During my first semester at MIT, I took on a personal project to make some custom cookie cutters. I had learned from my supervisor that there was a way to quickly design and make such a thing using the 3D printer in the lab. After seeing some of his designs, I set out to make some of my own in preparation for the inevitable baking of sugar cookies with my grandma back home over the holiday break.
I experimented with a variety of different methods, such as using Inkscape to trace the path of the outlines to create an SVG file, or importing an image as a canvas directly into the CAD software to trace the image myself. After getting the outline of the chosen design, I used the CAD software tools to widen the outline and extrude it. In order to be able to have certain features embossed into the dough, a support structure was needed to keep the features attached to the rest of the cutter. More supports also proved beneficial in the sturdiness of the design. Each design worked well, and I used some food-safe PLA to manifest the designs.
The cookie cutters were very succesful in cutting the dough so long as they were coated in either cooking spray or flour. The open back of the design also allowed for poking the dough out in the case it got stuck. In the end, the cutters created a good and sturdy shape of dough that made for some good cookies with well defined features.
Funnily enough, this skill came in handy when the official cookie cutter we had ordered to make cookies for my daughter's birthday got delayed in the mail. This party was being held back at home so family could be there, and therefore, I didn't have access to the lab's 3D printer. Luckily, my parents' neighbor had one that saved the day after I quickly busted out a new design and sent it to him.
I gained some better skills from this project, including CAD modeling and even in using vector graphic software. I even got to teach the neighbor how I designed the cutter, so perhaps he will try out this new skill on his own. I have now been able to create my own Baby Yoda, Mandalorian helmet, Rebel Alliance symbol, and even Mickey Mouse ears (not pictured) cookie cutters (the BB-8 cookie cutter was created by my supervisor, Dan Novy).