Our group aimed to use 3D materials to print pictures and make an edible ink printer. We decided to use raw food material, such as marshmallow fluff and icing which do not need to be heated before being extruded.
We used an Arduino, a modern and portable microcontroller, to control two stepper motors to draw pictures. The two stepper motors perform as two axes to simultaneously move to all coordinates of the drawn pictures.
The frame of the printer is made of acrylic, protecting the printing area and the breadboard wiring area. We attached two acrylic panels to the linear bearings to create smoother movements from the motors. We created a separate side box to safely house most of the wiring and the Arduino. Our extruder contains an outer protection case, a top plunger and a servo gear controlling the flow of the material. A small plunger is being used to squeeze the edible printing material out of the bag from extruder. Due to the limited memory of Arduino, we used Windows Presentation Form (WPF) C# user interface to make serial port communication, interpret GCode file to point and send them to the Arduino. The two stepper motors work in unison, but we need to test the feasibility of the extruder with different food materials.