I am thinking of buying a 3-D printer to make cookie cutters for my personal use. There are so many to choose from. Would anyone share a brand/model that they like and share their experience with the software used to create cookie cutters?? Is it worth the time and expense to purchase a 3-D printer? Thank you for any input you have to offer.
Hi, Buffy Gwyn, Congrats on making your first post. I look forward to many more to come!
I can't be of any help on this question, but I'm tagging @Creative Cookier as she has lots of knowledge in this area. Hopefully she'll see this and be able to help out!
Hi! Lots of cookiers are giving 3d printing a try and I don't blame them. Who wouldn't want to create their own cutters. That's actually how I started a few years back. However, I never actually made a single cutter. I hated the process and did not know a thing about CAD so I was lost. Doug(my other half) used a 3d printer at his job so he took on the task and now fourteen printers later he even teaches cookiers how to use them. (I still don't have an interest in learning after my initial tries. I just want to make cookies!)
It is not something you take out of the box and instantly know how to use. There is a program out there called cookie caster that will walk you through creating a file to build a cutter but it is not something you can really fine tune (like tapered cutting edges). Sketch up is a program a lot of people use so take a look at that and see how you feel
There are now small 3d printers that start around $450 up. The build plate on the less expensive ones is pretty small but works for most cutters.
My advice to anyone thinking about jumping into to the 3d craze is to go to your local library or community center and take at least an intro class BEFORE you make a decision. You may find it easy and love it or you may be like me and find it's not your thing.
Because tech support and online help can be confusing, you also need to be comfortable taking things apart to troubleshoot and to do routine maintenance. The plastic can get hung up in the extruder nozzles, little motors sometimes need replacing, etc.
I hope this info helps a bit and, if you do take the plunge, please update us and post a pic or two of your creations!
Thanks for all that info, @Creative Cookier!
Yes, thank you very much. I will definately look for a class and I appreciate your info. I would love to be able to design my own cutters but if there is a long learning curve it may not be worth it.
My cookie cutter rule of thumb.
If I need less than 10 of a shape I will make a cardboard template (cereal boxes work great) and hand-cut it.
10-24 cookies I will make a plastic template (dollar tree cutting board mats are a perfect plastic for this) and hand-cut it.
24 + cookies I want a cutter. If it is more of a simple shape I will hand-make the cutter. I always keep several extra 6" round tin cookie cutters on hand just for this purpose. I snip and reshape them with my "Make your own cookie cutter kit"(link below) $19
Using the premade circle cutters is a good source for the metal because the top edge will already be rolled. This will give your finished cutter a smooth edge for your hand to press down on. You can actually make a shape you need in less than an hour.
24+ Cookies - When I want something super exact and just a certain size I have used 3D printing. I worked out my image in Microsoft word (or any program you can put an image in) as an outline then uploaded it to cookie caster which created the digital file I needed. Finally, I sent the file to a 3D printing source. They are popping up all over the place. Check out your local college, they might just have a 3D lab that will print it for you. I pay $0.20 /gram. This makes it comparable to a tin cutter in cost. (This way you still get to design your own cutters)
You can have a lot of cutters made for $450+. and then you need to invest in supplies.
Try making some designs and having them printed by someone else BEFORE you invest. Taking a class would be a super idea for this. Either way, you will need to learn how to manage the designing end of the process. You might love all the time it takes to design the cutters on the computer OR you might realize that the process takes up more time outside of the kitchen than you want to invest. You might have to add the time it takes to make a cutter into your cookie cost if you are selling.
Finally, you will need to have space for a 3D printer.
So much to consider given that you will be spending a lot on a very cool tool to make something that costs very little!
Thank you Heidi for all your input it is much appreciated