Billy Two Brains

UK based Blacktrace - a world leader in Productizing ScienceTM employ the man with 2 brains, and his name is Billy Bullock. Exciting, innovative technology is one thing. Being able to work it is quite another.

I think users develop technology, more than we may think. True value is produced when technological potential is explored properly by users as it quite often changes things, and new possibilities materialise and fun is typically had.

A recent investment for this Royston, UK based business, is a Makerbot (of course now owned by Stratasys) 3D Printing Machine.

Used for prototyping engineering ideas and of course, for focused professional work, this company, that is made up of a number of world class scientists, performed something quite interesting with the Makerbot 3D Print technology.

The brain, is owned by Billy Bullock, NA Regional Manager for Syrris, a subsidiary brand of Blacktrace.  And the 3D Print was created by using data drawn from 2D MRI Brain scans.

Mark Gilligan, Blacktrace CEO, cleverly managed to reproduce Billy’s brain via 3D Print, using a number of software programmes and the innovative Makerbot 3D Printing system.

The results and the process deployed are included within this blog for all to see. (please see pics below).

And the man with two brains, incidentally, is based in New York, making Billy one of the very few people on Earth with one brain either side of the Atlantic!

To read more about the process used – Mark is kind enough to concisely explain the process he used to achieve this feat.

To read more about the process used - have a look at Mark's comments below.

I basically got the full MRI scan data. So key points:

-          MRI scans come out as a pile of .jpg files with another file that links a set together to define in space where they are relative to one another

-          So I used a piece of software called Invesalius 3.0 to:

  • Firstly choose a set of images

Billy's MRI Brain Scan

Then threshold the images to two colours from the full greyscale that they started as:

MRI Scan 2


  • These simple 2 colour images are then stacked on top of one another
  • The inner colour is left, and the other colour removed, and the make a surface from the outer edge of all the single colour images
  • So you end up with  this:




  • You clean this up, by removing dangly bits and make an stl file
  • Within the same software suite
  • You can then import the stl file into a CAD package to clean up further, or simply import to a slicer for the given machine



In this case makerbot makerware

  • And then print, and you have a brain! :-)


BillysBrain4 BillysBrain3 BillysBrain2 BillysBrain1