One of the feats of 3D printing after the fact, whether it be mass printing or just a few printed models, is knowing what 3D dental model belongs to which patient. When we began 3D printing to fabricate clear retainers or in-office orthodontic aligners, we needed to create a 3D print system to label the models efficiently, as we were printing multiple sprints (scan to scan) at a time. Of course, using sticky notes or markers to label the model is doable, but less efficient and more confusing as your print load increases.

Labeling your dental models before loading them on your 3D printer will save you lots of headache after the print and will prevent any potential mix-ups. Instead of using markers to write patient names after the model is printed, there are simple ways to print models with the name directly embossed. This method could be used for splints and dentures. 

The modern advancements of digital dentistry and 3D printing technology make printing study models easier and quicker. The bottle neck in your digital workflow is frequently changing and you need to adjust according to enhancements in additive manufacturing. 

You should remember these two protocols reach to a saturation level if you are printing more than 50 models a day. You might want to look into 3D printing solutions or dental 3D printing software that can automate this process. 

Whether you have Windows or a Mac, here are two quick ways to add text to a 3D dental model.

Video tutorial

Adding text using 3D Builder for Windows

Adding text to 3D dental models in 3D Builder for Windows is an extremely straightforward process. Start with an edited model.

Import the edited .stl file of the model:
  1. Press “Open”
  2. Press “Load Object”
  3. Select the .stl file
  4. Use your mouse to manipulate the widgets to rotate the model flat on the plane
Emboss the text:
  1. Press “Edit”
  2. Press “Emboss”
  3. Type the name, patient number, or date into the text bar then press enter
  4. Use your mouse to click on the area of the model that you want to label 
  5. Manipulate the widgets to expand or shrink the size of the text and move it around the model
Engrave or extrude the text:
  1. Use the center arrow to pull out or push in the name
  2. To make the text protrude, pull the name outward so the model turns gray and the text turns white. Keep in mind that if you extrude the name too far out, you will need to generate supports during the printing process. 
  3. To make the text engraved, push the name inward so the model turns white and the text turns blue 
  4. Finally, export the final product as a .stl file.