Introduction: Gingerbread 3D Printer
Here's how you can make a special kind of gingerbread house celebrating one of the best hobbies ever! It is half the size of a real printer. I would recommend actually reading the text and not just looking at the pictures so you can avoid some of my mistakes :D
- 3D printer
- Gingerbread dough
- Royal icing
- Plastic bag
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Step 1: Print the Cookie Cutters
Download these cookie cutter files and print them out. They should fit on 4 print beds and take about 10 hours of print time all together if you print them at 0.3 mm layer height. The walls are 1 mm thick so if you have a bigger nozzle you could print them with 1 perimeter.
Step 2: Gingerbread Dough
I'm sure you have a great family recipe for gingerbread cookie dough. I am not stopping you from using it. But just for good measure here is my family recipe:
Melt and mix this in a double boiler (pan over above a steaming pot):
- honey 350 g / 12.3 oz
- butter 50 g / 1.7 oz
- fine sugar 100 g / 3.5 oz
Let in cool down and then mix it with these ingredients:
- 2 eggs
- fine flour 500 g / 17.6 oz
- nuts (walnuts or which you like) 100 g / 3.5 oz
- gingerbread seasoning 25 g / 0.9 oz
(buy pre-made or mix ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg)
- baking powder 6 g / 0.2
- pinch of salt
Then wrap it up in foil and let it rest in the fridge for a couple hours.
Or you can be lazy like I was this time and cheat a little by buying ready made dough from the supermarket :D
Step 3: Cutting Out the Parts
Use the cookie cutters to cut out all the parts. Some of the cookie cutters need to be used more than once as you can see in the picture. The small parts that are marked in purple on the other picture are a bit too small, it's doable, but if your not very patient you don't have to bother with these and just do them in icing it the next phase :)
- Noob tip: Cut it on baking paper and then move the whole paper to a baking tray so the parts don't deform too much.
- Tip: Bake an extra big piece rolled out dough so that if something breaks when assembling so have some extra material to work with a knife.
Pro tip: You could have super straight edges if you leave all of the excess dough in place and then cut it out after baking with a sharp knife (but don't do it with the round pieces)
Step 4: Bake It
Bake at 175°C / 350°F for about 10 minutes or whatever your recipe says
Step 5: Royal Icing
- 2 egg whites
- A lot of fine sugar - at least 150 g / 5.3 oz)
Whisk it well and add more sugar if needed, it should be less runny than on the picture so it dries out quicker. You can later add a bit of lemon juice or water later to make it more runny for decorating. Use a food processor or hand mixer. Only crazy people do this by hand.
Transfer it (or a portion of it) to a plastic bag and cut just the smallest piece of the corner.
Pro tip: You can split it into parts and add cocoa to make the seams less visible or food colouring for decorating.
Step 6: Assembly
Using the royal icing join the pieces together. Assemble small parts together first. Gluing a sliding extruder to a standing printer is not fun :D
Follow the coloured image so you know what is what and join as many pieces laying flat as you can. Leave it dry for at least 30 min before moving the parts again. You can also start decorating it when it's flat if you know what you want to do.
I used extra motor parts to assemble the spool. You will also have two extra pieces to top off the z axis leadscrews which you won't need. Math is hard :-/
Step 7: Final Stages of Assembly
You will probably need some supporting objects to hold the big pieces together while drying but don't put heavy objects like a ceramic bowl on the bed. You will have to separate it from the printer and hope you don't crack it when bending it so it's straight again if you do so.
This is approx. how it should look at the end of this phase.
Step 8: Decorating
I will leave this up to you. Use your imagination, go crazy.
If you want to know how to do the snowy look:
Trace the top edges and before the icing dries out drag a toothpick through it.
Step 9: Decorating the Spool and Making the Tree
This was a pain. I do not recommend it :D
The spool got really heavy from all the layers of icing so it was hard to get it to hold up on the printer later. And the tree came apart about 5 times. I think a better idea would be to put some real filament on the spool and putting a real printed object under the nozzle. Putting the candy on the spool wasn't that bad though.
Step 10: Finishing Touches
This was quite easy. I drilled a holes in the gingerbread with a wet toothpick and then used halves of the toothpick to "plug" the cable candy into the printer. If I could, I would use thinner (less heavy) candy.
Step 11: All Done
If you've made it this far please share your creation, I'd love to see it. You can add a make here on instructables or on Thingiverse, don't post just pictures of the cookie cutters any old printer can do that :D, you did something special :)
Step 12: Time to Celebrate
Congratulations! You did it!
Now lay back and enjoy :)
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