Realistic Chocolate Heads From 3D Prints





Introduction: Realistic Chocolate Heads From 3D Prints

This instructable describes the workflow used to create chocolate faces. The workflow uses 3D scanning, data manipulation, 3D printing, vacuum forming and chocolate. If your interested in using this workflow or would like some more information send use an email.  

Step 1: 3D Scanning

The 3D scanning was done using a Mephisto scanning system. The systems very accurate. All the data was aligned and re-meshed in meshlab.

Step 2: Editing in Autodesk Mudbox

Autodesk's Mudbox was used to remodel some areas of the scan data and remove any major overhangs that will make it difficult to remove the 3D print from the mold. You can also manipulate the data to make the scans more interesting. 

Step 3: Editing Meshlab

Before 3D printing the back of the heads were removed and the hole closed to leave a flat surface. 

Step 4: 3D Printing

The heads were printed on a 3D systems zprinter. The prints were painted with epoxy resin to harden them and sprayed with a food safe lacquer. 

Step 5: Vacuum Forming

The prints were then vacuum formed to create molds. 

Step 6: Chocolate

The chocolate was melting in a bowl over boiling water. The melted chocolate was then transferred to a cold bowl and stirred to temper. Its important to temper the chocolate so that it shrinks and is easier to remove from the mold. After pouring check for air bubbles. 

Step 7: Finished Chocolates

The project was quite a laugh, we thought the chocolate did look a lot like the people we scanned despite losing a little detail during each stage of the process.  

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    This could work as part of the plot of some movie.

    "He offered her chocolate versions of her shoulder-angel and shoulder-devil. And she ate them."

    If you quickly spray or 'spritz' your mold with oil spray ( i.e. "PAM"), it will act like a mold release and the chocolate should come out much easier.

    Haha :D how does it feel ?(eating yourself) :))

    The only places I know of that offer to 3D scanning and printing services to the general public charge $$$$ since it's mainly used for 'prototyping' products for manufacture. Maybe a college of university is lucky enough to have these machines, but they don't let anyone use it beyond students enrolled in the course. I wish I knew of a place I could have this done. :(

    Rather than printing a model and then making a mold... Could you not just print the model as a female mold directly? Or maybe you could print in chocolate? and then you could have yourself a nice little money spinner...

    4 replies

    For printing in chocolate, could be a start...

    You could, indeed, print the model directly - and there IS at least one 'ible for a chocolate printer.

    I can, however, see two problems with the idea of it being "a nice little money-spinner":

       First-and-foremost would be food-safety legislation - what sort of hoops would you have to jump through, beyond the usual, to be allowed to sell what you produce?

       Second, 3D printing is still relatively slow - could you keep up with demand this way?

    Admittedly, you might be able to find a happy-medium between production capacity and the point at which the FDA would start getting interested, but I don't know...

    Good points.
    Label 'not for consumption' and explain to costumer. Also make sure that the wrapping is very appetizing and that the warning is very small. All that given that you really and responsibly can guarantee your product's food safety. Permanently.
    Produce outside of coutnry if safety legislations really are too rigid.

    A couple production runs with high numbers for occasions with excellent media exposure to spread the word. And then regulate demand with the price. (Method is indeed lacking grace, yeah...)

    We thought about it, but the mould has to be flexible in order to remove the chocolate and the only printer we had access to uses a really brittle material.

    Have 3D printers that print in chocolate been invented yet??

    2 replies


    for a start...

    Yes, I think Bath University has developed one, not very good detail though.

    I`m sure people would pay to have their heads modeled in chocolate as special present for someone, in a nice presentation box with the words, "Eat Me!" :)

    Kickstarter anyone? ;)

    Do you own the scanner or were you able to find a service?

    I have a precious small object (1cm x 2cm) that I want scanned and have had absolutely no luck finding a scanning service despite the endless resources available on the net.

    I'm trying to get Autodesk 123D to work but have had serious trouble making it function correctly. There are problems related to its small size. For those who don't know, 123D can create a mesh of a multi-photographed object from pictures you take yourself using an app you can download and processing that their servers do. Free too. Despite the difficulties I'm having it is an amazing service.

    My favorite part of this 'ible is the pic of you holding the face. You look so sneaky/proud of yourself, with a hint of, "I'm gonna get you." Great idea - amazing technologies to play with these days, huh?

    Equals totenmaske die groß Herr Doktor Nikola Tesla!

    I got your nose! ate it :P

    Nice instructable, but one question, what plastic did you use to vacuum mold to the 3d print? or is that "top secret"

    Thank you!

    how/where did you do the vacuum mold forming? that seems like an important step in this that i don't know how to do.

    1 reply

    There are several 'ibles on vacuum-forming, but essentially you can use a vacuum cleaner under a board with holes, and a frame the same size as the board.

    Warm your mould-material (polycarbonate, if I remember correctly) in a domestic oven, and when it's at an appropriate stage (malleable, but still firm enough to move safely) transfer it to your board (with your mould sat on it), clamp the frame over it, and switch on your vacuum.

    Obviously, there's a little more to it than that, but type in a search, and you'll easily find more.

    Though if you want a place that'll do the vacuum-forming for you, I can't help, I'm afraid.

    Amazing!!!! Thanks for sharing! It would to be creepy cool to give Mario's head chocolates to my friends. I like this instructable!