3D Chocolate Printer looks as quite an amusing name at the first glance. It makes you want to know what it really does. The 3D Chocolate printer allows you to create your own designs on a computer and reproduce them physically in three dimensional form in to chocolate.
This interesting project is funded as part of the Research Council UK Cross-Research Council Programme - Digital Economy and is managed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) on behalf of ESRC, AHRC and MRC. It is being led by the University of Exeter in collaboration with the University of Brunel and software developer Delcam.
The technology used behind the production is not new. It has been in the industry for some time now, but all they had produced was 3D plastic and metal products. This is the first time that it has been applied to chocolate, making it the world's first 3D chocolate printer. The research work has given a glimpse of the sweet opportunities that technologies give rise to.
Among the different challenges faces by the team, one was that the chocolate is not an easy material to work with because it requires accurate heating and cooling cycles. Researchers integrated these variables with the correct flow rates and found solutions with the development of new temperature and heating control systems.
Research leader Dr Liang Hao, at the University of Exeter said, "What makes this technology special is that users will be able to design and make their own products. In the long term it could be developed to help consumers custom - design many products from different materials but we’ve started with chocolate as it is readily available, low cost and non-hazardous. There is also no wastage as any unused or spoiled material can be eaten of course! From reproducing the shape of a child’s favourite toy to a friend’s face, the possibilities are endless and only limited by our creativity".
Check out the following video to find out more