Picture of 3D chocolate printer made from LEGO
Using lego and a few custom components a 3D printer for chocolate is possible. I did this project a long time ago so the documentation is incomplete, but hopefully it will inspire someone to rebuild it and fill in the blanks.
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Step 1: Make a chocolate extruder.

Picture of make a chocolate extruder.
These were my first rough plans for a chocolate extruder. Powdered chocolate into a heated barrel, lego worm screws as the slurry pump through an ejection nozzle.

Step 2: Cut extrusion chamber

Picture of cut extrusion chamber
bandsaw - 1" x 1" x 3" aluminum extrusion

Step 3: Drill and reem the bore hole for the worm screw.

Picture of drill and reem the bore hole for the worm screw.
I can't remember the diameter, but it was a close tolerance fit for the lego worm gear (close to 1/2in) Nice thing about lego is that it is super high tolerance!

Step 4: Cartridge heaters.

Picture of cartridge heaters.
4 x 5W bar heaters to supply the heat to melt the chocolate. I think there are cheaper solutions, but there were convenient and fit nicely in 1/8in holes.

i got mine from watlow:

Step 5: Interchangeable nozzle and set screw

Picture of interchangeable nozzle and set screw
I put an interchangeable nozzle and set screw in the end of the chocolate extruder. the idea was this would make it easier to change the diameter of the chocolate bead being extruded as well as making it easier to clean out the chamber as necessary - like when chocolate melts solidly inside it...

Step 6: Cartridge heater positions around extrusion chamber.

Picture of cartridge heater positions around extrusion chamber.
i placed the cartridge heaters around the extrusion chamber like so. I need a jobbers drill bit to drill the 1/8in holes deep enough.

Step 7: Fully assembled extrusion chamber.

Picture of fully assembled extrusion chamber.
again, in theory the lego thermometer and programmable brick should be enough to do the chocolate control, but i used the PID and thermocouple because i was just interested in proving the concept and i had those lying around my lab.

Step 8: Testing the extrusion chamber

Picture of testing the extrusion chamber
Here i am testing the extrusion chamber.

Step 9: Build a lego gantry

Picture of build a lego gantry
I can't remember all the details, but it's pretty simple. i used rack and pinions for the X and Y axis gantries.

there are lots of ways to do this. You really want z axis too. i hacked the Z axis by using a layer by layer increment ratchet that was mechanical. given the memory limits of the PCX bricks, one layer was about all you could program before having to upload a new layer code anyway.
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Hello! We love Lego's and we also have a small chocolate business. I'd love to discuss a collaborative project. Contact me.

fluctuat2 years ago
Ok this is pretty genius, but what about 3D objects? Does the chocolate stay hot for too long? How about a cooling fan after the drip nozzle? Ultimately I think printing a chocolate bunny would be the benchmark for this awesome machine.

a year ago i know but..... pressurize the chocolate rater than melt it? i remember seeing a cool idea ages ago about putting chocolate through a plastic injection molding machine... the result chocolate is fluid a high pressure but sets quick. this was an idea to aid chocolate manufacture and de-molding times but might work in a 3d printer :)

i work with chocolate quite a bit and pressurized chocolate would be perfect for that.

hhmmmm, i feel my cnc router/plasma cutter project taking a side step. I think i can make a safe machine that can cut both metal and plastic with out setting the place on fire but the chocolate might have a few chips in it.....

LXMaker1 year ago
3D printer just to market is relatively expensive, after all, is a technology that has just started, manufacturing cost is relatively high, after a period of time,technology is more and more popular, the price drop. Consumers consider theother countries of the brand, the price is relatively low, such as LXMaker.Interested in 3D print can log onto the or view details.
Jacky P1 year ago
Can you add a parts list?
maxiwatt2 years ago
Show me the Money!!! (ie- tasty chocolate results!)
ProCactus3 years ago
what does it do?

If someone makes a chocolate printer, You would think they had an example.
Maybe" Step 10 - Lets build some chocolate stuff!" is not finished?
geckomage3 years ago
haha, i was just using my labs 3d printer and then saw this article so i figured i'd give it a read :) support material would be hard to do for this one :( i use a special type of plastic that desolves in a special acid bath and leaves the structural material behind :)
dscott43 years ago
Hey there,

I would love to see your project in the 3D print group I have just started!!!!
NE patsrock3 years ago
u should add a vid to show how it works
bgepp13 years ago
omg - smh - pfa (pretty friggin awesome) - this is sweeeeeet!
(removed by author or community request)
i know for sure that you can get some in the starwars ships with opening wings, maybe you can find some in technix sets (i think thats what they are called anyways)
Yea, get them in tecknic sets, almost all of 'em have worm gears

njolley4 years ago
Great Instructable - well done! For those who are interested beyond lego, head to Makerbot Industries for a frosting extruder and RepRap for a plastic extruder to bolt onto this lego design. I'm going to put this extruder on my cnc project!!!!!
this seems to be a lego version of the bag extruder that all bakers use
the new Nxt is out so you cound make vary good chocolate sculptures
ESPECIALLY since is has 1 degree accurate servos!
kiamokh5 years ago
can someone help me
jantine4 years ago
You win. I'm not going to build it, because i am too lazy to do so, but it is awesomely cool that you did.
roland9854 years ago
100% pure win. Yum, This is my summer project.
hanelyp4 years ago
A few points:
- A PID controller strikes me as overkill for the heating control, but if you have one ready on hand it works.
- This should work well with wax or other low melting point materials instead of chocolate.
- A second nozzle laying down powdered sugar filler between the chocolate could allow more flexible designs.
er04014 years ago
Omg u should submit this to Lego magazine and see if they'll let an adults cool creation be entered! :)
9ale74 years ago
did i miss the wiring step of the CNC motors?
or was it manual not using any motors in the X Y axis?
( in the video it looks like a cnc)
freerunnin14 years ago
isn't the frame work that znaps stuff?, iv'e got some somewhere... im planning on using an old hp printer and exchanging the ink for a feeding chamber for the stuff that will print out the 3d model, not sure what yet maybe sugar or something...
worth the try, we all have old printers sitting there doing nothing,
but i worry about the programing?!
any idea?? even to be used in CNC???
mary candy4 years ago
9309134 years ago
Awsome- great job. I liked the comment idea of a lego printer that prints legos hahaha. GJ
wat is this supposed to do? make shapes of chocoalate?
mtownsend6 years ago
Siiiiiigh. I am way too young to be out of it. When I read the title i thought you were going to be printing ON chocolate. Like for eating. I really felt stupid when I realized what was actually happening here.
If you just want to print on food, cake shops do it all the time, they used printers that are retrofitted to dispense food coloring. Somone should figure out how they do that and make an instructable on it.
same kinda pissed it isnt actually
Phew! Was worried I was the only one who thought that =D
You're disappointed that you thought it was to print ON chocolate as opposed to printing a 3D chocolate object? Printing on is thousands of times easier than what this guy did. This thing is only a step below a 3D prototype printer, but it's better because you can eat what comes out of this :D *drooooooooool* Now, if you can only convert this to use liquid polymers. You can make a lego machine that makes legos:)
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