Making Meaning Matter

The Evergreen State College

Author: forbra23

CST #8 Brandon Fortner

“They’re managing all the evil little shit so we don’t have to.” (Docotorow 309)

As the quarter comes to a close we are all figuring out how our projects shaped us.  Although some projects are not finished printing their are many who do not care whether it is printed.  As I myself have not figured out how to deem my project as complete I know much more about 3D printing and creating objects with the software attached to a 3D printer.  Everyone has learned so much this quarter and has challenged themselves, I feel accomplished seeing where my peers have ended up.

“…but these things are shaped liked them, with their portraits on each sugar lump.” (Doctorow 329)







Iteration #4 Cannibalism in 3D

Rotation: |

Dimensions: 35mm, 68mm and 83mm Print Time: 55 Minutes Material Use: About 11g I decided to design an object that I believe is representative of my Grandfather and his battle with prostate cancer.  My idea was to originally create many edible objects that I would design to represent a person and then watch them basically eat themselves.  This idea I learned early on would be an ambitious one, still I decided to run with it.  I wanted to print something that got rid of the plastic altogether and also something that would be fun and exciting to hold and eat.  The only physical part of my project that I can show anyone are the pieces of an unfinished extruder, which I didn’t design.  The extruder was really the only thing that could have made my project work, and due to the time constraint I wasn’t able to print and assemble all pieces successfully.  I’ve learned much about the actual printer, and it’s capabilities and how error is more common than success.  Without already having a 3D printer that could actually print food I was forced to find an alternative, one that unfortunately didn’t reach success.  With the time constraint, and everyone else printing objects and the parts of my extruder failing, by the time I publish this post there will not be a complete, physical and edible object for anyone to eat.  The fate of this object, is that it will probably be printed in plastic, and I will still give it to my Grandfather.  My initial interest in printing food was that I would give it to people as a gift, and study the importance behind gift giving.  Then it turned into me not wanting to use plastic which is ultimately the only thing I used.  Overall I’m happy with what I chose to do this quarter, sure the execution is a bit off and there is a lot missing but overall I really enjoyed the research I found.  There is actually a market for printing food, it’s slowly emerging and finding a market, pretty soon there will be a real life Willy Wonka.

Iteration #3 Cannibalism in 2D?


Printed Mushroom Biscuit

Printed Mushroom Biscuit

Edible Dino Nuggets.

Edible Dino Nuggets.

Parts of extruder.

Parts of extruder.

Printing Food

Printing Food

An idea for an edible object.

An idea for an edible object.


Plastic Food, Gears, Lion

Plastic Food, Gears, Lion×1200.jpg

An overall fear has set in as to whether I will be able to actually print food.  The images I took myself are meant to represent the edible objects that are currently on the market.  All I could find were dino-nuggets.  I am still unable to proceed with my project due to the fact that my extruder isn’t ready and I’m struggling to find a working filament. The image exploration has helped me gain an understanding of what other people are printing, which some of the things being done are truly amazing.  Exploring images has increased my desire to make this work, but instead of printing a lot of edible objects I’m now printing one for my Grandfather.

CST #6

“You need something stronger than a bunch of friends who have loose agreements.” (Doctorow 217)

As I was working in the lab last week I had a chance to talk to Katie.  We discussed our interest in the education system and how we had taken some classes with the same teacher in the past, but never together.  She worries about the education that her child is recieving, she would like to do what is best for them.  I began thinking as I was talking to Katie about the importance of the individual, the person behind the test result.  Why do people have to be turned against each other?  Education shouldn’t be a competetion.  Katie and I had such similar interests and I’m excited to begin working with her

“Rides are a lot of fun, Perry.  Your ride, it’s amazing.  But I don’t want to ride a ride for the rest of my life, and Landon is a ride that doesn’t stop.  You can’t get off.” (Doctorow 205)

Cannibalism in 3D 2.0


What is the relationship between 3D printing and food production? My question has changed, but my plan is still the same; to print a completely edible 3D object. I’m doing this because I believe that it eliminates the use of plastic, even a biodegradable plastic substitute, and creates an item that can ultimately be returned to the earth without doing extreme damage. I’m also interested in why the shape of an item reflects the action that we feel we should take. I have a feelings of insecurity, I’m afraid this experiment won’t work. There are fully functional 3D food printers on the market, but because of money, I’m forced to approach this project in a do-it-your-self fashion. It is rewarding to be completely hands-on in the process of creation, experimentation and success/failure, it also makes everything so much more personal. I feel like I’m pregnant and the possibility of a miscarriage is constantly on my mind. Even if the extruder that I’m downloading and printing from thingiverse doesn’t work I will just go back to the drawing board and try again, or manipulate the design that I downloaded. The reason I’m using thingiverse is because I have no idea how to create an extruder, I really appreciate the design that I have found and really hope it works. This will not affect the learning process because the core focus of my project is to print food. I’m using the design to support my final product, you can find the extruder that I’m trying to building and printing by following this link

