The greatest changes usually creep up on us so slowly, that we do not notice how seriously they change our world. Moreover, they often come from a completely unexpected direction. Perhaps for 3D printers it could be the food that may contribute the most to make 3D printing at home more widespread? Let us consider the 3D catering branch and see how far things have progressed there.

Printing food in a home kitchen is still some way ahead. Still, there is nothing stopping the 3D printers used for culinary purposes from becoming popular in restaurants and catering companies, as well as in homes, indeed, where right now the kitchen shelves creak under the weight of waffle makers, bread making sets, cake decorators or pasta and cookie makers. The kitchen appliances industry is not as huge as mobile telephony, which our editor likes to use as a point of reference, however, it is clearly widespread and present in many homes. If only a part of the equipment were replaced by “gastro-printers”, it would still mean tens of millions of devices – a number which would eclipse the number of 3D printers involved in any other industry.

Nor is there any particular reason for gastro-3D-printing can not become widespread. The complexity level of a gastro-printer is similar to the challenge posed by a waffle or a pasta maker. Cleaning after use? Anyone who uses a food processor knows that such devices must be cleaned. Children can get burned by a hot element? Does anyone not know that children should keep hands away from stoves and toasters? Meanwhile, the possibilities of gastro-printers will certainly repay you the effort. Especially, since only the chef's imagination the is limit.

The 3D Systems company recognized this potential and began to invest in gastro-printing marketing. A few months ago the Culinary Lab was officially opened, for chefs and all the “mixologists and culinary innovators”, in order to “experience the intersection of traditional culinary craft and 3D printing”. Perhaps this is one of the early birds heralding the kitchen revolution, after all, big companies do not spend money for no reason. But it is not the only bird. Today, we can in fact assert there is quite a flock. Here are some of them:

ChefJet Pro 3D printer

Touted as the “world’s first professional food 3D Printer”. Considerable size and multi-material capability should make it a tool for masters and artists. It operates mainly in sugar and sweets.

XYZPrinting gastro-printer

Mutlimaterial printer, operating in chocolate, sugar, cake, icing, etc. A large machine, for large homes. Next to the 3D Systems machines, the most seriously promoted device on the list.

Foodini 3D food printer by Natural Machines

The Foodini printer aims to be a universal kitchen tool. It can print a variety of dishes, savory as well as sweet. They include pasta (ravioli, gnocchi, spaghetti), hamburgers, chicken fingers, pizza bases, as well as biscuits, crackers and chocolate.

Although the further thermal processing is the responsibility of the user, Foodini is touted as a machine that does the more arduous part of food preparation for us, which is usually the reason why people do not cook themselves.

NuFood Robot 3D Food Printer

NuFood Robot is another printer which would like to be viewed as universal, which should undoubtedly become a big hit in the spheres of the vanguard molecular cuisine. Unlike other gastro-3D-printers, whose operation essentially boils down to the liquefaction of a given component and extruding it in another shape without changing its content, the NuFood Robot combines different flavours to create something entirely new, which enables the users to choose the colour, taste, texture, shape and the nutritional value of a selected dish.

Bocusini

Bocusini is an opensource gastro-printer 3D which aims to maximally simplify food printing by means of a plug & play system. Users can design their dishes via an internet platform. Bocusini was field tested with over 30 natural food ingredients, sweet and savory, including puddings, meringues, mousses and fruit jams, pies and processed cheese.

RoVaPaste

The machine advertised as easy to clean and maintain. Tested in sugars, ornaments, chocolate and nut creams, ice cream, honey, mustard, melted cheese, etc. The first printer with a dual head. The powerful extruder also allows non-edible materials, including silicone, plaster, clay, epoxy, putty, etc.

Barilla 3D Printed Pasta

A 3D printer, which find its place in the restaurants, manufactured under the brand name of a pasta manufacturer, the Italian company Barilla. The device has been developed since 2013. The gastro-printer's specialty is, of course, fancy pasta. Barilla does not waste any time and has already conducted competitions to find the most elaborate pasta shape. The last year edition's winner was a project of a pasta in the shape of a rose which dynamically grows while boiling.

Jelly-gummy printers

Katje’s Magic Candy with dedicated natural vegan filament, printed in multiple colours. Currently only sweet results of its work are in sale.

The GumJet Generation 1 printer – is still in the prototype phase. The creators of device keep hinting of a patent and a contract with a university. Perhaps this is not just an inflated... gummy balloon.

Chocolate printers


A material which has already been mentioned in various instances. Many prototypes of chocolate printers did not survive until further development and ended their lives as curiosities in the social media and the industry portals. A few, however, seem to be developing still.

Such examples include QiaoKe, Choc Creator 2.0 Plus and CocoJet.

Pancake printers

The pancake-printers are a curiosity which do not entirely fit the list of 3D printers. However, due to their simplicity there is a good chance they might become a very popular curiosity. There are various devices available on the market.

PancakeBot is one of the most popular appliances in the category. At the prototype stage it used to be, in fact, made of... Lego blocks. The retail price is below $ 300.

Discov3ry

This is not an actual printer, more of a removable “tip” which allows printing of soft materials. The idea, indeed brilliant in its simplicity, stealing the thunder of the printer manufacturers who offer multifunctional devices.

According to the manufacturers tip fits “virtually all 3D printer”. It is suitable for experiments with edible materials and costs $ 399.

Bon appetit everyone!

Bartosz Kuczyński
Translator, lecturer and creator of didactic games in company Luderis. Increased a potential of 3D printers in 2012.

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