I've run across two thing this week, someone selling 3D printed cookie cutters,

I’ve run across two thing this week, someone selling 3D printed cookie cutters, and someone who used 3D printed cookie cutters to make & sell cookies.

Where does these fall on the “food safe” scale?

Is it ok to sell something to someone suggesting it’s ok to cut (raw) cookie dough with it?

Is it ok to sell cookies that have been cut with 3D printed cookie cutters?

I know that law/rules will vary from place to place… also, I assume both are using ABS or PLA with home 3D printers, not high-end commercial units/other materials.


Seem’s that some reseller give a special certificate for food usage but I never had one in my hand… just read it on Googe Groups Community :wink:
Hope it helps :wink:

From what I’ve gathered around the web the whole topic is in limbo because there is no good solution. No one wants to say it’s safe because the regulations on food safety are friggin strict everywhere and determining the safety of the produce is difficult. What it seem to boil down to is that e.g. ABS/PLA in itself would be foodsafe but coloring agents and other random additives are used in the filament process and most of the time there is no way to know how safe your filament actually is since the process used is a trade secret and the spool doesn’t exactly come with a list of ingredients. Food grade filament does exist but due to all the fancy shmancy certifications (or at least that’s what we’re lead to belive) it’s ridiculously expensive and not really an option for any kind of home manufacturing.

So I would probably make and use for personal stuff with some reservations but who would seriously want to risk their ass on selling the stuff and risking liability? (Varying based on how sue-happy your country of choice is.)

In my mind, it depends on three factors: material hazards (colouring agents used), contaminants introduced by the 3D printer (oils & other non-plastic sources), and post-processing/cleaning procedure for the finished work.

The last one would be my biggest concern. Given the laminar nature of “raw” prints, you need to post-process the work to remove those little nooks bits of food can collect in. PLA is hydrophobic relative to ABS so won’t absorb as many of the water-based solubles that ABS will, however you can’t wash/boil/steam PLA like you can ABS to properly sterilize it.

Acetone vapour treated+sealed ABS may be the better of self-3D-printed options, unless you can coat the surface in some sort of food-safe liquid silicone or epoxy.

It all depends on your degree of paranoia w.r.t the individual’s machine care, print care and food prep care.

Best option: Get a finished “production” part done in an explicitly food-safe process+material, like Shapeways Ceramic (http://www.shapeways.com/materials/ceramics)

Print a positive mold, then cast a food safe silicone negative mold for the actual use?

There are more kitchen products that are made out of ABS.

As long as your not trying to bake the cookie “IN” the printed cookie cutter, you’re probably good.

(Some people just take things too far…)

Worse is that the cheap filament many hobbyists use is extremely low grade and probably has been recycled many times…

You cannot clean a 3D printed item. All toxicity issues aside, the surface is microscopically layered and pitted, which will allow bacteria to survive a scrubbing. This alone would stop them from being labeled food safe.

I’ve yet to see any macro shots of acetone vapor-treated ABS, but I’d be skeptical that it does such an adequate job.

The short answer is no it is not safe. For the same reasons the 3dp dildo is unsafe. Look at what people have found in filament. Like ball bearings, or certain colors that refuse to print right unless at like 245 or more. Every single filament is likely unique. Something tells me the people saying its safe are the ones selling them and people saying it is not safe are people with nothing to lose for saying so. Think of the ABS as a base that they pollute to change its properties.

OK, so natural filament is probably a better choice than colored filament.

Filament of higher quality is better than cheap filament. (We hope!)

The acetone fogging seems interesting, assuming it would fill in the cracks between layers where bits of food might get stuck and cause bacterial. Better, but still not good enough for some people.

As for the cleaning, that assumes you will re-use them. If they were considered “one-time use” that might be a bit better, as it would eliminate the problem of getting it clean for the next time they’re used. It’s more wasteful, but probably safer.

Thanks for the comments everyone… I may end up doing a blog post on this topic. If anyone specifically wants me to NOT include your words or name, please let me know.

I’ve used food-safe shellac to coat some of my 3d prints and use them for food/drink purposes.

Riffing on the print-negative to cast, Smooth-Sil could be an option: http://www.smooth-on.com/Silicone-Rubber-an/c2_1115_1131/index.html

Yeah, think in terms of non-toxic sealants (if necessary) to prevent ABS/PLA dust from being incorporated into mold, and non-toxic release to create a barrier between positive and food safe platinum-silicone (such as SmoothSil 940), and then you are on the way to producing a mold that matches what people use in design kitchens!