I’m curious about the production of food and how it’s made, and how I might feel more connected to what I’m eating because I designed it. Will other people feel a different connection to my item because they know that I made it? Because they know that they can eat it? Some food, like beer has deep roots to cultures across the globe, although its birth is hard to place in a timeline there was a beer goddess in Sumer called Ninkasi (Kim). What is the history of the filament I’m going to use? What culture is it connected to? These questions arose as I furthered my research, it’s surprising going through Kim’s history of processed food and reading its cultural origin. “My definition of ‘fresh’ is something that’s rushed from the garden straight to the kitchen, which is when food is going to look and taste best. (Clydesdale 6).” I’ve been asking a lot of questions but these questions took shape while I was doing my research. Clydesdale made me wonder; will my 3D printed edible objects be considered, “fresh?” I am actually excited to say, “here is your freshly printed (insert random object here).” Maybe 3D printing could be used to fight the obesity epidemic, a program could be made that will, “Change the way people buy food, it will change the way they consume food, and it will change the way they think about food (Claudia).” What’s most surprising by my research and how it compares to the research I had done initially is that there are already 3D food printers on the market.

Most of my sources didn’t directly tie into my question, although there was some interesting sources I found on peoples opinions of processed food and the history of it. Processed food originated from trying to find a way to preserve food (Clydesdale 6), which has an interesting relationship to my idea. I’m thinking about using a filament that will not be processed already, something organic and surprising. Finding a filament that I find personally important has been difficult for me, chocolate seems like the clear-cut answer but I would like to use multiple filaments.

Overall my research unearthed that 3D printed food is alive and well, and that it has a market. As to some of my earlier questions mentioned in paragraph two, I was unable to find a solid answer. I now know that what I’m doing isn’t as revolutionary as I once thought, but I’ve found inspiration in what I’ve read. There is new and emerging technology surrounding my idea , I can’t wait to see where it will be headed. My original idea still remains the same after all of my research. I’ve become more interested in food production but I believe that’s due to the progress of my project; I’m slowly identifying as a, “food processor.” This identification also makes me feel like a preservationist, which is interesting because my objects will be eaten. Is 3D printing essentially about preservation? I’m both excited and afraid of what will happen next in my 3D printing journey, hopefully I’ll be able to print edible objects that will visually and tastefully delight people.




.Works Sited


Kim, Evelyn. “The Amazing Multimillion-Year History Of Processed Food.” Scientific American 309.3 (2013): 50-55. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 Nov. 2014.


Clydesdale, Fergus M. “Food Processing Demystified.” Consumer Reports On Health 23.11 (2011): 6. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 Nov. 2014.


Claudia, Puig, @claudiapuig, and TODAY USA. “Food for thought from Katie Couric.” USA Today n.d.: Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 Nov. 2014.


Kim, Sandra, Matt Golding, and Richard H. Archer. “The Application Of Computer Color Matching Techniques To The Matching Of Target Colors In A Food Substrate: A First Step In The Development Of Foods With Customized Appearance.” Journal Of Food Science 77.6 (2012): S216-S225. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 Nov. 2014


What We’re 3D Printing Now: Valentine’s Day.” Architect 103.2 (2014): 30. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 Nov. 2014.


CST #5

“Weird, yeah? And the driving!  Anyone over the age of fifty who knows how to drive got there by being an apparat in the Soviet days, which means that they learned to drive when the roads were empty.” (Doctorow 167)

I was pleasantly surprised at the work that Daniel Loose is doing.  He was working on creating chain mail in tinkercad.  I didn’t want to disturb him too much with questions but I watched as he replicated the empty circles and stuck them inside one another.  I know his idea for the Blue Rabbit project to create a bra for his trans friend that can grow and change with them on their journey.  Not only is this a pleasant thing to do for a friend but it would look amazing in chain mail.  I cant wait to see the finished product.

