Tonight I completed the first part of a 3d printing experiment to make chocolates. I've been meaning to experiment with a Paste Extruder but I decided that this time I'd try printing with standard PLA filament and then making silicone moulds.
First I printed a few Escher Lizards (scaled by 0.3) like this:
Then I used some Hiflex Food and Skin Safe Silicone Putty Rubber Moulding Paste to make a mould. It was quite a simple process (just knead together equal parts the two components until the colour is uniform) and the printed parts came out quite easily after the mould was cured for just one hour. This one turned out much better than I expected with plenty of detail:
I made another two lizard moulds but they ended up with a few air bubbles (but I'm sure they'll taste okay anyway and I might be able to tidy them up with a knife). My other mistake was using too much putty. I'm sure I can do better next time on both counts.
Now I just need to put them in the dish washer tomorrow before trying to pour melted chocolate into them. Hopefully that will go well but I'll be eating chocolate even if it doesn't so I'll be happy. ;-)
While I'm waiting for my chocolates, I'm already thinking about other things that could be silicone moulded and about other 3d printer-related moulding techniques such as this one I read about earlier today using Sugru.