Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cookie Cutters and Robot Printers

My pink plastic cupcake cookie cutter sans cookie (umm, yeah, I have a

cookie problem), alongside a traditional metal cookie cutter.
Chalanna's cute rubber ducky cookie cutter with peanut butter cookie 
(photo by Chalanna, enlarged too much by me).
What better way to combine design, robotics, manufacturing, and baking than by creating your own cookie cutter with the assistance of a MakerBot and a computer program? When my friend Chalanna invited me to participate in a cookie cutter party at her friend Matt’s house, I anticipated bending metal into simple shapes or simply testing out cookie cutters created by Matt. I was pleasantly surprised when I learned I could make a happy, pink plastic cookie cutter in the shape of my heart’s desire (a cupcake), without doing any of the grunt work.

To make our cookie cutters, we used MakerBot Industries’ DIY Cupcake CNC 3D desktop printer (hee hee, I didn’t know the name of Matt’s 3D printer when I designed my cookie cutter). I plotted a “sketch” of my cupcake on a related computer program. Then, we sent my design from the computer to the plastic-extruding printer, just like printing a Word document (okay, okay, there’s specialized programming involved for the owner/user of the 3D printer, but you get the idea). And, voila, in just a few minutes, you have a self designed and produced masterpiece in plastic!

The cookie cutters worked just beautifully, and the results of our cookie cutting tasted great, too! I had a great time, and I am open to other creative adventures if you’ll have me, dear friends and readers.

Being an artist who often works with repetitive elements and has an appreciation for geekery AND plastic, I am quite excited by these machines. Can’t you just imagine using one to create buttons or small shapes, such as plastic feathers, to add texture to a garment? Or how about creating your own 3D menagerie of mythological beasts? Or JEWELRY? Fun stuff to consider, for sure. I guess I’d better brush up on my programming skills, or else make some like-minded techie friends, pronto!

For more information, be sure to visit MakerBot Industries at the website, or search 3D printing and/or rapid prototyping. Also, check out Matt’s art projects at and Chalanna’s cheerful design offerings at

Alison :)

1 comment:

  1. Oh, wow! My mind went directly where yours did, I mean, the POSSIBILITIES of the things you could do with a nifty plastic printer! So cool!