There have been a few reasons to celebrate lately around BHiveLabs of late, first of all Matthew and his wife have recently had their second child, and secondly a friend got married. To help celebrate, and to try and expand my skill set a little bit I thought I would try and make some chocolates to give out as gifts.

First of all we designed, and printed some chocolate bars for Matthew and his wife, and some horseshoes for the wedding couple.

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A quick sand, and it was time to glue them onto a foam core base and with the liberal application of hot glue a foam core box was built up around printed parts ready to make the moulds.

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After making boxes around all the prints, it was time to mix up the silicone to make the moulds. For the moulds we uses Smooth-On SORTA-clear 40 (we got ours from Bentley Advanced Materials ), a food safe silicone.  Normally this silicone should be degassed in a vacuum to stop the formation of air bubbles in the mould, however we were unable to do this this time. The silicone was then pored into the mould boxes covering the parts.

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As you can see the vacuum degassing really would have helped in for this silicone. The silicone was left over night for the silicone to cure and then came the fun job of removing the silicone from the boxes, and carefully removing the 3D printed parts.

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if you look closely at the moulds as they are, there are small pieces of silicon remaining where it has leaked between the Printed part and the foam core, this is quickly trimmed with a scalpel making the moulds more presentable.

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After washing the moulds in hot soapy water and carefully drying them by placing them in an oven at 140’C for half an hour. During this time I melted up some chocolate ready to pour into the moulds. Once the chocolate was set it was time to try and release them from the moulds. I found this easiest if i let the chocolate set in the freezer for a few minutes to make sure it was adequately hard. The finished pieces were placed into the fridge, and the moulds refilled until i had a reasonable number of cast parts.

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All in all i think these worked out quite well, especially for our first attempt at making chocolates.