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chocolate bar in the shape of Mrs. Claus
Students developed a Mrs. Claus chocolate bar mold.

Students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s College of Engineering used their advanced engineering skills to create custom 3D printed chocolate molds for local Mānoa valley chocolatier, Choco leʻa, just in time for the holidays. The students, who are enrolled in a senior-level advanced additive manufacturing course taught by Assistant Professor Tyler Ray, developed a unique Mrs. Claus-shaped chocolate bar, adding a festive touch to Choco leʻa‘s offerings.

person taking chocolate out of the molds
Students toured the shop in the fall 2022 semester.

Custom chocolate molds can be costly for small businesses, but Ray and his students worked with Choco leʻa to provide the customized molds at no charge, helping the company save on costs while giving the students valuable hands-on experience in engineering design and production. This collaboration between the College of Engineering and Choco leʻa was initiated in the spring of 2022, when the students first designed and created decorative chocolate molds for the local business.

During the fall semester, the students had the opportunity to visit Choco leʻa and see firsthand how the molds they designed and printed are used to produce the delectable treats. The team at Choco leʻa, which is owned by UH Mānoa alumna Erin Kanno Uehara, also visited the students at the College of Engineering to hear about their design and creation process.

Kanno Uehara wrote on her website, “To put work and school together to benefit both parties is what I call a sweet win-win relationship!”

people smiling at the camera in a shop

person putting chocolate into a mold

people talking in a classroom
Choco leʻa employees visited the College of Engineering in the fall 2022 semester.
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