A model is needed to study the effectiveness of different anti-bacterial coatings on complex metal implants in a bone environment. This article shares data on the design of porous titanium implants for intramedullary implantation in the proximal rat tibia. The implant length, diameter and porosity were optimized after testing on cadaveric specimens. This article shares data on which parameters are critical to establish a chronic implant infection in Sprague Dawley rats when using the new implant design. To this end, different strains of Staphylococcus aureus and inoculation doses were investigated.