Cookie 3D printing

Today I finally got around to try printing cookie dough using RichRaps paste extruder on my new MendelMax (a post about that awesome machine is bound to follow).
At first glance, printing 3D structures with cookie dough seems to work just fine. However, I encountered several issues:

  • losing shape while baking: at this point this is probably the most severe issue. No “object” I printed survived the baking intact. All of them melted down to an unrecognizable blob – most likely because of the high butter content of the dough. It seems that it is the butter that provides most of the structural integrity and said structure is obviously gone in the oven.
  • getting the prints to stick to the print bed was problematic as well. My first attempt was with baking paper, not the brightest idea in hindsight as this stuff is designed to be grease-proof. The second idea was to use aluminium foil (in accordance to RichRap) which worked slightly better. Getting the Z height right and having a perfectly level bed – which I don’t have yet – seems to be key here.
  • the size of the syringe severely limits the size of objects that can be printed, considering the nozzle diameter of 2mm. This is not a problem specific to printing cookie dough, however it’s not that much of an issue with other pastes as they may permit the usage of a needle.
Printing flat objects works reasonably well. Starting with RichRaps “Masa Slic3r config”, I played with different infil-patterns to achieve the look I wanted. A rather moderate infil of 10% did the trick, as the dough will merge into one coherent piece in the oven.
Cookie dough seems to be an unsuitable printing material as it is completely unsuitable for maintaining any shape when exposed to heat. There are more traditional recipes that involve sculpting the cake/biscuit. They might be worth investigating.

In summary, it was a great first print for this new machine and made want to look into alternative print materials – next up is ceramic clay. And some day I might even print PLA on my new machine.
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