This is a continuation of Melting Materials for Mold Making, where we describe some of our experiments to create molds of wax, chocolate, and jello using 3D printed models and silicone molds.
Here we are presenting new additions to the model making software and further experiments with different types of food.
3D Model Generator Additions
The program we have been using to generate our models works by taking a black and white 2D image and transforming it into a depth map, where the lighter parts of the image are raised up and the dark parts are lowered. In order to save on time and material costs for the 3D printing, we have also made the models hollow in the back.
Below-left: photograph of Antonio Canova’s Bust of Venus Italica. Center: bas-relief 3D model generated from that picture. Right: back of the 3D model
In addition, we created a version of the program that uses a color signifier (in this case, red) to subtract part of the image from the finished model. This way, the resulting model will not be limited to the rectangular dimensions of the original 2D image.
Below: model generated using the version of the program that subtracts red space. Left: Antonio Canova’s Bust of Venus Italica with red background. Middle: generated model. Right: back of model.
As in Melting Materials for Mold Making, silicone putty is used to create a negative of the 3D model. All food will then be cast using the silicone putty mold and will have no direct contact with the 3D print. This is because 1) the flexibility of silicone makes it significantly easier to remove molds after they have hardened, and 2) while we are using food safe 3D printed materials, the temperature limits of 3D printed material food safety is not entirely known. For the following food tests, we specifically chose to use Silicone Plastique putty, since it is food safe and can withstand temperatures up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Before each baking test, the silicone mold was throughly washed and sprayed with cooking spray.
Sugar cookie – We found that Pillsbury sugar cookies (oven, 350 F, 12 minutes) did not closely stick to the mold, largely because of air pockets that formed in the cookie. Below-left: silicone mold. Right: sugar cookie.
Pancake – While we could not get a complete result with the Aunt Jemima pancake mix, we were able to get some promising details in the pancakes, and further experiments with cooking time / temperature / pancake mix could likely result in a functional pancake mold.
Below-left: (oven, 375 F, 12 minutes) Pancake was still gooey
Below-center: (oven, 375 F, 17 minutes) Pancake was fluffy, though still slightly undercooked. Part with detail (hair) stuck to silicone mold
Below-right: (oven, 375 F, 12 minutes) Significantly less batter was poured into the mold with the hope that it would cook faster. This was successful, and the resulting pancake was fully cooked. Part of the pancake was stuck to the mold, but some nice detailing (bun and part of hair) was successfully preserved.
Eggs – The eggs cooked fairly evenly in the oven and were overall easy to remove from the mold without causing any damage. They were also successful in capturing details from the silicone mold.
Sunny side up (oven, 350 F, 12 minutes)
Below-left: sunny side up egg still in mold. Center: egg removed from mold with yoke still intact. Right: yoke broken open
Whisked egg (oven, 350 F, 12 minutes)
Below-left: whisked egg still in mold. Right: egg taken out of mold. Part of the egg was still slightly gooey, which caused a chunk of the hair to become stuck to the silicone mold.
Liquid was poured into the silicone mold and then placed in the freezer overnight. Overall, the frozen models were the most successful in capturing fine details from the silicone mold.
Below-left: ice (frozen tap water). Right: popsicle made from Bolthouse Farms breakfast smoothie.