I’ve never taken an official poll of children, but I’d be willing to bet that, if you asked a group of children to list their ten favorite things, Legos and chocolate would be way up there on the list for a majority of kids. I know I was a big fan of both (oh, I still am, who am I kidding), but I never would have thought to combine the two. Other than eating chocolate while playing with Legos, which sounds like a pretty great Saturday afternoon.
But now, thanks to Gosse Adema, an enterprising maker from the Netherlands, you can use Legos to make chocolate. That’s right, Adema, a brilliant designer and clearly a child at heart, has created a 3D chocolate printer made out of Legos. See it in action here:
Adema originally built a standard 3D printer using Legos, basing the design on a Prusa i3 rework printer. The design, which we wrote about in June of this year, was his first submission to Instructables. With that success, he began thinking of ways to improve on the design, mostly focusing on strengthening the Z and X axes and adding a second extruder. Then a friend suggested he enter Instructables’ Remix 2.0 Contest, in which users are challenged to improve on designs created by other users on the site. Adema decided to take the challenge and improve upon a ten-year-old design by a user named Saul. Yes, a design for a 3D chocolate printer built from Legos not only already existed, but had been around for a decade. The design was rough and incomplete, but Saul ended his submission by challenging other users to improve on his work.
“It’s 2015, and thus the original instructable is over 10 years old, still gets replies, but nobody made such a printer,” says Adema. “Since I already made a LEGO 3D printer, all I had to do was build a chocolate extruder. Unfortunately, printing chocolate isn’t easy. But it can be done.”
The hard part – the building of the printer – was already done, and Adema had gained a lot of knowledge about 3D printers in the process.
“The best way to gain knowledge of a 3D printer, is to build one,” he says. “Building (the original) LEGO 3D printer taught me alot about all aspects of 3D printing. Even making mistakes was part of the learning. The advantage of LEGO is that it’s easy to change parts of the design.”
The chocolate extruder was easy to make, using a basic syringe through which to press pre-melted chocolate. He toyed with the idea of using a heating system and a nozzle, but decided to go with the simpler option, as it resulted in less potential for error and a cleaner end product.
“(It) isn’t the perfect extruder,” he told 3DPrint.com. “But it’s working, for not too large prints with not too much details. For a better consistent result, it’s necessary to keep the chocolate at a certain temperature. This means a heating system near the syringe and one near the extruder. This will also require more cooling. That’s why I came up with the version in step 7. This includes pletier elements and a coldbed instead of a heatbed.”
The printer has met with enthusiastic feedback from the Instructables community. “Lego should add this to their inventory,” commented a user named Noisywan. “I think it’s cooler than trucks and cranes.” Others urged Adema to print a chocolate bunny, which he responded that he will keep in mind.
The Remix 2.0 contest only has one day left, so if you like Adema’s design, you can vote for it for a little while longer. He also entered it in Instructables’ Epilog VII and Edible Art contests. If you’d like to really surprise the kids this Christmas, the full step-by-step instructions to build your own Lego chocolate printer are provided. You’ve got three months.