A bonbon engraved with your mom's face? 3D printer works in chocolate
Sunday 10 July 2011
British scientists have developed what they say is the world's first 3D chocolate printer.
In a YouTube video posted July 4, engineers from the University of Exeter show a mock-up of a machine that could be used commercially in chocolate boutiques in the future to help consumers personalize their chocolate gifts.
Here's how it works: after downloading specially-designed software, consumers can create a design for their chocolate. Once finished, they press the send button which delivers the 3D image to the printer.
Molten chocolate is piped through nozzles which then create the design by building up layers of successive chocolate on a small 'bed' that also moves. Moments later, the consumer's custom-designed chocolate - be it an electric guitar, a pair of lips or an aardvark, depending on the designer's drawing ability - is finished and can be picked up at the chocolatier's shop.
"This opens up the possibility of a much wider participation, a much fuller participation of the consumer in the production process," explains one of the scientists.
The concept, also known as 'co-creation,' can also be applied for other mediums, the engineers point out, but chocolate is the easiest.
The technology has been tested in mediums like jewelry, footwear, architecture, engineering, construction, automotive, aerospace, dental and medical industries.
One major failure of the video, however, is that nowhere in the four minutes is there an actual demo of how the machine.
And one YouTube commenter, 'beerathon,' is disappointed scientists have yet to create a 3D application for porcine products.
"When somebody invents a bacon? printer, then I'll be really impressed," they wrote.
Watch the video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIFi8but3Vw.
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