Valentine's might be over, but who can really resist a chocolate treat any time of the year. Especially when it comes in a bite-size form of a Ford Mustang that will surely give car lovers with a sweet tooth something to drool over.
Makerbot might be the current household name when it comes to 3D printing, but 3D Systems might soon be the darling of the kitchen. Showcased as CES 2014 last month, the company's Chef Jet and Chef Jet Pro 3D printers are aiming to do what 3D printers have done for the hobbyist world: making it easy for almost anyone to print out astounding 3D models. The difference is that 3D Systems produces something you can chew on, literally.
3D Systems' food printers work pretty much the same as other 3D printers that build up an actual 3D product layer by layer. In this case, the layers are made up of sugar, cocoa powder, or starch. Once a layer of the desired powder has been set, inkjet heads spray water in the indicated pattern that will crystalize the sugar on that layer. After that, another layer of powder is poured and the process is repeated until the final sugary product is complete.
This time, the company is revealing its collaboration with popular car maker Ford to create a confectionery version of its Mustang line. Here, cocoa powder is used instead of sugar in order to produce a chocolate bar bearing the semblance of the car. The same process is applied, with layers and layers of chocolate powder blasted by water from inkjet heads. Once the printing is over, the excess power is brushed off from the product and will later be heated and finished to make it look more like a delectable dessert.
3D Systems also announced at CES 2014 that they will be working with The Hershey Company to produce 3D printed chocolates, though we haven't heard from that since. Unfortunately for those now eager to get their hands on such a device to produce their chocolate masterpiece, the Chef Jet and Chef Jet Pro aren't marketed for home use just yet and will be making their way to professional bakers, chefs, and chocolatiers first. But who knows. If this catches on, we might be seeing small kitchen versions in the future as well.