The "More Accurate" Potato Print

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Introduction: The "More Accurate" Potato Print

About: Hi there, I'm an avid maker on a budget who loves sketching, designing, engineering and everything about life. Residing in Singapore, having your own personal workshop is costly and a luxury. As such, I could …

Remember the last time you used ketchup and fries to make your first food art piece? Well, I do! That was me when I was a kid. The next thing I know it, I would always get told off by my parents that you should never play with your food and treat them with respect! Anyway, now that I'm an adult and Instructable has given us the push of a Potato Challenge, I would like to take this chance to test out this idea of recreating one of my childhood and have a play with food once again! Haha.

Potato has high fibre content which makes it perfect as convenient art pieces, like a potato print!

Unfortunately for me, I am not that perfect in my handicrafts. Instead, I compensate with technology! Here's a quick and simple method to create not only quick and easy prints out of potatoes but also really accurate ones with everyday items! Well, less the 3D printer, but hey, the concept is key.

This is going to be an extremely fun activity with kids to teach them about art and if you have a 3D Printer, show them how STEM + A = STEAM! Let's begin!

Supplies

1 x Russet Potato (Large)

1 x Soy Sauce/Colouring/Dye

1 x Penknife/Kitchen Knife

1 x 3D Printed Mould

*WARNING*:

When handling with a sharp tools, do require adult supervision. Always point the knife away from you!

Step 1: Preparing the Potato

Grab a bag of potatoes. I bought mine from a local grocery store, Fairprice. Surprisingly they sell imported potatoes from the US. The ones I got were russet potatoes. The key thing here is looking out for the size. The potatoes I have used is a reasonable 3.3 inch, a good size to hold in the palm.

  1. Choose a sizable potato
  2. Find it's the thickest portion, ideally leaving behind a good enough height that sits into your palm
  3. Using a knife cut through that section.
  4. Dry the potato by placing the cut-face on a piece of kitchen towel.
  5. Accelerate drying by placing the potato in the refrigerator overnight

I like to keep the skin on to allow a dry and rough surface for grip.

Now you've got the potato ready for crafting.

Step 2: Designing Your Shape

This is a unique feature of this instructable - Creating an accurately shaped potato printer.I wanted to test the capabilities of 3d printing in creating a more accurate guide to create accurate shapes for individuals like me who have less well-off crafting skills.

To start off, you would need a 3D printer and definitely a CAD modelling software. For me, my go-to is always Rhino. It allows me to create geometries extremely quickly. Here's a video of my CAD-ing process. If you are one of those who like to appreciate the process, feel free to look through the video. Otherwise, you may skip this step.

Here are some geometrical parameters I have designed for guides:

  • 3 mm height knife-edge
  • 1 mm base knife-edge
  • 30 mm circular base

The shape I had gone for is a heart shape. Cute ain't it? If you notice, there was a slight assymetricity and uniqueness of the shape to test this process of "accuracy". I could go even more crazy with the shapes but heck, it's just a proof of concept!

Step 3: Off to the Printer!

Now you have the shape, it's time for printing. I am using a Snapmaker. You can use any types of 3D printers. This shall not be a product placement step but my prints were looking good

Do note that you don't really need an extreme "knife-edge". You could get away with pretty much anything <1mm. The sharper your edge, the better it cuts which means you do not need that much force to generate the imprint onto the potato.

Step 4: Creating Your Potato Printer

You're almost done! With your mould and potato in hand, it's time to create the amazing potato printer! Here's the fun part!

  1. Face the knife-edge of the mould onto the potato
  2. Place it roughly on the center of the potato piece
  3. Flip it around with potato skin facing towards you
  4. Using your weight and both hands, press down hard onto the potato
  5. Your mould should sink and bite into the potato
  6. Remove your mould
  7. You should now have a nice heart imprint.

Using a knife slowly trim off the potatoes between the heart shape and the circle to show the desired shape.

Step 5: Trimmings

You're almost done! To reduce the risk of the sides of the untrimmed edges of the potato staining by the printing dye, what you can do is to use a knife and carefully slice off the piece. As my mould design is about 3mm in height, I would need to cut off at least 3mm of potato layer to make this happen.

*WARNING*:

When handling with sharp tools, do require adult supervision. Always point the knife away from you!

Step 6: Make Your Artwork!

Here's the finale! Are you guys excited?

As a typical Asian kid, we fancy an alternative to pure salt. We like that Asian kick. Digging deep into my roots and my kitchen, my dye of choice is definitely the Soy Sauce! Haha. In Singapore, we like to use Tiger Brand soy sauce. We kinda call it "SOY(A) SAUCE" with the additional 'A'. But ya, that's just our Singlish at work. Haha.

Alright! Alright! Enough digression. Just do the dipping and printing. Pretty neat huh.

And... there you go, here's how you can create an accurate piece of potato print. Do try out this process and let me know in the comments how it goes. Have a great week ahead and I'm looking forward to Black Friday deals!

If you find this Instructable useful, do LIKE and SHARE this post and I will be submitting it to a Potato Speed Design Challenge! Do also check out my Youtube channel for more interesting design and engineering stuff.

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