An alternative method of producing ice sculptures using 3D printed molds

Our senior project focused on designing molds using 3D printing technology to produce ice or chocolate structures. 3D printing is an additive manufacturing technology that precisely converts a digital design into a physical product. The main goal of this project was to develop an alternative to the traditional process of creating sculptures. Instead of carving sculptures out of the solid material, a 3D printed mold was used. It allowed the design process to be more efficient with more freedom to adjust the final size. The mold had multiple pieces, which eased in the ejection of the sculpture from the mold and allowed for more intricate designs. A press-fit locking mechanism was used to secure the structure preventing water leakage. The mold was printed using PLA for the rigid parts and TPU for the flexible ones. Various CAD and simulation software including SolidWorks and FEMAP were used to implement thermal, strain and FE analyses to determine the precise settings for 3D printing. The use of PLA made the printing process easier and increased the rigidity of the mold. Furthermore, the addition of TPU allowed the complex structures to be extracted without breaking. Current prototypes consist of small houses, spherical objects, simple shapes of animal figurines. The goal is to be capable of adding details to the current prototypes and producing complex structures such as a mini size sculpture of a man.


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