Convert an ultrasound image to an STL file?

How to convert an Ultrasound image to an STL print file?

An article explaining the general steps to get from an ultrasound image to a print STL.
Image conversion by BabySliceO

Ultrasound image converted in the software BabySliceO

3dprintedultrasounds has been in business for several years. During this time one of the most posed questions has been, "how to convert an ultrasound image to an STL to print it in 3D?". The questions itself is easy to answer. We sell you a perfect little software and with this software, you can convert the Ultrasound file to a printable STL and also clean it up. Myself I have done thousands of these conversions over the past years. But, I must admit that initially, it feels difficult but when you have done some 20 or 30 conversions and clean-ups than you start to get the feeling for it.

However,  this is only half of the solution to the needs of the client. The software BabySliceO is indeed a wonderful piece of software. It is pretty easy to work with once you get the hang of it and it does the trick. The main problem lies in the fact that most of the ultrasound specialists do not get trained in creating the necessary files that the software needs. Additionally, the multitude of different software and ultrasound models does not make this any easier either. Therefore I decided to create a short article on the main steps to come from the ultrasound image to the necessary volume file needed by our software BabySliceO.

What can the software convert?

BabySliceO can convert so-called 3D volume files. Does it convert all 3D volume files? No, it converts primarily the volume files of most GE Ultrasound models. For these machines, the extension is a .vol. Additionally, a DICOM containing the 3D dataset can be converted when using a GE Ultrasound machine. The second main brand would be Samsung/Medison Ultrasound Models. The main extension for this type of ultrasound is a .mvl. The third brand that the software can convert without any issues would be Philips Ultrasound. For this brand, the file extension would be .dcm or a so-called DICOM with the 3D datasets included. A DICOM without the 3D dataset will contain exactly 1 slice of the ultrasound. A complete list can be found here.

How to save ultrasound data in the right format?

The basic steps are on most ultrasound machines:

  1. The ultrasound technician makes a 3D static session.
    • The quality needs to be at high2. Take care to acquire some nice frontal sonograms of the baby during the 3D Ultrasound session.
    • DO NOT ZOOM IN ON THE BABY, or use magic cut or any other software to alter the image!
    • 3D static gives the best results. The resolution of the images is much higher than during a 4D session.
  2. Look at the images afterward and select the nicest 3D acquisition of the baby.
  3. Export the file to a volume file such as a .mvl or a.vol file. When not possible export as DICOM with the 3D dataset. Never use any compression on the file.

Is this the same for all ultrasound machines?

Image conversion by BabySliceO

Ultrasound image converted in the BabySliceO software

Unfortunately, there are very many models and different type of software application packages installed globally. Therefore, there is no one-solution-fits-all. The ultrasound specialist should always look through the manual. With particular interest should be looked at the "save an image" in 3D sections and the export of the 3D images. Some ultrasound machines require no change in the settings when saving images.

For example GE Voluson E6 till E10, these machines save automatically the volumes and they can be exported pretty easily. Find a short instruction manual here. Older GE machines, such as the 730, often require you to save the image as a volume after the acquisition before exporting.

Most Samsung/Medison Ultrasound machines always require that you save the image as a volume after the acquisition. Without doing this extra step after an image has been acquired there is no export as a volume option. Find a short instruction manual here.

Other companies, however, do not make it this easy. 3dprintedultrasounds can assist you only on GE and Samsung/Medison. For all other brands, it is best to look through your manual to check if your machine is saving the volumes and how it can be exported. Additionally, contact your distributor to seek help.

3D Printed Baby Model through 3D Printed Ultrasounds

To satisfy the most demanding parents ultrasound clinics can offer their clients an additional product, a 3D printed baby. Not the 2D to 3D rendered images but the real thing, a 3D baby based on the actual ultrasound data. Sirbonu is offering ultrasound clinics and parents that are interested in this product the possibility to have their 3D static ultrasounds converted into a 3D file. With prices as low as 25 Euro for a 3D file, the 3D baby comes into reach of a larger audience. The only thing needed is a volume file or DICOM file of the static 3D from the ultrasound machine. All ultrasound machines are capable of making these kinds of files. The client gets an STL file with their baby in 3D and can decide to either just keep it in digital format as a photo or to have it printed in any material they like. For more information please visit our website.

Feel free to contact me at pietro(at) for more information or for a price offer. Please note that this service is available globally in any country/region where currently there are no partners using our software. When your country or region has a partner we will refer you to our partners.

Pietro Usai

General Manager

Sirbonu OÜ

Sirbonu OÜ is the official EMEA distributor of TOMOVISION BabySliceO ultrasound conversion software. This press release is a commercial message and reflects the view of the writer. Sirbonu OÜ does not advocate nor support the extended usage times of 3D ultrasound for emotional purposes.

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Pietro Usai MBA Cum Laude