3D Printed Autumn Rolling Pin: SOLIDWORKS Tutorial

I’m always looking at fun ways of using SOLIDWORKS, 3D printing and baking, plus autumn is one of my favorite seasons, so I decided to design an autumnal themed rolling pin. The rolling pin can be used for rolling out biscuit dough or icing and should leave you with an embossed pattern. The DXF of the pattern used in this tutorial can be downloaded here. You could create your own design or theme for your rolling pin, as long as it fits the tile size I have created, you also want to make sure that it patterns well. You can see below the tile size of my pattern is 52 by 49mm, to work this out, I needed to know the length and diameter of my rolling pin first. I decided to make my rolling pin 160mm to allow for a fillet on the ends, but worked my design to a 150mm length. Then I worked out the height of my flattened rolling pin using 2πr, I needed to do this to see how my design would fit, I could divide up the flat surface area to work out my pattern tile size for my DXF. For my 50mm in diameter rolling pin, I just multiplied 50 by Pi to make 157.

Once I have the main part of the rolling pin revolved, I added a new plane off the front plane in front of the rolling pin face. With the new plane selected, (but not activated as a sketch, as this will stop you importing DXF file) I can use insert DXF?DWG to bring in my DXF pattern. When the DXF options open, I untick the import as reference box, this allows you to move/edit a DXF when it comes in. I always check the import options are correct, in this case I exported in mm, so the units of imported data must match. If you use your own design, this may be different, it just depends on what units you exported your DXF in. I can then select finish, my DXF will come in to SOLIDWORKS as a sketch. My DXF sketch is center to the parts axis as I exported from in my vector software where it was center to the document page. I always do this to make it easier to work with in SOLIDWORKS, you can edit where a DXF comes in within the import options, or you can move a DXF sketch afterwards, but this just skips this step for me. You will notice that I don’t fully defining my sketch, this can be complicated to do as the sketch is so detailed, plus as its already in the correct position I can just close my sketch ready to wrap it.

Selecting the wrap tool feature, I need to start by selecting my DXF sketch, then the surface or face I want it to wrap onto. When I have made my selections a preview in yellow should appear to show you that the feature is going to work, I used the wrap method on Analytical, this is perfect for cylindrical faces. For wrap type I used deboss, which cuts the design into the part. You could wrap the entire patterned design onto the rolling pin, however with such a detailed design, it can be a lot of information to bring in as a sketch, so sometimes I like to do it in bitesize pieces.

Once the wrap is applied I could use linear in two directions and use circular pattern to apply the design all around the rolling pin. Another way of creating the same pattern, if this way is too complex for your computer to handle, you could try cutting away two thirds of the rolling pin, and circular patterning the bodies instead, this can be a little less information for SOLIDWORKS to figure out. I show you both options within the tutorial.

The final step is to add some handles to the rolling pin, you could revolve the whole rolling pin in one profile sketch, but just to simplify the modelling, I do this at the end. You may also want to 3D print the rolling pin without handles to save on print material, this can work too. Once the rolling pin was modelled I could use ‘save as’ to save it as an STL file for 3D printing.

I had my rolling pin printed in SLS Nylon PA12, this material is non-toxic and biocompatible, near watertight, and also has a good chemical resistance to oils and greasesso it should be safe enough to use for rolling biscuit dough.

My rolling pin wasn’t put through the polishing process through fears of losing the smaller details of the pattern, but this also makes the print surface a little rougher. To counteract this, is important when using it that you use plenty of flour on the rolling pin before rolling each time so that the amount of dough sticking into the rolling pin design is minimized.  I used my rolling pin on some ginger biscuit dough, and on some ready to roll out icing.


Jade Wilson
I am a 3D Designer and SOLIDWORKS Blog Contributor from the UK. I am a self taught SOLIDWORKS user, and have been using it to inform and create my designs since 2012. I specialize in the design of Ceramics, Home Accessories and Wooden Toy Design.