I always want to make use of 3d printer to make something more practical, I think 3d printing a plastic object could be made into mold to make something else. I tried with chocolate this time and and the end i was able to mold chocolate with my design
Step 1: Design the Chocolate Square
This idea is inspired by the Ghirardelli chocolate square. The chocolate square is one of my favorite chocolate, there is a lot of varieties and it is not as sweet as the other brands. what impressed me is that the brand logo on the chocolate is so defined that you can see the tiny " San Francisco Founded in 1852" on the ribbon. I wanted to make my own design of an edible chocolate. The first thing came in mind is the Instructables mascot robot. It is relatively flat and the robot has somewhat doodle drawing quality so I figured it wont be very difficult to make a 3d model of it. I used Zbrush to sculpt a rising curved shape of the 2d drawing. Nothing really accurate here, just my imagination. then append the sculpt on a beveled square. Export it to stl. file then off to the printer.
Step 2: Printing
This step is very easy. I set the print quality to high and without support or raft it come out fine after 2 hrs.
The quality of the print is not as appealing as the 3D model because there is not much height for the printer to add details. the eyes of the robot could have been worked on more. The overall shape is recognizable and i know the limitation of FDM filament printer. the result could be much finer on a resin printer. I did a thoroughly cleaning on the plastic part. Next is to make a mold.
Step 3: Making a Food Safe Silicone Mold
Once the Plastic part is cleaned. Glue it onto a smooth surface. I used double sided tape in here. then make the wall with modeling clay. make sure to put extra clay on the bottom and properly seal the gaps between the surface and the clay, even silicone is very thick when poured it was leak out some if it is not sealed.
Make sure to use FDA proved food safe silicone for this application. it is a bit more expensive than the other platinum cured silicone but it is not hard to find.
I bought mine for a sculpture store in San Francisco.
Once mixed silicone gel, pour it high above the low point in the mold. the high pour method will eliminate some bubbles. and set it over night to cure. the next day demold the plastic part and trim off excess flaps wash the silicone mold thoroughly with dish soap. let it dry.
Step 4: Tempering Chocolate
I have tried a few times to get it right. Now I can share my little knowledge with yall.
I have tried with chocolate chips and chocolate bars break down to pieces. I found that the one made with chocolate bar piece have a clean taste and the aftertaste isn't very sour. so I recommend using chocolate bar, preferably dark chocolate.
To temper chocolate I used 2 parts.
4 part Dark Chocolate bar : 1 part semi sweet chocolate chips
Add water to a sauce pan let it simmer, then put a mixing bowl on top of the sauce pan, and place dark chocolate pieces in the bowl. once the bowl gradually warms up start stir the chocolate until it all melted. but make sure the temperature DO NOT go above 110 F. otherwise it will become a grainy texture like wet sand.
Take the bowl off the heat once chocolate reaches 110 F. then add the 1 part semi sweet chocolate chips. stir and let it slowly melt. the temperature should be lower and the chocolate should have a semi glossy sheen. use a spatula to fill the mold. shake shake to release some air pocket.
Step 5: Chocolate Square
Let Chocolate cool in the refrigerator for 20 mins. Take it out and put on a piece of foil. Now it is time to enjoy. the chocolate taste same as the store bought one melts in your mouth. wrap it or enjoy it straight away.
There is could have been a few improvement. like the print quality could be much better from a resin printer. and maybe improve on the design to make the features of the robot more stand out. Also when fill the chocolate to the mold I could do it quickly to eliminate air bubble.
Overall it is a fun project and it isn't hard to make. the design is limitless. and same mold can make hard candy, brittles, or caramels.