3D Printed Chocolate Molds

During the last few weeks, I’ve been experimenting using 3D prints to create chocolate molds with mixed success and a lot of delicious failures.  Along the way I have learned a lot about the process of chocolate mold-making and had a lot of fun.  I finally feel like I’ve gotten my chocolate mold-making process to a point that I can share.

The Process

The first challenge I had was learning about the process.  Here are the important steps that I learned:

  1. Melt the chocolate
    • Chocolate has a low melting point (which is why it melts in our pockets) so you don’t need a lot of heat and if you use too much heat, the chocolate will burn.  If it burns, it will taste bad, but it also won’t be very viscous which makes it hard to pour, you’ll think you need to turn up the heat but you’ve actually ruined the chocolate.
    • The best method I have found for melting chocolate is using my electric tea kettle and two ceramic crocks I found in our cabinets (the kind that would be used for making Crème brûlée).
    • Heat some water in your electric kettle and then pour into one of the crocks.  Place a second crock on top and add in your chocolate.
    • Stir the chocolate consistently (now is not the time to walk away!) until it gets smooth.
  2. Spoon your chocolate into your molds.
  3. Tamp your molds onto the counter to get some of the air bubbles out.
  4. Let your molds cool at room temperature.
    1. I made a lot of mistakes by not letting them cool long enough.  Give them 60 minutes or more to cool.
    2. Do NOT put them in the refrigerator or freezer.  Moisture does bad things to chocolate and makes it brittle.  It took me a while to learn this mistake too.
  5. Carefully peel your molds off of your chocolate and enjoy.

The Molds

I also spent a lot of time trying to get the molds just right.  One of the keys is to make your mold as thin as possible so that it has some flexibility when you are trying to remove it from your cooled chocolate.  I’ve created a template in TinkerCad that you are welcome to use and remix to get you started: https://tinkercad.com/things/3ZacMuatu10

Here are some tips for your mold:

  • It’s best to do it in two parts:
    • side walls
    • the impression
  • The side walls should be about as thick as your nozzle head so that they are only 1 or 2 walls thick.
  • The impression is a total of 1.3 mm tall
    • The shape to impress is 1mm tall and is .3mm off of the bottom of the platform
    • Then there is a solid square that is 1.3mm tall where the impression will subtract from.
  • I print it with .3mm layer height and they print pretty quickly
  • Bonus, you can re-use the side walls with other impression pieces if you keep the same dimensions on the impression base.
  • PRINT IN PLA NOT ABS.  PLA is, according to NIH, non-toxic.  ABS is toxic.
  • When I remove the chocolate, I peel the side walls away a bit from the chocolate to break the seal and then I push the chocolate out. Then I pull up each corner of the impression before removing it completely.

Release Agents

I did some testing of release agents (things that make the chocolate come out easier) and the results surprised me a lot.  The best thing I found to use was nothing at all or vegetable oil.  The other solutions I tried were: Pam Original Spray, Pam Baking Spray, Pam Coconut Oil Spray, Crisco Vegetable, Vegetable Oil.  Everything except regular vegetable oil seemed to seep into the chocolate and made it look wet and not appealing.

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