” ‘Dahling,” she said, ‘burritos are so 2005.  You must try a papusa – it’s what all the most charming Central American peasants are eating now.’ ” (Doctorow 168)

CST # 4

“Don’t do what I’ve done.  Don’t hang grimly onto the last planks from the sinking ship, chronicling the last few struggling, sinking schmucks’ demise.  It’s no fun being the stenographer for the fall of a great empire.  Find something else to cover.” (Doctorow 115)

This last week I’ve become interested in a specific project that Kris is doing.  She is making a library, which in a way is becoming obsolete.  Everything is going digital these days, even books.  Her library is a symbol of what the future could become.  Libraries might be featured in museums as an old technology, they could become something that people gawk and laugh at.  In many ways this relates to 3D printing and the implications that the technology represent.  What will 3D printing replace?  Things are always being created, invented, re imagined and refurbished.

“Tjan had sent her a guide to the hotels and she’d opted for the Pribaltiyskaya, a crumbling Stalin-era four-star of spectacular, Vegas-esque dimensions.  The facade revealed the tragedy of the USSR’s unrequited love affair with concrete, as did the cracks running up the walls of the lobby.”

Cannibalism in 3D

Is enjoying something for a moment less valuable than being able to hold it forever?

I plan on playing with the idea of what a 3d printer can do.  I would like to try something more extreme than printing a plastic object and challenge myself by printing a completely edible object using the 3d printer.  I’m inspired by the idea of someone eating an object that I believe represents them.  It’s entertainingly cannibalistic.  This project will take some, “Do-it-yourself,” work which will require me to print and assemble my own extruder, and also purchasing or making my own filament.  There is not a solid design idea as to what the objects I’m printing will look like due to the fact that I will be designing and printing different objects for different people.  There is also this interesting idea that my edible objects might be seen as less meaningful because they wont last nearly as long as typical plastic based printed objects.

The idea of printing edible objects is important because of what the world is already saturated in; plastic.  Creating something that can be eaten and then eventually return to the earth after exiting someone’s body seemed most practical to me.  I wanted to approach this project and challenge not only myself but the 3d printer and its capabilities.  Rather than attribute to the plastic all around me, I’ve decided to get rid of the plastic

altogether when printing my final objects.

My central exploration surrounding my idea of the meaning behind something edible and also its context as a physical object led my research to interesting areas.  I was able to find an article titled Do We See Apples as Edible written by Benece Nanay.  Nanay poses a question, “What properties are represented by perceptual experiences? (Nanay 305)”  This immediately made me think of the implications of the objects I would eventually print, the meaning behind eating an object that wouldn’t typically be edible, and how someone might go about eating, or not eating it.  Do the shapes of objects define what action we take?  The properties that objects have are characterized by our actions (Nanay 311.)  Printing edible objects is quite a daunting task considering there didn’t seem to be much of a market at the start of my research.  As I progressed I was able to find that some companies were playing around with the idea of creating edible objects made with a 3d printer.  The process appears to be in its early stages from an article that I discovered which was published in 2012.  The process of creating these edible objects involved heating the chocolate up in a tub before printing and maintaining it at just the right temperature (Sereno et all 827).  Although laborious the challenge of finding a workable filament is both exciting and daunting, the challenge will fuel my project.  The advancements in technology are making the way edible objects are created more accessible and less costly (Sereno et all 832).  This can turn anyone into an edible molder at a low personal cost.  The accessibility of 3d printers is exciting, in the foreseeable future people may have printers that can spit out a huge variety of things (Greengard 17).

This projects central question is, “On a planet already loaded with too much stuff, what idea is worth turning into more stuff?”  This question challenged me and inspired fear within myself.  I wanted desperately to create something that would be worth more than personal value or accomplishment.  I set out to challenge myself and figure out how to produce objects that weren’t sentimental but meaningful and EDIBLE.  Something that you can hold but also eat, something meaningful but also tasty.  In many ways I wanted to work without plastic and go beyond what I thought was possible and figure out what else I can make this printer do.  Challenge, devotion, and creation make my idea worthy of running with for eight weeks.


Works Cited


Greengard, Samuel. “All the Items Fit to Print.” Communications of the ACM Vol. 56.Issue 7 (Jul2013): p17–19. Web.

Nanay, Bence. “Do We See Apples As Edible?” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92.3 (Sep2011): 305–322. Web.

Sereno, L. et al. “A New Application for Food Customization with Additive Manufacturing Technologies.” AIP Conference Proceedings Vol. 1431.Issue 1 (2012): p825–833. Web.