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Technical Details of Printing with Off-the-Shelf Silicone

Technical Details of Printing with Off-the-Shelf Silicone

We at Structur3D Printing realize that silicone is one of the most popular materials our customers want to print. In fact, we have been printing with silicone a lot as well. For this case study we selected a silicone material and a geometry to provide all our case study data. The off-the-shelf silicone material we have chosen is the one we have had the most success with. 

Integration Tutorials

Integration Tutorials

For the new adopters of the Discov3ry

Now that you have received your paste extruder, you are likely working on integrating it with your 3D printer. Thanks to a couple dedicated individuals we have already received tutorials for the Ultimaker and the Printrbot Metal. Considering there are over 100 printers on the market, crowd-sourcing this information will save us all time. 

GET PAST3D - Ep. 1 - 3D Printing Silicone (Part 1)


GET PAST3D - Ep. 1 - 3D Printing Silicone (Part 1)

We have put together the first episode of GET PAST3D! In this episode Andrew and Amir will be 3D Printing DAP Silicone from the hardware store with the Discov3ry Paste Extruder on a Felix 3.0 3D Printer.

This will be a regular video blog showing off all things paste and 3D; including technical how to, testing new materials, and open discussions in the area. If you want to keep updated on new episodes be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

As this is the first episode, your feedback is important in making sure the content we post is helpful to you. Feel free to comment on our forum.


Nuances of Printing Hamburger Meat:  3 Problems You Will Encounter


Nuances of Printing Hamburger Meat: 3 Problems You Will Encounter

Today we wanted to feature Jason Ray – creator of the BotBQ, 3D printing pioneer, and a really nice guy.

Follow his journey on twitter @BotBQ

We got the chance to chat with Jason last week via Google hangouts and learned more about his meat extruder. By the way, the BotBQ is open source. Although it is still at an early stage, you can get all the plans right here.  Jason’s project is all about helping the community delve deeper into paste extrusion – something we at Structur3d truly respect.

The following is a brief synopsis of Jason’s personal findings in extruding hamburger meat. If you do decide to experiment with it, these are issues you can avoid from the start.


1.       Meat inconsistency

Hamburger meat is a lumpy, heterogeneous substance.  There are limitations to how consistent and dense you can get it. The trick is to get a fine grind. This decreases the number of air pockets encased in the housing, allowing you to get a nice, steady flow.

Recommendation: Grind the meat 4 to 6 times before stuffing it into the housing.

2.       Small nozzle size

In this video originally featured in 3D Printing Industry, Jason tests out a couple different nozzle sizes – 3mm, 7.5mm, and 9mm. A smaller nozzle size requires too much pressure from your motor – putting it in danger of over-exertion.

Recommendation: Opt for a nozzle size 9mm and above unless you are working with a very powerful mechanism.

3.       Friction

Due to the physical make-up of the hamburger meat, it is difficult to push through even a wide nozzle. When choosing the type of beef, Jason finds “the fattier, the better.” Adding a bit more oil to it as well as greasing the housing helps it extrude even better.

Recommendation: Choose a fattier beef and grease up the housing.

Keep the learning going! 

If you have any tips / experiences to share on printing meat-like substances, be sure to post on our forum.

To learn more about Jason, check out this great interview over at 3DigitalCooks


Molecular Gastronomy and the art of Reaction-based 3D Printing


Molecular Gastronomy and the art of Reaction-based 3D Printing

This post, written by Charles Mire, ran in last year. See original article here.

Eating and enjoying food is a central part of the human experience, so it’s natural that printing food attracts a lot of attention from the general public. Food makes the technology of 3D printing relevant and interesting to everyone.

Until recently, 3D printing food required a specialized printer. One of many reasons we’re excited about our Discov3ry add-on paste extruder, is enabling anyone with a desktop 3D printer to experiment with edible printing. The experiments outlined in this article don’t require the Discov3ry extruder, but it’s probably the most accessible tool for the job.

The possibilities for printed food go well beyond just extruding edible pastes. Nearly all fine gastronomy is a result of complex chemical reactions, so in this article we’ll discuss the potential for reaction-based printing. This is the process of printing one substance into another to trigger a chemical reaction with an interesting, and hopefully tasty result.

Alginate beads are a great example of a simple chemical reaction being used to create interesting new foods. They begin with two primary ingredients: sodium alginate and a calcium solution (calcium chloride, calcium lactate, or calcium lactate gluconate). Don’t let the chemical names intimidate you. Sodium alginate is derived from brown seaweed and is flavorless.

When sodium alginate drops fall into the calcium solution, the calcium ions immediately react with the alginate to form a gel. Since the drop is spherical, the result of the reaction is also a sphere. Because of the spherical shape, alginate beads are commonly called “caviar” in gastronomic circles. They are naturally quite flavorless, which allows you to influence the flavor by adding fruit juices, liqueurs, or anything else that suits you fancy.

So where does 3D printing come into this? The basic method of making this food “caviar”, is to manually dispense alginate solution into a bowl containing the calcium solution, one drop at a time. To step things up, you could put your bowl of calcium solution onto the stage of your 3D printer and use a repeating print cycle to dispense the drops. Using a printer will likely get you uniform drops every single time, and leaves you to focus on the other details like color and flavor combinations.

If that example is still too easy for you, you can use a 3D printer to print alginate “noodles.” To do this, you would use a longer needle on your extruder so that it can be submerged in the calcium solution. While submerged, the 3D printer then prints your noodle pattern. Instead of little caviar beads that explode with an interesting flavour, you now have this in noodle-like form. You could use this in a salad to release a dressing or with meats or vegetables to release a sauce.

A few pre-cautions: You have to pay attention to details like the acidity, or your alginate chemical reaction won’t work. You might also have to tune the viscosity of the calcium solution so as to allow the noodle to “stick” into the solution and not get dragged along with the tip. But there’s some interesting potential here.

For guidance on flavorings, here is some further reading:

Influence of Sodium Alginate and CaCl2 Concentration on Gelation Kinetics, Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering, vol. 88, 1999, 686-689. C. Ourwerx, et al., Physio-chemical properties and rheology of alginate gel beads formed with various divalent cations, Polymer gels and networks, vol. 6, 1998, 393-408.

Bon appétit!