Monday, 12 December 2011

Cookie cutter, how to design in 3D

After publishing my first Finnish blog post about 3d printing a friend of mine asked, how about making some personal cookie cutters for Xmas. Especially she was looking for some Lovecraftian style cutters, that are not available on any regular stores. My drawing skills aren't really up to reach that kind art, but I'll at least will try to explain a simple way to make them in case someone is willing to provide the 2D drawing.

Open the 3d cad program you intend to use and draw/trace the intended cookie figure on X-Y plane as an continuous 2d line. While drawing, also be sure that the shape is correct size and stays strictly at the X-Y plane. Mine is kinda primitive Tree-shape..

Next. Perpendicular to that, draw the wanted profile of the cookie cutter. Usually the cutting edge of object is made quite thin, and the handling edge has some widening.

With these two shapes ready, use the Follow-me too. With the Follow-me tool, wonder around the original shape so it becomes 3d object with desired outline and profile. At this point one could consider changing the design for making it a bit more user friendly, like rounding the corners and making the holding area wider.
When you are happy with the shape, save the draving and export it as an STL file for further processing.

Use the printer software for slicing the 3d object and create Gcode file for the printer. Before continuing with the printing, it's usually good to preview the print at the preview window. If everything is fine, set desired options and print.

And with some 10-20 minutes later you have your own freshly printed cookie cutter, or.. as in my case happened. you'll realize that you'll need to make some adjustments to model before it's really any use in real world.

And the first version of my cookie cutter is there, I'll need to wait it to cool down before lifting it from the build bed. PLA is quite soft while warm, so one must be careful not to bend this kind of thin walled objects.

For next one I think I'd thicken the walls somewhat, also rounding the sharp corners could be good idea.

PS: As a final note. I have not done any official check concerning food-safety of these plastics used with 3d printers, so I don't assume it would be legal to start selling these cutters for people. I would really like to know if anyone has done the research. The plastic in question is PLA 4043D ...

Update: I have made normal speed recording of the printing this object. It's currently uploading to Youtube, so it should be available someday at this address:


  1. There's an app for that:

    Haven't tried it personally (I really should, but my ultimaker needs some fixing), but it should be easy.

    Easily found from searching for "cookie cutter" (I knew what to look for though :)

    About food safety: The plastic should be safe (recyclable plastic single-use food containers are made from PLA), but personally I'd like to get confirmation from the distributor/manufacturer whether the processes involved are clean enough.

    For this use I wouldn't worry, at least if the plastic has been made/processed in Europe or USA/Canada

  2. That one looks quite nice and easy for basic cookie cutter and the ability to download a background picture for tracing is really good idea. But it does not seems to be flexible enough for my needs, since I want to adjust wall profile.

    This batch of PLA is from Ultimaker and I have some 100m bunches of Fabdashery. I tend to think they art quite respectable manufacturers.

  3. These don't look food safe. I would go to for food safe cutters.

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