3D Printed Measuring Spoons

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Introduction: 3D Printed Measuring Spoons

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author of…

A few weeks ago we decided to leave New York City and self-quarantine at a relative's unused house in NJ. We loaded up the car with all of the essentials; food, toilet paper, ice cream making supplies, a week's worth of clothing and a 3D printer. However, when we got there we realized they were lacking in some basic cooking utensils such as measuring spoons. We didn't want to break out self-imposed quarantine and venture out to find some. For a week we just sort of eyeballed our measurements while cooking, and then it dawned upon me! We could 3D print our own measuring spoons.

While there are lots of measuring spoon 3D models out there, we decided to make ours from scratch using Tinkercad. My wife has been wanting to to learn 3D modeling for a while and this was a good opportunity to teach her how to get started.

While I am sharing my public Tinkercad file here and also attaching the STLs for 3D printing, I will also briefly review the design process in case you want to try to make your own.

Supplies

In this project I used:

(Note that some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This does not change the cost of the item for you. I reinvest whatever proceeds I receive into making new projects. If you would like any suggestions for alternative suppliers, please let me know.)

Step 1: Do Some Math

So the first order of business is figuring out how big the measuring spoons actually need to be. Since I am in the USA, I am using our archaic system of Tablespoons and teaspoons.

Thanks to the wikipedia entry on measuring spoons, I know that a Tablespoon is 14.8ml and teaspoon is 4.9ml. Armed with this information, I could calculate what a 1/4 teaspoon or 1/2 Tablespoon would be using simple division. You can see the results in the "target ml" section of the spreadsheet.

You may be wondering why I then immediately doubled the "target ml" number. Well, a measuring spoon is a half sphere, and we want to calculate the volume of a full sphere. If we only calculated the sphere size for just the "target ml", when we cut the sphere in half the volume would be half of what we need. In order to solve for this, we just assumed the sphere needs to be twice as big as the measurement we actually want. This way, we can cut it in half later.

The next number we need is the radius (in inches). I basically guessed at the appropriate radius to begin with. Using the radius we can calculate the volume of a sphere in cubic inches (cu-in). The formula for that is V = (4/3)πr³, but if you don't feel like doing all that math, you can just use this handy calculator to figure that out.

Now that we know the volume in cu-in (imperial), we need to convert it to ml (metric). To figure that out, you can use the formula ml = in³ / 0.061024, or again, use a handy online calculator.

Now you should be left with a ml number that corresponds to the volume of the sphere. You can compare this number against "Target ml (doubled)" to see how close you are. From here you can tweak the initial radius input and recalculate until you have basically hit your target number.

Once all the target volume numbers have been hit for the "Inner sphere" size, I needed to figure out the width, length and height for the sphere. This is easy. All 3 of those dimension are based on the diameter, which is just twice the radius (D = r x 2).

Finally, I added 0.2 inches to each diameter number to calculate an "Outer sphere" which will allow for 0.1 inch thick walls for the spoon.

If all of that was too much...

All you need to know is the size of the "Inner sphere" which will be the cutout hole in Tinkercad and the "Outer sphere" which will be the walls of the spoon.

Step 2: Hollow Half Sphere

Create a sphere based on the Tablespoon "Inner sphere" dimension that was calculated. Make this sphere a hole.

Create a sphere based on the Tablespoon "Outer sphere" dimension. Align this sphere with the inner sphere by centering it on all 3 axis.

Create a square hole and place it over the entirety of the outer sphere. Move it vertically off the workplane (along the Z axis) until it is halfway up the sphere. For the tablespoon we would move it 0.856in off the workplane. I arrived at that by dividing the outer sphere by 2 (height = 1.712 / 2).

Finally, select all of the objects and group them together. You should now have a perfect half-sphere cup.

Step 3: Get a Handle

Make a box for the handle with the dimensions of 3" long x 1/2" wide x 1/8" tall. Go to the boxes' property window and adjust the "Radius" slider to 0.22 and "Steps" to 15.

Place a 1/4" inch wide cylindrical hole centered on the width of the box and about 1/8" from one of the edges. This will be used to insert a ring into the handle later. Group the box and the hole together.

Next, align the handle to the top center of the half sphere, and then slide the handle until the edge of the box is just inside the sphere. Don't worry too much about the exact dimensions. It should just look about right.

Group the sphere and the handle together.

Tip:

If your cube is poking out a little on the inside of the sphere, here is a trick to get rid of it; ungroup everything! Once everything is ungrouped, select all the objects and regroup them at once. It should now be perfect.

Step 4: Create a Label

Use the text tool to create a capital "T" for Tablespoon. Convert the T to a hole and place it somewhere along the handle. You can either put the labels all the way through the handle, or partially through to make an indent (like I did).

Group them together to cut out your text hole.

Step 5: Make More Spoons!

Once you know how to make a Tablespoon, repeat the process to make other sized spoons using the other values from the spreadsheet (or that you calculated yourself!).

Step 6: Make a Ring

Create a torus shape that has a "Radius" of 0.5, a "Tube" of 0.07, and both "Sides" and "Steps" set to 24.

Cut out a 0.1 slice in the top center of the torus ring using a hole shape and the group function.

