Parents of small children should appreciate this new, 3D printable gadget: It’s a mini sandwich maker, designed by a maker known on MakerBot Thingiverse as “rr2s,” also known as Rudy Ruffel of Caen, France, who identifies himself on the site as an engineer who makes his own printers.
Ruffel regards his mini sandwich maker as a great gift idea and we agree, but we also think its a great device for keeping tiny hands and minds occupied. While preschoolers are not likely 3D printing savvy, there’s no reason why you can’t hold your three-year-old on your lap while you download Ruffel’s Thing Files and then print them on your own home 3D printer. Note that if you don’t have one, you and your budding maker can use a web-based 3D printing service like Shapeways, which will print the objects for you and ship them pretty quickly.
We know kids, so we understand that even something as innocuous as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich can become the subject of a battle of wills if the triangular shapes into which you’ve cut the sandwich don’t mesh with your child’s mutable, moment-to-moment, usually inscrutable aesthetic. “I wanted squares!” rings out as you stand trying to figure out how to make squares of the tiny triangles and wishing fervently you’d paid attention in geometry class all those years ago.
In light of preschool-age unpredictability and parent-child power struggles, Ruffel’s 3D printed mini sandwich makers aren’t just clever, they’re ingenious. Now your budding food artist can call the shots, stamping out his or her own hand-crafted amuse-bouches in the shapes of cylinders, hexagons, squares, ovals, beveled rectangles, and even hearts. Especially hearts.
Ruffel has made his Thing Files available on Thingiverse and has provided numerous photos of the 3D models of his mini sandwich makers. Note that the sandwich templates come in several sizes, so you and your kids can mix things up in that regard as well. He recommends that you use transparent PLA for the bases of the stamps but then, as his photos illustrate, you can choose the colors of PLA that you prefer — or, rather, that your little maker (or makers) prefers.
Ruffel has provided suggestions for use of the mini sandwich maker, including using them as cookie cutters, which would make for a nice pre-holiday family baking session. Consider these little gadgets nice gift ideas as well, particularly for friends with kids. Note that the eternally unpopular bread crusts are also a non-issue with Ruffel’s sandwich templates.
Would these mini sandwich makers appeal to your mini sandwich maker? Let us know what you think at the Thingiverse 3D Printed Mini Sandwich Maker forum thread over at 3DPB.com.