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May 6, 2016

Experimenting is a big part of what we do here at Choc Edge, finding out what works and what doesn't when creating unique objects in chocolate. Often a new experiment will be started as a result of a request from a potential customer.

Recently we got asked if it was possible to scan and 3D print bobbleheads in chocolate. It was an idea we hadn't tried before but it sounded like fun and something there might be more demand for. So we went out and got a Star Wars bobblehead (we had to settle for Poe Dameron as they were all out of Reys) and armed ourselves with a Sense 3D scanner.

 

 

We tried covering the model in tape to eliminate the issues of overhanging areas that wouldn't print. This proved to be effective and was quicker than it would have been to sculpt out the model in a program like Blender or Mesh Mixer. The tape was a good choice as it created a nice smooth slanting edge that is perfectly suited to chocolate printing.

 

 

The images below show that while it is possible, the maximum height of the models the Choc Creator V2.0 Plus can print and the lack of colour information make it difficult to create a recognisable reproduction. If you were to somehow add the decals onto the chocolate model it would start to look a lot more like the original bobblehead.

 

 

It was a useful experiment and another good example of the difference between printing with a 0.8mm nozzle and a 0.4mm one. At 0.4mm you can start to see the contours of the model more clearly and it becomes more recognisable. The model was printed at about 40mm in height – the maximum height it is possible to print with the Choc Creator.

 

 

As far as our experiments go we'd call this one a success – the results might not make for the best end product but the print itself was as good a representation of the original model in chocolate as it's possible for us to get.

 

Apr 15, 2016

This Easter Choc Edge got its Einstein on, giving a demonstration of the Choc Creator at the Cambridge Science Centre and talking about the science of 3D printing chocolate. It was a great opportunity to explain how we've adapted 3D printing and chocolate science to create unique and tasty 3D prints, and to show the machine in action.

To demonstrate the 3D capabilities of the Choc Creator a model of Einstein's head was chosen, downloaded from Thingiverse, and tweaked slightly so it would print without supports. Although we don't normally do true 3D printing at events because the typical environment is usually too warm to produce 3D prints, it seemed like a good opportunity to show the effect that even slight changes in temperature can have on the chocolate.

 

 

Anticipating trouble printing the 3D head a good print was produced in our temperature controlled lab beforehand, and taken as an example of what it should look like. As the picture below shows even the first results made it clear that it was too warm to print.

When starting the room temperature was around 23°C and climbed to over 25°C throughout the course of the day. 22°C is really the max you want when printing, ideally closer to 21°C, and the effect of a couple of degrees increase is clear - transforming the chocolate from a saggy model to a completely unstructured pile of chocolate.

 

 

A 0.8mm nozzle was used, rather than a 0.4mm one which is preferable for printing heads, as it's the most reliable when the temperature can't be controlled. The sample head would have been much clearer with a 0.4mm resolution. However, even at a low resolution the children at the centre were still able to recognise the head as Einstein, though this is largely because of his distinctive facial features and hair.

 

 

During the talk, key factors in 3D chocolate printing were touched on such as the properties of the material, how we prepare it, and how we control the parameters of the Choc Creator to get the best results. Mixing elements of physics and chemistry 3D chocolate printing is a great way of engaging younger children in science, and the audience on the day was about 7 – 11 years old.

Although the talk just scratched the surface of the science behind 3D chocolate printing, we shared enough information to give everyone a good understanding of how the machine works, and hopefully inspire them to make their own unique chocolate creations in the future.

Choc Edge was really excited to appear at the Cambridge Science Centre and it should definitely top the list of places to visit for families in the area - whatever kind of science you're into. It promotes STEM skills and education in a really fun and engaging way, and is certainly inspiring to us as we look to promote the Choc Creator as an engaging educational tool. 

 

Image courtesy of Cambridge Science Centre


To find out more about using the Choc Creator to inspire and educate your students get in touch with our knowledgable sales team.

 

Mar 11, 2016

Last week Choc Edge attended the first Desktop 3D Printing show at the iMakr store in London, demonstrating our web-based apps for easy choc creation and giving a talk about how we've developed these solutions.

Running from 3 to 9pm it's fair to say the show was a success with a constant stream of visitors pouring in right until it closed. By the end of the day over 400 people had attended. We were overwhelmed by the positive response to the Choc Creator V2.0 Plus and although we weren't able to print any true 3D models on the day we were able to bring samples with us to show visitors.

Choc Creator in action at iMakr London


One of the challenges of printing in a busy show environment is not being able to control the temperature, and once it rockets past a certain point it becomes impossible to print anything in 3D. To produce the kind of artistic and intricate designs we've been printing recently even half a degree increase in temperature can make a big difference – in the lab we like to keep the ambient temperature to around 21.5°C when we're printing, if it starts to go above 22°C we know it's time to open a window.

Choc Edge 3D Samples


We weren't complaining though and happy to be able to talk to so many people about how the machine works, and how we're able to produce some of our unique chocolate creations.

Leaving our tempering machine at home we opted to make pan-tempered chocolate for the show though it proved to be difficult to communicate with the crowds while operating the machine and giving the chocolate the attention it needed (especially in such a warm environment). We managed to demonstrate the capabilities of our app though and even managed to do a few logos for different brands on the fly.

Choc Edge Text App


Our only regret was not having change for a better look at some of the other stands around us as the show brought together leading innovators in 3D printing, including high-def printers from HP and 3DFuel.

Keep your eyes peeled for the Choc Creator in the iMakr store in the future our come and say hi to us at our next show. If you're interested in buying a Choc Creator please contact sales@chocedge.com.  

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