food printing is another hot topic in 3D printing

Print your edible marzipan frog

Would  you like to give your food all kinds of creative shapes to make it more interesting and appealing? You can pre-order your very own food printer right now.

Research organizations like TNO in the Netherlands have been experimenting with 3D printing of food for some time. They use foodstuffs like pasta and chocolate. Now it looks like there's a new player in town. Bocusini, a German company, has introduced a Kickstarter for a ready-to-use food printer, as well as cartridges filled with edible materials. Also, Bocusini intends to sell print heads that fit onto a range of open source 3D printers such as Ultimaker 2. The Kickstarter has reached its goal of $30,000 so we should expect these products on the market fairly soon. Bocusini is aiming to make this happen in 2015.

The Bocusini team say they can successfully print 30 different food products such as chocolate, marzipan, jelly and even chewing gum, as well as fruit purees, gelled vegetables, meat pate and cream cheese. Initially, pre-filled cartridges will be offered with choci, fudge and marzipan inside. More will be added later. At Bocusini.com a community will be set up to exchange recipes as well as 3D designs of foodstuffs. You can find many examples on the site already.

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It's interesting to note that Bocusini is dedicated to open technology. All parts of their printing system will be open source. This means you can build your own system from scratch, using information from their site. It means there will be more people who can help you repair a broken printer, with information that's easily available. For Bocusini, it means a bigger market and a bigger footprint on that market: more potential customers for either their printers, spare parts or cartridges.

Bocusini is building on open source technology. They've used the design of existing open source 3D printers to make a compatible product. So now you can buy a complete food printer from them, but if you own an open source based 3D printer all you need to buy is a food printer head that you can fit on the printer you already have. One of those is of course Ultimaker, that is dedicated to open source technology too. Again, the ability to buy just the printer head is a big advantage to the customer: it means they can have a food printer at a lower cost, and it means better use of a previous investment.

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With commercial 3D food printing on the way, lots of fun can be had by 3D printing veterans as well as home cooking enthusiasts and chefs. It'll be interesting to watch what happens when these groups start exchanging ideas...

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