Find out more about the Wellcome Image Awards as well as Wellcome Images, the image library behind the Awards.

3D printing

Three-dimensional printing is a process used to convert 3D computer models into 3D objects. The 3D computer images are separated into hundreds of 2D cross-sectional layers, which are printed on top of one another using molten plastic or powder rather than ink. The layers are then fused together using adhesives or ultraviolet (UV) light.

3D printing from medical data

Images produced during medical scans – such as those that use computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or diffusion tractography – can be converted into 3D-printer-compatible files using computer software. These digital files can then be used to print accurate models of body parts and even custom-made splints and medical devices.


2017 Wellcome Image Award winner: Vessels of a healthy mini-pig eye
Credit: Peter M Maloca, OCTlab at the University of Basel and Moorfields Eye Hospital, London; Christian Schwaller; Ruslan Hlushchuk, University of Bern; Sébastien Barré



2017 Wellcome Image Award winner: Language pathways of the brain
Credit: Stephanie J Forkel and Ahmad Beyh, Natbrainlab, King's College London; Alfonso de Lara Rubio, King's College London