Fluid-Filled Vestibular Apparatus for Vertigo Education

by vestibularfirst Jan 27, 2019
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This is a really interesting project!

I'm an audiology student and I would love to make this. However, I have a bit of a dumb question: would using colored sand work well for this project? The crushed stone is a little pricey for my current budget, but some of the vendors I've seen warned not to get the sand wet.


Hi there,

We haven't tried any dyed sands, but it should work in theory. I would test first to make sure the color won't fade, which is why we used crushed stones that does not have any dyes. Give it a try and let us know how it works!

Maybe if you could get a few students together and split the cost of the stones? Better yet, see if your Audiology program wants to help--this project would be perfect for a AuD program to do as a class :)

Good luck and please post a make when it's complete!

Quick update: I'm just about finished and everything is going well, but I think I may end up needing to buy the crushed stone. It appears that the sand is too light and too fine, and thusly doesn't flow very well and tends to stick to the sides of the tubing.

Does this happen with the crushed stone/coral as well?

Good to hear of your experiment.

The stones we use do not have the issues you mentioned. We tried LOTS of variations and these turned out to be perfect. Please let us know when yours is built--we'd love to see them!

Will do!

Should be finished as soon as the crushed coral arrives. Thank you very much for your assistance!

I printed one full size and it came out great; I also printed the tube caps, so we'll see if they seal well enough.
I'm also wondering about printing this at 50%, since I can also get the tubing in that size?

Hi Dean! I tried many times to get the end caps to print from the model provided by McMaster Carr, but they always leaked. I heard recommendations you can vapor cure the surface and that will seal the holes, but it was cheaper just to buy the end caps than go through that process for us.

Yes, you can print this any size you want. We are working on developing a smaller one that clips to the side of our infrared video goggles so that therapists can easily see what is happening with the correct orientation. Just match the holes to the end cap size as they are slightly larger than the tubing. I think the test I ran was 67% original size for use of the smaller tubing and caps.

Lastly, when using smaller tubes, you would think smaller stones would work--but they float down so slowly, it's not an accurate representation of the canals. Possibly another fluid would work, but we tried a bunch before settling on the baby oil. I would stick with the same size stones, but add fewer and explain (if anyone is a vestibular expert) that in this case the stones are not proportional to the model. The full sized model is proportional to the stone size we selected.

Thanks for trying this out! Please post your make when it's complete!