Student Research

A High End Alternative for Personalized Ice Cubes

Novelty ice cube trays have become even more popular in recent years. Large ice spheres became desirable for their unique shape, aesthetic look, and ability to keep a drink cold without melting and watering it down as quickly as traditional rectangular ice cubes. The task was to find out whether or not 3D Printing could be a viable option for creating novelty or customizable ice cube trays. The problem with 3D Printing is its difficulty with making the printed part watertight while still keeping its unique shape and being able to make sure that it is food-safe. Trays must also be easily mass produced while keeping filament costs low. To ensure that the tray satisfies these criteria, research was done to determine what kinds of the filament, if there are any, that are considered to be food safe. It was found that both PLA (polylactic acid) and PET-G (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol) are both considered to be food-safe as both plastics are used for food storage and making disposable water bottles. Polyurethane, a food-safe coating when fully cured, was used to prevent the print from leaking and to keep the ice from sticking to the mold. Once the filament and coatings were determined it became a trial and error on designing a tray that could be customized and that would be watertight while still being easy to open and removing the ice with no difficulty or breakage.

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