3D Printing in Chocolate? No, not really, but if you're inventive enough, that shouldn't stop you..
Last week I met Chris Want of the University of Alberta, Canada. Chris has access to a 3d printer on his job at the university and he combined it with his great hobby: making chocolates.
Using the 3d printer and silicon he created a mold that he then used to pour chocolate monkeys. The process forced him to think carefully about the shapes of the chocolates: they couldn't have an undercut as that would make it impossible to pull them from the mold without breaking them. The entire thing (dripping super glue on the models to cure them, pouring the silicon and working with the chocolate) must have made a tremendous mess of his kitchen, but unfortunately he doesn't show that
Bathsheba Grossman is an artist who creates fascinating geometric shapes using 3D printing. She makes a living by selling them through her on-line shop. Making a living with a 3D printer. I like that!
"I use a lot of technology. 3D printing in metal is the main way that I work, and I also do a lot with subsurface laser damage in glass. This isn't because I love gadgets; it's much more trouble and expense to use new media instead of the more mature techniques that most sculptors enjoy. I do it because the shapes I have in mind aren't moldable, and I want to make a lot of them. Those two constraints, taken together, turn out to be remarkably constraining: ordinary sculpture technology just does not do the job"
A few weeks ago we had one of her models ('Metatron') printed on our Objet printer and the result was amazing. It's quite hard to wrap your head around these designs - I'm not sure how you'd get these in a computer
Shapeways objects, especially from our Objet printer, look pretty good after printing - they are high resolution and have smooth surfaces. Sometimes you may want to add some extra finishing though - maybe to add some extra color or to further improve the surface texture.
These three articles describe in detail how you can paint, dye or polish your objects. The techniques are all pretty straightforward and require only a little investment (mainly paint and sandpaper - you probably already have that).
The polishing may be tricky if you have very detailed objects - I'm going to try it our on my monkeys one of these days. If you have applied a finishing to your designs, let us know how it went and we'll share the result.