The paste extruder, our 3D printed meals


Trying to avoid any limit in 3d printing, we have ended up on materials. Here comes our idea, the Paste Extruder. With this upgrade, you would be able to print chocolate, jelly, mashed potatoes, plaster, clay, concrete… the limit is your imagination!

As we wanted an affordable and flexible element, and as easier as possible to use, we have used a base similar to FDM. With a slight tweak in firmware (the gear ratio of the extruder changes) and using the same software, we have everything we need to print with Paste Extruder. How?

the paste extruder

With a rack and pinion system (marked in green) added to a syringe, we can control the material flow, understanding it like a regular plastic filament with a value of diameter B (previous image). We also select a nozzle width (A value). There are different nozzles what you can interchange, this would be desirable when you want a more detailed print, or when playing with materials of different viscosities.

The gear system of Paste Extruder is reliable and strong with a low friction value. It is easy to open and then easy to change material.

Given that each material is different and needs a study to take the maximum advantage of it, we are going to show also our “fails” and how we managed to make them victories. With such a big amount of materials we will have to experiment a lot, what a challenge!

We try to print a pyramid, but there was too much water. Then we change the proportions and we had better results

the paste extruder1

Mashed potatoes, an easy-to-print material, is perfect to get started with Paste Extruder:

– Spiral Vase

the paste extruder2

Using pigments, as the original color of mashed potatoes obstructs to see details easily. Overhangs hang a bit but it is still possible to notice the edges. We attempted to print a green Bulbasaur!

the paste extruder3

And finally we went with chocolate!

Carme Ruscalleda team got in touch with us to simulate, using 3d tech, a church-glass of Santa María del Mar cathedral, and we just started working. No doubts it was the most difficult thing we have ever made with Paste Extruder, but also the most pleasant (we’d rather mess up with delicious chocolate than concrete…)

Tweaking temperatures, proportion chocolate-water, speed printing, retract… we have these improvements:

the paste extruder4

We changed the 3d design because of esthetics, a bigger retract and a smaller nozzle have helped us in this improvement, anyway it was still dirty. We decided to change the 3d model to another made with a single stroke, in other words, the idea was printing in the most continuous possible way, and then avoiding empty movements, this is how the 3d file locked:

the paste extruder5

We reached the quality and neatness required and the final result with coloured jelly (impressed with Paste Extruder too) and also an unavoidable bite was pretty amazing

the paste extruder6