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Chocolate 3d printing with the flexible heater and Cakewalk 3d

This tutorial is for all owners of the Cakewalk 3d and the flexible heater add-on. In this page we will explain step by step :

  • how to install it
  • what to do to set it up
  • how to use it for chocolate 3d printing.

The flexible heater characteristics

During Cakewalk 3d‘s Kickstarter campaign, many customers asked for a solution to print chocolate. This requires controlling the temperature in the extruder cartridge. We decided on the most economical solution which is to wrap heating pad around the aluminum tube.

First tests with the heater

So we did some testing during the crowdfunding campaign and decided to offer the accessory as an add-on. There were so many pre-orders that we decided to add the item systematically in the most complete kits on our online store.

This flexible heated pad has been custom made with the following characteristics:

  • it is made of polyimide film
  • it measures 120 x 150 mm.
  • its power is 12 W
  • its voltage is 24V.

Compared to the initial version shown in the picture, we have made some modifications. In particular, we chose to reduce the power to avoid any accident. During our tests, we specified a heating mat with a maximum temperature of 40°. This is more than enough for chocolate and there is much less risk of burning.

Now we will explain below how to connect it to your 3D printer

How to install and connect the flexible heater

To use this accessory, you need to connect it instead of the hotend of your 3D printer and use a thermistor.

1 – Select the existing cables

Take your plastic print head to disconnect the cables from the heater. They are usually inserted just above your nozzle.
Here, these are the red and white wires. The red wires are the heater and the white wires are the thermistor.

Hotend imprimante 3d

2 – Remove the cables

You can carefully remove the cables from the heater body and separate them if they are bundled together with tape, for example. Here is what it looks like for our Anet 8 3D printer.

Cables debranches

3 – Check and modify the connections on the motherboard

Normally you don’t have to touch anything on your motherboard connection for the thermistor. However, you need to replace the cables of your Hotend by those of the flexible heater.

Check and modify the connections on the motherboard

If you don’t want to touch the wires on your motherboard another solution is to cut the wires of your Hotend and place a domino to connect your heating mat.

4 – Install the thermistor

You need the thermistor for temperature control via your firmware. To do this, install it on your heating pad.
Thermistance sur matelas chauffant

You can hold it in place with a small piece of tape at the output cables.

5 – Wrap the flexible heater around the tube

Now you’ve done the hard part! Installation is very simple, just wrap around the extruder.
Flexible chauffant sur tube

And don’t forget to fill your cartridge with chocolate before winding the flexible heater.

6 – Ensuring support with the rings

We have created a version of rings with the proper diameter for good support of the flexible heating mat. You can download it in the folder that contains all the 3D support files.

Ensuring support with the rings

7 – Position your mat for maximum freedom

This section may not seem necessary, but we sometimes installed the mattress the wrong way around! So we prefer to show you what the final installation should look like.

Position your mat for maximum freedom

Now we have finished the electronic part related to the installation and connection of the heating mat.

Which settings for the heating matt

Bravo! Your mat is connected and ready to go for your next 3D food printing with Cakewalk 3d! Setting it up in your slicer software is simple. In fact, the temperature you want matches the temperature of your extruder for your material.

Slicer software settings
An example of settings in Prusaslicer

For chocolate, we prefer to start with the temperature of 35° Celsius. This allows it to be liquid and to keep a certain shine. There are temperature curves to respect for chocolate, in order to keep its beautiful properties. This process is called tempering.

By keeping the temperature inside your Cakewalk 3d between 27°C and 35°C you are in the ideal temperature zone. However, how fast your chocolate sets will depend on the temperature of your room. We advise you to go through a trial and error phase. This will allow you to find the right set of parameters for you.

An example of Chocolate 3d printing

To finish this tutorial, we decided to show you the heated hose in action during a 3d chocolate print!

Here is a short video of our first test with the model you receive in your package. We want to share it with you so you don’t worry too much about not getting the best result right away.

The firts experience with chocolate and Cakewalk 3d
Our very first chocolate 3d print with the flexible heater

Enjoy your chocolate 3D printing experience!

If you would like to purchase the heated hose to complete your Cakewalk 3d kit, it is available in our online store.

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