AMS Spring 2023

French Company Babines Uses 3D Printing to Make Whimsical Lollipops

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Some argue that popular culture icons are for the birds, while a French company has taken this in a different direction: lollipops. Candy-making is definitely an age-old, and quaint, artisan trade. But the very contemporary Babines, which is based in Paris, sees candy-making, and more specifically “pacifiers,” or “lollipops,” as an opportunity to merge the traditional confectionery trade with emerging 3D printing technology. This is all done using your favorite pop culture symbols, like the dollar sign or the Facebook “Like” symbol, and you can custom order them for your own brand, too.

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Here, the company explains its philosophy (loosely translated from the French) as blending new technology with old confectioner craftsmanship:

“This project is a symbol of a new craft that explores technological innovation to reinvent, to reconnect with the times. New technologies and traditional trades are not incompatible. They are, we believe, complementary.”

Babines is a philosophy (and aesthetic) very much in line with the new international urban return to artisan trades, with a high-tech spin, that we also witness on the streets of other international cities — like New York and San Francisco. Old meets new. Quaint cottage industry designs meet cutting edge technologies. That’s the new commercial era, it seems, and Babines is right there, making its pop-culture themed lollipops for all to, well, lick!

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In a YouTube video (watch below), the company explains a bit more about how 3D printing plays into its lollipop production process. “The forms aren’t directly 3D printed onto a stick, are they?” you might ask. Well, there are 3D food printers, but here Babines explains that the lollipop forms are designed, modeled, 3D printed, and poured into molds in the Paris studio. Then, to get a little more quaint about finishing off the product, a confectioner in the Loire, near St-Etienne, hand pours (here’s the real artistry part) the finished lollipops.

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So, first the lollipop is designed and modeled. Then the model is 3D printed, and molds are made. A confectioner hand pours the sugar and other ingredients into the molds, resulting in the finished lollipop. Oh, and don’t forget the stick!

As the Babines website describes, it can also make customized lollipops for brand advertising purposes. Babines can model any shaped lollipop and produce small and medium sized batches, too, for “a completely new advertising product of outstanding quality.”

Just as companies invest in all kinds of expensive marketing campaigns, including giving out free samples, Babines is banking on companies to invest in lollipops as mini commercials. The going price is now €5.00/lollipop, so that’s a reasonable investment compared to the price of a billboard or a television commercial these days. These could be a hit at special events, too: as bridal shower or wedding favors, at birthday parties… The list of places to wield your 3D printed, custom-designed lollipops is endless!

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The only question we need to answer now is: “How many licks does it take to get to the end of a 3D printed Babines lollipop?”

Discuss this story in the 3D Printed Lollipop forum on 3DPB.com. You can view Babines’ video about how these lollipops are made below:

 

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