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Butter Pig (Classic)

by steveweber314 Nov 19, 2014
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How tightly do the components fit together?

I want to try printing this as a gift because my mother would love it, but I'm concerned about the food safety of the PLA over time with all those crevices. Finding a food-safe material is easy, but the issue is 3D printing in general makes objects that can harbor some nasty stuff.

I'm thinking of giving it a couple of coatings to smooth the surface and give it a food-grade sealing layer, but if it's a really tight fit in all the components, either of those could keep it from fitting together anymore, and having to file down something to fit would defeat the purpose of the whole process.

.. alternatively, if someone's used one of these for a couple years and found that just having sticks of butter in it wasn't a problem, I suppose that would be a working endorsement for me. I wouldn't like it as much as being sure, but it would work.

what print setting (Fill) do you recommend? Thank you

does the butter pig slicer fit in all the different files? Thank you

Baconlicious Butter Pig and West Coast Butter Pig use the same slicers. Classic butter pig uses a slightly different shape.

So I'd like to use this, but there are two considerations. The first - food safe filament - is pretty easy to deal with. The second I'm a little clueless on. When you 3D print it creates a surface that is near impossible to clean in a material that can't stand hot water (my printer can't handle PLA). I'm fairly certain based on past experiences that annealing the PLA - which works even without HTPLA if you're willing to deal with some very minor deformities - will give it enough heat resistance to stand up to the hot tap water I normally do dishes in.

That leaves the pits that bacteria can grow in. I know the common advice is to coat models you're going to use on food with food safe silicon, but it seems this particular piece may be difficult to do that on. Does anyone have any suggestions along those lines?

i printed it but now i have second doubts if i should use it for food

Has anyone tried a cold stick of butter to see if the butter would still come out?

You can slice a cold stick of butter, but it won't extrude. I've seen the "face" break off the pig from attempting this. Some of the newer engineering plastics that are out there might be able to do it with really good layer adhesion, but it would take some muscle.

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Arghhh.... Just printed this ingenious design which took about 5 hours on my TAZ 5. However, when I went to load it with butter I realized that my butter doesn't fit! Apparently, two standards for butter sizes exist in this country.

According to Wikipedia:
Eastern-pack: "The dominant shape east of the Rocky Mountains is the Elgin, or Eastern-pack shape, named for a dairy in Elgin, Illinois. The sticks are 121 millimetres (4.8 in) long and 32 millimetres (1.3 in) wide and are typically sold stacked two by two in elongated cube-shaped boxes."
Western-pack: "West of the Rocky Mountains, butter printers standardized on a different shape that is now referred to as the Western-pack shape. These butter sticks are 80 millimetres (3.1 in) long and 38 millimetres (1.5 in) wide and are usually sold with four sticks packed side-by-side in a flat, rectangular box."

Any chance there could be a version for the Best-Foods Mayonaisse Eating, Dreyer's Ice Cream Licking, West-of-the-Rocky-Mountainers? My butter would be forever grateful (as would my belly).


Wow, I didn't know about that. I will look into it. @blitzjon made a remix that holds a slightly longer stick (the original design was limited by the size of my printer so you always have to slice off the first pad of butter before it will close) But it sounds like what you need is a shorter, stockier pig. I could totally do that.

Note: IS NOT DISHWASHER SAFE. Completely ruined mine doing that. If you happen to accidentally melt yours, grab a hair dryer, set it on high, and bend that baby back into place!

Nice trick for bending it back! What material were you using?

PLA. That's all the library has.

PLA becomes very soft @ around 60-65° C. Dishwasher reach temperatures close to 100° C so, yeap, it will ruin it.

I have no idea why this hasn't been featured yet. Great idea!

is there any chance of a "slight" tweak to make it so no part is more than 120mm in length? that is my max print height.

I don't want to try and "scale" anything as I fear the other bits won't fit right if I do that.

Original Butter Pig is 127mm (my max print height.) I designed it with pretty loose tolerances, so should be fine scaling it to about 95% as far as that goes. I think the butter would still fit too, because its pretty loose now. Another option would be to print the Half Pint Butter Pig, which is designed to fit a half stick of butter.

Nice I think I discovered I can actually print 125 millimeters I thought my limit was 120 I think I can afford to shave 2 millimeters and just ignore the 2 millimeters

BE CAREFUL when printing for food. Make sure you're using a BPA free, food-safe, etc.

Why? It doesn't need to go through FDA approval, or be sold to others. Just use at your own discretion :)

Because there are things even in PLA that are toxic for your body like the colour if it doesn't have a food-safe certificate.

