Chocolate 3D printers are spawning a new dimension in culinary creativity. In general, chocolate 3D printing is just a subset of the coming revolution in 3D printed food. Whereas we see tremendous growth in food units, chocolate 3D printing is enticing us to produce our own imaginary candyland. Since chocolate is an easier medium to melt, heat, and extrude (compared to regular food), it’s only natural to see dedicated custom sweets take the world by storm. 3D food and chocolate printing go hand in hand. Future designs will offer the ability to create intricate foods, chocolates, or sugar candies.
In 2011, the French Culinary Institute teamed with Cornell University’s Fab@Home project to refine their 3D food printer design. Fab@Home will produce various foods including chocolate. Riding on the heels of this design, a number of chocolate 3D printers for sale are quietly making their way into kitchens, bakeries, candy shops, and department stores. Design on demand services for candy are also becoming popular. The order is placed, the unit whirls into action producing 3D chocolate objects, and shipped to the buyer. In 2014, the Hershey Company announced a partnership with 3D Systems to offer custom 3D printable chocolate using their online store. This also includes an upcoming chocolate 3D printer unit to be released in the Fall.
Candy entrepreneurs are jumping on the bandwagon. Custom 3D printing bakeries are appearing in local neighborhoods. Restaurants will soon add custom deserts to their menu. Candy shops are now attracting new customers with custom chocolate designs. Using a dedicated chocolate 3D printer, customers choose or upload a design for production. For additional novelty, some stores offer the ability to 3D scan your own head or body and produce a chocolate model of it to eat!
There are a number of 3D chocolate printers for sale now. 3D Systems recently demonstrated the ChefJet at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. Although these are designed for high-end kitchens and restaurants, 3D Systems plans to release a home and food version soon. While Natural Machines’ Foodini is capable of 3D printing pizza and pasta, it also produces custom chocolate designs. Meanwhile, ChocEdge’s Choc Creator v1 is the first dedicated 3D chocolate printer for sale for mass marketed home use. It utilizes open source software and will produce 3D or 2D designs in chocolate. Choc Creator extrudes successive layers to form solid or hollow chocolate objects.
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