Over the past couple of years, most of us have likely read or viewed a program about 3D printers. Watch a 3D printer in action and you’ll likely gape in awe. You would probably also fall asleep; 3D printers are not the fastest things on the planet. However, it has to be said that these phenomenal whatchamahoozies can accomplish truly amazing feats that would have been downright scary fifty years ago.
Don’t think you need a 3D printer in some form or fashion in your life? Think again.
Can’t find that one perfect pair of earrings for your big date this weekend? Print yourself a stunning one-of-a-kind pair. One step away from completing your Lego masterpiece but you’re a few pieces shy? You guessed it: have a few blocks printed and you’re good to go. Need to lock up your valuables but can’t find the right lock? Turn to Thingiverse for a fully functioning printed padlock.
Let’s face it: it’s income tax time and sooner or later you’ll be flush with greenbacks. Once you pay down on those outstanding Christmas credit card bills and repay your Uncle Bud for the cash he floated you back in October, you might have a grand or two lying around just itching to be spent. Unfortunately, you’ll likely need more than that for a 3D printer, but it was a nice thought while it lasted.
If, however, you still have an overwhelming urge to print in 3D and you have an affinity for creating in the kitchen, a 3D food printer may be just the thing to satiate your palate. The culinary world’s game has just been stepped up a notch. While a regular 3D printer prints with plastics, 3D food printers make use of edible ingredients.
Shut the front door!
One such 3D food printer that is due out on the market as a mass produced product during the second half of 2015 is Foodini. Foodini will come in at a relatively manageable price tag of around $1,000 and has the ability to print either sweet or savory foods as long as they fit into the tube and can be extruded. Sounds pleasant, no?
The process involves reusable capsules that are then filled with paste-like ingredients. As far as how the food tastes, Natural Machines, the makers of Foodini, stresses that because the user can choose fresh ingredients to go into the capsules for printing, not only is the food geared towards their palate, but it is a healthier option over additive-laden processed foods. See a [silent] demo below of Foodini printing spaghetti.
[Video credit: Natural Machines]
One of the coolest 3D food printing innovations is the second generation Choc Creator 2.0 which allows for printing custom 3D chocolate treats. The Choc Creator 2.0 has a compact three-dimensional motion platform and a compartment that keeps the chocolate at a constant temperature. Chocolate can be printed directly printed onto cakes, cookies, paper and more.
Speaking of a sweet tooth, the ChefJet Pro 3D from 3D Systems is a full-color 3D printer that prints in … wait for it … sugar! The ChefJet Pro comes in a variety of recipes, including sour apple, watermelon, mint, vanilla, sour apple and cherry. As with its likely nemesis, Foodini, the ChefJet Pro 3D is expected availability is the second half of 2015. On a related note, 3D Systems recently announced its collaboration with The Culinary Institute of America. From the press release:
This joint collaboration includes the development of a series of conferences and seminars for the CIA community supported by new state-of-the-art food 3D printing technologies located at CIA campuses. Additionally, 3DS plans to provide CIA students with fellowship and internship programs at The Sugar Lab, its Los Angeles based 3D printing culinary innovation center.
The CIA plans to incorporate 3D printing technology into their curriculm. As such, the CIA will commence a beta testing program with the ChefJet Pro in an effort to allow students and faculty the opportunity to explore the merging of 3D food printing and artisan culinary methods.
[Video credit: 3D Systems]
“Our collaboration with the CIA provides the culinary community with a unique opportunity to explore and experience the open-ended possibilities of fusing 3D food printing with traditional culinary arts,” said Avi Reichental, President and CEO, 3DS.
3D Systems has also thrown its hat into the chocolate ring with the release of Cocojet, a collaborative effort between 3DS and The Hershey Company. While thte Cocojet is ideal for a chocolatier or baker, far more people can loose their minds in chocolate culinary creations as well. It’s culinary printing at its sweetest. So much chocolate, so little time . . .
[Video credit: 3D Systems]
The world of 3D printing has exploded exponentially. It seems that it is only limited by the imagination. If it has a consistency that can fit into a tube, it can be produced in layer upon layer in 3D. Technology truly is amazing.
So what about you . . . would you eat 3D printed food?