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3D printers in the kitchen

Not all of the exciting developments in 3D printing are confined to engineering or medicine. There are also other, more delicious, possibilities – like 3d printed food.

3D printing and computer aided design allow for a degree of precision and flexibility that would inevitably be utilised in the culinary arts. The concept of 3D printed food was only ever a small step from 3D printing using materials such as PLA. Sugar, dough, sauces and so forth are all materials easily used in the printing process and are all easy to source and relatively inexpensive.

Available since mid 2015, the Chefjet by 3D systems is the world’s first 3D food printer aimed directly at consumers. While solely a confectionery printer, the Chefjet promises to be able to print in a variety of flavours and materials including chocolate and hard candy. Advertised as “kitchen ready” the Chefjet may mean that so long as you can design it using the custom software, you’ll soon be able to gorge on it.

3D printed food in space

As if that wasn’t cool enough, 3D food printers may even play an important role in space exploration. NASA has been busy at work investigating the use of this technology in life support systems for astronauts in deep space. The rationale behind introducing this technology onto spacecraft is the desire to probe further into the depths of space, and therefore having manned missions that are longer in duration. 3D food printers are a viable way of helping this become a reality as they allow for a greater range of food products while decreasing the space needed for storage and production. Though this might be some years away, 3D food printers could become a standard part of an astronaut’s kit.