Hello fellow Instructionists!
Welcome to our first instructable: a DIY Christmas tree candle with a 3D printed mould!
We have been thinking much to come up with a fun new application of 3D printing technology to keep you busy during the holidays! You can do so many cool things with 3D printers, but you are always restricted to the use of plastics, since other print materials and equipment get expensive really fast. Therefore we wanted to push the boundaries of printed plastics by using it as a basis of making a product out of a different material. A material that is available in every household during the dark months, namely Candle wax!
Candle making is a fun and addictive activity, but creating cool shapes different than cilinders, cones of squared shapes is hard. By using 3D printed moulds you can make much more exiting shapes than a cilinder or a square. As long as you follow our tips, you will find out that possibilities for candle making are almost limitless.
Nowadays not every household has a 3D printer at home, but in near future we expect these printers to become cheaper and more widely spread along households. Therefore it is good and fun to think if new ways you can use a 3D printer to be creative at home. If you do not yet have the possibility of using a 3D printer at home, you can make use of one of the many available online printing facilities to get your mould printed.
Enjoy making your candles and have fun!
Thomas Zwart and Stijn Jagers op Akkerhuis
Step 1: Design Your Christmas Tree
Create your own design
You can completely design your own Christmas tree (or any other shape) using 3D CAD software and our candle wax mould guidelines in the attached image!
Some additional tips when you're making your own design:
1. Make sure the mould can come of the model.
2. The more pieces you use, the easier it is to remove them (maximum of 8).
3. If you make the mould pieces hollow the heat can get away easier.
Use our design
Ofcourse you can also just download our STL files for free, it's christmas after all :) (see next step)
Step 2: Print Your Mould
When printing the mould you have to pay attention to a few things:
1. Make sure the wall thickness is about 2 mm thick.
2. Print the provided file with so-called supporting structure. This will ensure that the mould will keep its shape, since the .stl is hollow. (We made the mould hollow and with an air vent to give the hot air inside the mould a opportunity to escape.)
3. We used PLA for our mould which was fine, ABS would likely be even better as it has a higher melting point.
Where to print:
So how do you get your prints?
2. Use a local 3D print store or lab
3. Use your own 3D printer
Step 3: Prepare Your Workplace
What items did we think we needed:
1. Candles (We used the big ones from a brand called Florida)
2. Coffee (this is really important... for the mood)
3. A Knife or two
4. A drill (because we didn't do the initial design properly, you won't need this)
6. Precision cutting knife
7. Pot and pouring spoon
8. 3D printed Christmas tree mould
We ended up also using these items:
1. Aluminium foil
2. A freezer (you can do without out)
Step 4: Prepare the Mould Pieces
Preparing the mould pieces
Depending on the quality of the print and the type of printer you used you may have to do some cutting work to make the pieces fit nicely together. In our case we had to remove the plate adhesion layer.
Because we forgot to add some holes at the topside to release hot air in the original mould, we used a drill to fix this.
Step 5: Cut Candle in Little Pieces
Detailed explanation on how to cut a candle into little pieces
1. Take a knife.
2. Take a candle.
3. Cut the candle with the knife into little pieces.
Step 6: Heat the Candle Chips
Heating the candle chips
1. Put the cooking pot with the candle chips on a low fire and stir gently until all the pieces are completely dissolved into liquid parafine.
2. Let the molten wax cool down while you do the next step.
The instructable user rebeltaz pointed out that this way of melting wax is not entirely save. If you don't want to take any risks please follow the instructions from the link below:
Step 7: Prepare the Final Mould
Prepare the final mould:
1. Put all the pieces nicely together.
2. Put 1 or 2 rubber bands around it to keep everything in place.
Unless your mould fits perfect also perform step 3 and 4:
3. Fold a cup around the mould from aluminium foil (make sure you leave the holes at the top open so the hot air can still escape).
4. Make sure the bottom is sealed properly, melted parafine has a surprisingly high viscosity (it flows really easy).
Step 8: Fill the Mould
How to fill the mould:
1. Take your time, there's no need to rush this step as the molten parafine won't suddenly solidify and it saves you a lot of cleaning if you do this carefully.
2. Make sure the temperature of the parafine is good (the colder the better, but it should still be liquid). We dipped our finger in the wax and the moment it didn't hurt we figured it'd be good. If you don't feel like putting your finger in hot wax you can also use a thermometer, aim for about 55 degrees Celsius.
3. Carefully pour the molten wax into your mould.
4. Put the mould for around 1 hour in the freezer (at -18 degrees Celcius).
Step 9: Open the Mould!
1. Check if the wax seems to be completely hardened by pressing at the mould opening, it should feel solid when pressing firmly.
2. Remove the mould carefully, it should come off quite easily with a lttle wiggling.