Step 7: 3D Print

Select each spoon one-by-one and export them to STL. Also, do the same for the ring.

3D print your spoons out of PLA using your 3D printer and software of choice using a standard quality setting.

I use Ultimaker Cura software to setup my prints and Creality CR-10 3D printer to actually make things.

My print took about 8 hours in total for the spoons and 10 minutes for the ring.

Step 8: Get Baking!

Now that you have made some measuring spoons, bake something delicious and mail it to me share it in the comments below along with a picture of your spoons.

Did you find this useful, fun, or entertaining?
Follow @madeineuphoria to see my latest projects.

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    19 Comments

    0
    Charles Projects
    Charles Projects

    Question 1 year ago

    Thanks for sharing yours. I like your explanation. Very clear and detail.
    I notice you cover your printer bed with glass. I never try that. Does every printer bed can be cover with glass? I am using Dremel 3D40. Right now, I am only using painter's tape, but it does not cope to the heat and often lifted. The result is my printing become distorted.
    For glass, how thick the glass is? Can you give me some link to buy it? Thanks in advance.

    0
    randofo
    randofo

    Answer 1 year ago

    The glass bed came as part of the CR-10 printer and its heated bed assembly. This is a link to the glass, but I am not sure it will fit your printer bed. You would have to measure.

    0
    carl5blum
    carl5blum

    Question 1 year ago

    Hello: Would your spreadsheet work to make Metric Measuring spoons? You know 1 cl, 2 cl, 5c, 10cl, etc. I've never seen any pure Metric spoons in the stores. I'm told in Metric areas they use kitchen scales instead. Carl.

    1
    randofo
    randofo

    Answer 1 year ago

    You would have to probably do a few different conversion, but I don't see why you couldn't follow the same process to make some. That could be fun.

    0
    wimkluijfhout
    wimkluijfhout

    Reply 1 year ago

    I printed them yesterday and used all of them today.
    One suggestion: it would have been nice if you wrote both US and metric sizes on the handles.
    I live in South Africa and we always use both measuring systems.
    FYI: 1 Tea spoon = 5 ml, 1 Table spoon = 15 ml

    1
    Adisin
    Adisin

    1 year ago

    Neat idea, but 3D printing stuff that handles food is a dangerous practice!

    The issue is not the PLA itself, which is usually safe for food, but other factors in the 3D printing process (like a contaminated hot end, chemical coloring of the filament, etc). I would encourage the author to put a disclaimer in the tutorial introduction on this to avoid inadvertently harming any maker.

    Source: https://all3dp.com/1/food-safe-3d-printing-abs-pla-food-safe-filament/

    0
    bmacnicol
    bmacnicol

    1 year ago

    You could calculate the radius required by working backwards from the desired volume. V = (4/3)πr³ when rearranged yields r = cube root of (3/4)V/π
    The Excel formula is r = POWER((3/4)V/π, 1/3)
    If you use volume in ml then r will be in cm since 1 ml = 1 cm³
    Using this formula the actual inner sphere diameters are almost identical to the values you obtained so probably no realistic differences, just saves the initial guesswork

    0
    arpruss
    arpruss

    1 year ago

    These look really nice.
    I've thought a number of times about printing off some measuring spoons, but have always been worried that the layered nature of 3D prints will trap food and make them hard to clean well. Have you had that problem?
    Also, are tolerances an issue? Normally, when I print things, walls end up about 0.2mm too fat. For larger measurements this doesn't matter, but for smaller ones, is that OK?

    0
    randofo
    randofo

    Reply 1 year ago

    So far cleaning had been okay. We don't use them too heavily. In terms of tolerances, I don't think that matters very much for what we are doing. The tolerances are fairly reliable.

    0
    familylovermommy
    familylovermommy

    1 year ago

    Is it safe for us to eat from measuring of measure spoon that you made, considering it is from pla filament?

    0
    legonuke04
    legonuke04

    Reply 1 year ago

    It is safe to use, to seal, hold a bic or cutter lighter over it, for a few seconds, then press a marble(or other smooth surface) to it. Or enable ironing in print settings.
    In terms of dyes, most of them wont effect too much. I have 2 water bottles (lime green PLA) that work fine.

    1
    carl5blum
    carl5blum

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hello: I remember the 3D prints I did at work were porous. Perhaps you could seal with a safe filler? Carl.

    2
    robsju
    robsju

    Reply 1 year ago

    PLA (polylacticacid) is non-toxic.
    Only problem is that (especially with FDM printing) layer lines leave groves that can harbor bacteria even after thorough cleaning. These would be OK for one or two uses, but long term they could become an infection risk. It also can't be heat sterilized due to it's low melting point.

    1
    robsju
    robsju

    Reply 1 year ago

    BTW that doesn't mean the dye used in any particular filament is also non-toxic. Raw PLA would be best for anything of this nature.

    2
    KurtD21
    KurtD21

    Tip 1 year ago on Step 8

    Cool math and neat idea!. As a thought, from someone who is messy and does a lot of dishes. Maybe slightly rounded edges all around and raised very rounded lettering for the sizes to make them a little easier to clean. Thank You cool project!

    0
    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    1 year ago

    Thanks for sharing these! Even though I have 3 Tablespoons, they always seem to be dirty, it would be nice to print off a few extra :)