Updated: Sep 13
Recently I've been obsessed with making code physical. There's something magical about being able to touch and interact with something that started out as lines or blocks of code on your computer. I'm inspired by how Wonderful Idea Co. gets young Makers playfully coding in Beetle Blocks and then helps them translate the results of their code into stickers or temporary tattoos and by Leah Buechley's exploration of computational ceramics. But it was pastry artist Dinara Kasko's explorations of digital fabrication to create artful desserts that sparked my idea to make "code you can eat".
As with many of my experiments, I like to use tech and tools that are accessible for students, schools, and beginner Makers. I began this experiment in edible code by revisiting a 3D model that I created while messing around with TinkerCAD's Codeblocks and tweaked the form so that it had more volume (more room for chocolate!).
Next, I exported the shape from TinkerCAD for 3D printing. I 3D printed this form using PLA filament from Hatchbox.
A quick tip: Silicone molds are amazing at capturing detail. Which is great in some circumstances, but if you don't want your final form to have layer lines (which are clearly visible in this picture of the 3D print) I would recommend increasing the resolution of your print.
The next step in making this beautiful piece of code edible was to create a food safe mold using silicone from smooth-on. Because the 3D print was pretty small, I got away with using LEGO blocks to make the mold box.
I love using LEGO blocks to make molds because they're easy to configure into whatever shape you need and the silicone won't leak out of the box. I placed the 3D print in the box, poured silicone over it and 24 hours later I took apart the LEGO box and removed the mold. I cut off a small layer from the bottom of the mold to release the 3D print and to make it easy to pour in chocolate/ remove chocolate. Note: I didn't use any mold release and had no issues with removing the 3D print from the silicone.
Finally, I melted some chocolate. (Semi) pro tip: the best way to melt chocolate is by using a double broiler or glass bowl + saucepan with water but microwaving can work too. You just need to pay attention to your microwave settings. 15-20 second intervals at a low power work best.
I poured the melted chocolate into my mold, let it set, and minutes later I was able to pop the chocolate out of the mold and try a bite!