The production of food by machines is a fact of modern food production, from pasta, to Twinkies, to canned foods, raw ingredients are processed in factories all over the world. The only problem is each piece of food is identical, no customization or personalization is possible. Enter 3D Printing. If 3D Printing is considered being in infancy, then printing food is still in the womb. We now have so many tools at our disposal, open-source or not that it’s possible to print in sugar, chocolate, pasta, and more, just by replacing the standard toolhead with one that extrudes softer ingredient materials. Below are just a few of the projects that are growing in the food printing space with large photos to illustrate the yumminess of the prints…and failures! While it can seem like just a fun way to eat sweets on the surface, 3d printing food has ramifications that could help feed the worlds poor, provide elderly with nutrient-rich foods, or provide astronauts in space with a little more variety in a confined space than pouches of powder.
Follow each link below to learn more about buying or making your own 3D Food Printer!
Digital Food | Columbia Engineering
The above video shows what the folks at Columbia University in NYC’s School of Engineering, under the direction of Mechanical Engineering Professor Hod Lipson think about printing food, even going as far as creating a machine that also cooks the food after printing it. Make sure to watch the
behind the scenes video for more!
The first 3D printer I ever saw was actually a machine designed to create models from sugar. It used heated air to fuse a sugar bed layer into wondrous geometric shapes. It ultimately was not mass manufactured but at a time when desktop 3d printing machines were coming online in 2009, it was surely a creative influence on many.
Read more about the CandyFab machine!
What’s not to love about Pancake bot? What started as a fun family Maker Faire project made out of Legos has turned into a full-fledge product that dispenses pancake batter in shapes that you load into their custom made software.
Printrbot, a well-respected 3d printer company, created a commercial paste extrusion system that can be added to their printers. This innovation has also lead to the below product collaborations, the Bocusini, and the Magic Candy Factory.
Bocusini calls itself “…the world’s first Plug & Play Food Printing System” and hosts a myriad of recipes an ingredients in this turnkey system that comes with all the hardware and software you need to create your own edible art!
Magic Candy Factory
The Magic Candy Factory is indeed a magical place where people can not only buy candy but design and create their own custom piece of candy right in the store.
Discovery Extruder is a very refined DIY paste extrusion system that can be retrofitted into any 3d printer, even as a second extruder. While is can indeed extrude exotic materials like silicone, it can also extrude materials like Nutella!
Ultimaker Syringe Extruder
This printable open-source design gives you a paste extruder for things like nutella, peanut butter and chocolate. Like all of Joris’ designs it has a unique solution, it uses the filament itself as a cable to pull the stopper down and extrude whatever you load into the syringe.