In this mini project students will design a custom cranial implant to fit a fixed hole in a skull, then they will slice and 3D print the model. The project has been designed to be delivered over two lessons, the first lesson focusing on CAD and the second lesson focusing on CAM.

In the first lesson, students will use Fusion 360 to design a custom cranial implant to repair a hole in a skull. A Fusion 360 template file has been provided containing a 50% scale model of the skull as a reference and an implant model for customisation.

In the second lesson, students will be introduced to the model slicing and 3D printing process. They will explore and learn the main functions of the Cura slicing software, then they will slice and prepare their cranial implant model for 3D printing.

Resources

This project contains a number of resources to download including:

  • An editable CAD lesson presentation.
  • A student worksheet for the CAD lesson.
  • An editable CAM lesson presentation.
  • Two Cura student worksheets for use in the CAM lesson.
  • A template Fusion 360 file for the students to use when designing their cranial implant.
  • A 50% scale skull model STL and an example cranial implant STL file. These can be 3D printed as a example visual aid. Students can then test their own implant models (which will also print at 50% scale if using the template file) in the example skull to see if they were successful in designing an implant that fits.

In addition to this, students will require an Ultimaker Robot STL model file for the Cura activity used in the CAM lesson, this can be downloaded free of charge from here.

In The Classroom

This project is suitable for complete beginners with no experience of 3D printing as it introduces CAD/CAM and the 3D printing process, however it could be adapted easily for more experienced users and even potentially condensed into a single lesson.

As the project is based on a science/medicine theme, it makes a great STEM project, so could be delivered as a STEM club activity. It could be expanded to allow students to investigate and learn more about cranial implants and incorporate more of a scientific element. Alternatively it could be combined into a single half day session for a STEM day. The CREATE Education Project recently delivered this activity successfully as part of a Year of Engineering STEM Event to 48 Year 8 students from 4 schools. View the case study here.