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could you please post the half pint butter pig tail and body in two separate files thanks.

How much does the butter pig weigh?

You'll need about 124g of filament to print one. The pig tips the scales at a healthy 110g once the support material is removed (including the tail, body, and all three accessories) Coincidentally, that happens to also be the exact weight of a 1/4 pound stick of butter.

What are the chances of you being able to make the body a horizontal print with supports? My printer only has a 100mm Z-axis :( But has 150mm x 130mm X and Y axis

Or, possibly, to make a "butter pig lite" that holds a half-stick at a time?

@zombienerd I feel your pain. My printer isn't much bigger. I uploaded 2 new stl files for you. One has the pig laid down horizontally, I haven't tried to print it, but i think with good bridging/supports you could get it to work. I also went ahead and made a half-pig. It stands 98 cm tall, so it should fit, and probably still holds 3/4 stick of butter. Either way, be sure to upload a photo and let us know how it turns out :)

Awesome! Thanks. I'll add the half pint to the print queue tonight! I'll post pictures when finished. I'll be printing in PLA.

Amazing design, I'm planning on printing it. Do you have any suggestion for how to make it food safe? I guess just use PLA and don't use it too long? I've heard that the layers can collect bacteria otherwise. I guess since this isn't going in your mouth, it should be alright? Or use an acetone bath to smooth it?

jmidjettesr mentioned a food safe PETG filament a few comments up. FWIW, I've been printing them in ABS. We've used the same one for six months or so, and run it through the dishwasher a couple of times. It's held up so far, and no one has gotten sick or anything that I know of.

I love the design but I can't get it to come out of a printer in any useable form. Been fighting with it for a week. Slic3r prints it near flawlessly but doesn't have enough internal support so the last side of the main body becomes stringy on the inside rendering it useless. ReplicatorG provides enough support but then warps it to death thanks to a complete lack of control of how much support it's going to add. Replicator also forces you to raft it - and outside of a blow torch or belt sander I've not yet found a way to separate ReplicatorG's raft from a model. I also see you've had similar difficulty printing the 'spread' attachment. How'd you work that out?

I wish there was printer software that would SHOW me the support before I print and/or allow me to add/takeaway in certain places. Until that day comes, I have no idea how to make this work. Still love it though!

I am using Repetier. Free and full of awesome settings!!! 1st layer set at .30mm remaining layers set at .2. Using pillar supports and raft set at 4mm outwards and 3 layer height, lowered speed to 50% from 70%, Extruder temp at 230c and bed at 60c, fan set to always on w/auto control and low speed of 30 and high of 100, all on my homemade Prusa i3. Printing with .4mm nozzle extruding 1.75mm Glass PETG Filament : Glass series is PETG filament that is perfectly clear and super transparent with glossy finish

  • Commonly used in beverages, food, and other liquid containers
  • Has better flexible strength than ABS filament
    • Has great chemical resistance with good acidic and alkalic resistance

I will upload pics when I am done with the body. I have the crank and slides done so 6 more hours and the body will be done...

Try using Meshmixer for supports. It has a terrible user interface, but will generate and let you manually remove specific support edges. Also, free :)

Edit: I don't recommend using meshmixer for anything but selective vertex editing, watertighting, and making support. Like jmidjettesr, I recommend repetier (with slic3r) for printing. I currently use octoprint to actually control the printer, though.

I really love this design. The functionality is nifty, and the design has tons of personality. But it's very hard to print and clean as it's currently designed. So I'd like to make some suggestions to make it easier to print.

Specifically, I'd like to suggest that:

1) You add some small supports into the design, so that it can be printed without support generated by the software. For example, in the slots in the body, if you put in some thin vertical walls, those will support the rest of the body above it, and are much easier to remove than the generated support. Similarly, under the round feet that stick out of the body, add a 45 degree triangle supporting the bottom of each leg (towards the build platform). These supports can be easily broken out, and waste much less material (and work and time) than auto-generated support.

2) The spiral plunger should print vertically, standing on the flat end so it doesn't require any support. If you rework the cap a bit, it can also print flat to the print bed, arching up and around the plunger without quite touching it. And by eliminating all of the support around the plunger, it'll eliminate all of the cleaning, and the two parts won't stick together at all. You will need to add 45 degree supports to the bulbs on the handle, or (even better) make it a separate piece that attaches to it.

2a) Alternatively, you could split the plunger into two halves, lying flat. This would be stronger than printing vertically, but would need to be glued together.

3) The slicers would be stringer printed flat on the print bed. You'd need to make that side flat to the print bed, though.

