Among the multitude of praises we sing to the 3D printer, we can’t say enough about its capacity to facilitate almost instant gratification. With its capacity for, at the least, rapid prototyping, you can identify a need, sit down at your digital drawing board, create a product to respond to that need, and, in the words of Picard, make it so!
One morning, Slovenian maker, Jernej, or “JerrySAN” on MakerBot’s Thingiverse, was making his favorite breakfast–fruit salad–when it occurred to him that, although he loved his daily dose of apple, kiwi, and bananas, he didn’t particularly like making it. It’s time consuming in the morning and even making it ahead of time isn’t especially enjoyable for him. He decided there had to be a better way and thus his 3D printed fruit and vegetable cutter was born–the idea, anyway.
Jernej recalled the familiar grinding device for mincing meat–typically used for making sausages. You clamp the grinder to a kitchen work table, insert the meat (or whatever you’re grinding) into the bell-shaped opening of the grinder and turn the crank as the material is pushed through the blade or blades. He decided to adapt the design of the grinder to accommodate fruit and to create larger pieces in either circular or hexagonal shapes creating a variety of different blades to get varied sizes of cut fruit.
Jernej’s primary challenge was to create a device in 3D printed plastic that could actually slice the fruit–clearly, an apple or a firmer fruit would present more of a challenge than would a banana. He admitted that it took him two weeks to create his first prototype and, once it was 3D printed, Jernej was still not certain how it would perform. He recalled the first test run, “Well, the problem appeared as soon as an apple hit the splitter and the table started rotating…” there wasn’t the necessary force to push the apple through the splitter. The table inside of the cutter, he explained, was printed with 10% infill. It was too flexible and created excessive friction until it simply stopped rotating. In that first test run, the main spiral shaft nearly broke and Jernej had to conclude that he could only cut soft fruit in the device, which was a disappointing result.
He went back to the drawing board and, as he was designing the second iteration of his chopper, Jernej learned about Thingiverse’s #Countertop Challenge. He decided to refine his invention and try to complete it in order to submit Version 2 of his cutter to the design competition. He hasn’t had the opportunity to test the blades to determine whether they’re going to cut through apples just yet, so it remains to be seen whether there will be a V3, perhaps with steel blades and otherwise 3D printed parts, but we’ll look forward to an update–and a recipe!
Have you tried 3D printing Jernej’s design? If so, how did it function? Let us know if the 3D Printed Fruit and Vegetable Cutter forum thread on 3DPB.com.