There is currently no published empirical evidence-base demonstrating 3D printing to be an accurate and reliable tool in forensic anthropology, despite 3D printed replicas being exhibited as demonstrative evidence in court. In this study, human bones (n = 3) scanned using computed tomography were reconstructed as virtual 3D models (n = 6), and 3D printed using six commercially available printers, with osteometric data recorded at each stage. Virtual models and 3D prints were on average accurate to the source bones, with mean differences from −0.4 to 1.2 mm (−0.4% to 12.0%). Interobserver differences ranged from −5.1 to 0.7 mm (−5.3% to 0.7%). Reconstruction and modeling parameters influenced accuracy, and prints produced using selective laser sintering (SLS) were most consistently accurate. This preliminary investigation into virtual modeling and 3D printer capability provides a novel insight into the accuracy of 3D printing osteological samples and begins to establish an evidence-base for validating 3D printed bones as demonstrative evidence.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Forensic Sciences|
|Early online date||8 Mar 2019|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2019|
Bibliographical noteThis is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium , provided the original work is properly cited.
- forensic science
- forensic anthropology
- 3D printing
- additive manufacturing
- computed tomography
- evidence reconstruction