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Lumbar model is an artificial bone that is commonly used in surgical training to simulate working with the human-like bone for the trainer. The common lumbar model is made of rigid polyurethane (PU) foam and is produced using casting. However, the current lumbar model is expensive and has limitations in representing the real human lumbar, especially in geometry, visuals, and haptics. Therefore, an alternative method of fabricating lumbar models made of rigid polyurethane for surgical training using indirect additive manufacturing will be investigated in this paper. The proposed indirect additive manufacturing is a combination of 3D printing and casting methods. The main process of this method is started by fabricating a mold made of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) using fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing and subsequently casting PU foam material into the 3D printed PVA mold. Accordingly, the aim of this study is to find the optimized casting process parameters, especially for injecting the material into the mold, to achieve a better quality of lumbar model. The study was conducted using a Design of Experiment (DoE) Taguchi Orthogonal Array to optimize the casting process. The geometrical measurements of middle end-plate depth, upper end-plate width, spinal canal width, spinal canal depth, and lower pedicle length show the error ranged from 0.14% to 0.85%. The average porosity, measured from the body, lamina, and spinous, was found to be non-uniform. It is ranged from 19.58% to 21.94% on the middle part and 39.78% to 45.41% on the subsurface of lumbar model. The density was increased by 64.89% compared to the reference open molded PU foam.

Original publication




Journal article


International journal of technology

Publication Date





1612 - 1621