Chef, please can you print some chocolate cubes for me? Yes, it’s true. 3D Systems is well known for its 3D food printing technology, notably the Chef Jet Pro 3D Printer. Recently, while I was flipping the news channels, I was quite amazed by this 3D printer, which looks like a little microwave oven, and was featured at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas this year.
As a matter of fact the gigantic chocolate company Hershey has jumped onto the 3D printing bandwagon and could soon be bringing all sorts of crazy chocolate shapes et al. Hey Willy Wonka, are you listening?? They actually have a contract to print and develop 3D, delicous, edible sweets.
And it doesn’t end there, another big pasta company announced that it was working with a Dutch company to develop a 3D printer capable of producing 15 to 20 pieces of pasta every two minutes.
The Chef Jet and the Chef Jet Pro, both are capable food-safe 3D printing. Both printers are fully certified and ready to head to the kitchen this year. Also, what can be printed are a variety of candies made of mixes of quick-hardening edibles — starches and cocoa powder to print chocolate.
Chef Jet and the Chef Jet Pro could put you back by US$ 5k to 10K. A process that ends up being quite simple to explain. A layer of fine, dry sugar is laid down, into which an inkjet printhead jets water onto the surface of what will eventually become the hardened pieces of the object. The water re-crystalises the sugar and hardens it. And finally, once the sculpting is done, the excess sugar falls away. Way to go, Techofreakochefs!