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A multi-material ear canal model was designed and created from CT scans of an actual patient. This ear canal model serves as a training model for trainees, surgeons and doctors to develop a better understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the ear by physically looking, touching and testing the model. The major task taken was to establish and identify the area of interest provided with the files of medical scans by using 3D Slicer. The files were then converted to a stereolithographic (STL) file where it was able to be edited for smoothing in programs such as Meshmixer or MeshLab in order to 3D print a high quality model that could be used effectively. An operate model was obtained that satisfied the given need for ideal surgical training purposes; where the design is composed of a two piece multi-material model – the outer ear is flexible and the inner ear canal is rigid. A replicated membrane is attached to the end of the inner ear canal to represent the tympanic membrane. Lastly, the entire model is mounted on a magnetic stand that has a 360° rotation for trainees or doctors to adjust for ideal positioning.

This project was very informative; while being educated on the current health needs, we were also able to serve the local physicians by producing the requested devices. The ear canal model is ready to use and can be used for a pre-surgery mechanism to allow for resourceful practice. Trainees in particular who are just beginning to learn can take advantages of using this model. Common type of surgery performed includes Otitis Media with effusion (OME), which is the accumulation of fluid buildup, often in the middle of the ear, with no sign or other symptoms of an ear infection. Roughly about two million cases of otitis media with effusion occur annually in the United States

Publication Date



Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Nuclear Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Hong Zhao

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

May 2018

3D Printed Ear Canal Model