April 17, 2012

In February Tom Salo posted his Chocolate Extruder on thingiverse, a very interesting topic in 3D printing. The head he uses is a Moineau pump (progressive cavity pump) and can feed the chocolate through the printing nozzle to print any objects. Chocolate printing is bit tricky - you need warm air to keep the chocolate molten. So Tom Salo designed the heat shroud around the pump and inlet block and exits around the funnel that the warm air can be circulated. He uses a shoe dryer to supply the warm air and the temperature is kept just a little below 30C.

Chocolate printing is not new, back in 2011 a team of researchers at University of Exeter has created a 3D printing machine for extruding 3d objects out of chocolate. Though we don't know much the technical details of the printing such as what kind of chocolate they use, or do they have any automated tempering sytem, Chocolate printing still remains to be a cool project.

Started August 2011 RichRap has been experimenting various paste extruders to print Chocoate. He ended up designing his own RichRap's universal paste extruder. This extruder uses normal 10ml Syringes and is designed to fit on any RepRap or most 3D printers.

He tested with 65% dark Chocolate by melting it in microwave for 30 seconds and then load the syringes at about 30~33C. That gives him 15+ miniutes to print on a cold-bed which could help freezing the layers quickly. With white chocolate it is slightly easier because "White Chocolate is usually a thicker consistency at these temperatures".

Of course Chocolate was not the only Goal for RichRap. He also tested out with Sugar paste (Icing sugar), Masa (Corn chips), Chocolate muffin Mix and sponge cake. At the moment he is hooked on Ceramic printing and has been trying to print with Ceramic porcelain clay. This is pretty exciting if RichRap could sucessfully print out pots, vases or other porcelain clay prints with this universal paste extruder. RichRap has all his experiments well documented and all the files to help you to build your own paste extruder are uploaded on Thingiverse.

(Printing with Muffin Mix)

(Printing with Corn chips)

(Printing with ceramic porcelain clay)

If you are tempered then it's time to melt some chocolate and test these extruders to see which one works the best.

Watch the videos below shows his experiment with the Universal Paste Extruder to print with ceramic porcelain clay.

Chocolate printing with the universal paste extruder:

Photo credit/Source: RichRap


Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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