Thank you for all the feedback! I like your ideas and will try to implement some of them when I find the time. For most of these, the reasons I didn't do them to begin with is because my printer is very bad at bridging, but very good at auto-generating supports. I also had very a limited amount of time to design this, to enter it in the icebox challenge.

After printing a couple dozen of these to give away as xmas presents, I've gotten really fast at what I jokingly call 'shucking' the pigs. The most difficult supports are in the slots in the body. I take a needle nose and remove the large back and forth squiggly things first. Then with a scalpel, gently pry away the remaining raft-like material. I could make a video tutorial or something, but most likely this procedure will vary a lot from one printer to another.

I am a little confused :P

I just printet this today, but can't understand how it works, :

whenever I want some butter I need to take of the tail, twist it, and then reassemble? I can't turn it with everything assembled?

You need to make sure the plunger rotates freely before you assemble it. I've updated the instructions to make that more clear. Sorry about that.

Hey Steve thanks for the reply.

I all the parts move freely but since the plunger fits the body so tightly there is no way the plunger can move around :)

The only way you can rotate the tail is by taking it out of the body :)

So I was wondering how you use it :)

Made one in pink PLA but the piggy tail end is REALLY SUPER TIGHT .. might have to file it a bit to be able to remove it without potentially breaking it.. otherwise a cute model..

My piggy tail won't turn when put into the body. That section is really tight and small, so I can't "break it" to get it to turn without eminent breaking of the shaft.

Try firmly holding it by the little box on the end of the screw, just next to the square thing that says butter pig on it. Then with the other hand, turn the square to break it loose. That way there isn't any stress on the screw/shaft. It sounds like you might also want to use more infill to make the tail stronger. Good luck :)

Haha very creative, It reminds me of play dough type tools

Any hints on slicing/printing settings? Layer, infill, shells?

Printed last night successfully using Clear PLA @ 210c, No HBP, Blue Tape at 50mm/s perm 100mm/s infill, 15% support, sliced with Cura. It assembled nicely and fit well but I have not tested it with butter yet.

I can only tell you the settings I use on the Up Plus2. 0.3mm layer height, ABS. Part: angle < 45, surface 3 layers. Support: dense 3 layers, space 8 lines, angle < 30, area > 5. It takes 8.5 hours on 'fine' quality, using 'loose' infill. Loose is the second highest infill setting. You'll want lots of infill to make it strong.

Thanks. I printed one PLA with 30% infill. Worked OK for half a stick of butter, then the face cracked off. I'm going to do one now with ABS at 65%, and afterward I'm going to vapor polish all the parts.

I would not use those materials for any food handling purposes.
ABS is toxic as well as the acetone. What ever you do, be safe! :)

SOunds like you might have layer adhesion issues, may want to up your temp a bit

Printed an orange one out last night. Thank you for sharing.
Design / Slicing works great in the ReplicatorG software. Pulling the supports out wasn't even as bad as I had anticipated.

very cool idea. Good job!

It's not slicing well at all in Kisslicer, I ran the parts and the plate through netfabb cloud and netfabb basic repair and it's not solid at all. I'm not showing any problems with the model just the slicing. It looks like a great model I really hope to print this.

I exported the models from Tinkercad. Would it help if I provided them in OBJ, X3D, or VRML format instead? (Sorry I don't know much about slicing. My printer handles that stuff automatically.)

Plate is not manifold. But other than that it's wonderful. It's really fun to watch the screw mechanism print. I haven't had as much fun watching a print in a long time.

What do you mean by 'not manifold'? Sounds like the other models are working ok for you then? Just the plate has issues?

"Not manifold" means that there are holes in the .stl mesh. It's also known as being watertight (i.e. you could submerge the virtual model in a virtual liquid and it wouldn't be able to fill that model). Mosts slicers should tell you if a model is manifold, and it can attempt to correct them but it usually doesn't work with a highly detailed model like yours. Usually, unless there are obvious gaping holes, the object should print fine.
I'm still trying to get the tail to print, but I'm going to try in ABS next.

I'm guessing this is caused by the tail containing three interconnected moving parts, the screw, nut, and plunger. Using the liquid analogy, the liquid would flow between those parts. Each of the parts is watertight though.

Really nice work! I recently posted a butter cutter myself and had considered this sort of design but I was concerned with the forces required to extrude it. I'd better get to work on another post for that contest now eh? Ha ha.

Ha! What are the odds? I was thinking about doing a pivoting design like yours as well. There's definitely a butter storage/dispensing niche that needs to be filled. Good luck to you!

Sweet! (pun intended) I agree, I hate having to prep just to use stick butter! I will be printing this!