the model

In the printer settings, select the material resin and layer thickness you would like to use for the print job. Click on the print icon to send the models to be printed. If the printer is set up via an ethernet cord or wirelessly the print will be sent automatically. If not, save your model file to a USB for printing and directly place the USB in your 3D printer to start your print job.

Keep the AAO TechSelect How to Print a 3D Model Guide with you.

Learn more about the entire process.

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