Mink Founder, Grace Choi Hacks a $70 2D Printer to 3D Print Lipstick, Eye Shadow and Nail Polish

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By now you have probably heard of Harvard Business School Graduate Grace Choi’s incredible new 3D printer which she plans on launching sometime next year, called Mink. The device has been touted as a game changer within the $55 billion cosmetic industry, and could certainly be just that if it is priced right and includes a simple user interface.

Choi, an entrepreneur ahead of her time, has a knack for electronics. She recently attended a hackathon called MHacks, at the University of Michigan. There to speak, she also took part in some hardware hacking herself. She took an ordinary desktop 2D printer, which you could find in any home or office, and turned that printer into a 3D makeup printer. Choi has since uploaded a video showing the entire process in which she use a $70 Hewlett Packard printer to produce lipstick, nail polish, and eye shadows of virtually any color. She also provided a more elaborate series of instructions to Business Insider for those interested to partaking in this hack.

mink-feat

What you will need to get started are:

  • Inkjet Printer. She recommends an HP 6100 which retails for around $69.99.
  • Refillable inkjet cartridges
  • Software like Photoshop which allows for hex code generation via an image
  • Edible Ink (Search Google)
  • Screwdriver and pliers

Once you have these materials, you are ready to begin the hardware hack of your printer.

  1. First, you will need to reduce the feed tray to the smallest width possible, and cut a piece of paper to a size which just fits into the tray. The paper will be what triggers the printer.mink1
  2. Next, you will want to tear off the foam on the print bed with pliers. The foam can be accessed via the front panel of the printer.
  3. Now take your empty inkjet cartridges and fill them with the edible ink. Fill each cartridge with the appropriate color, and place them into the printer.
  4. It’s that simply, your printer is now ready to begin printing both eye shadow, and lipstick.

The color desired can be selected within a software like Adobe Photoshop. Simply input the hex code of the color you prefer, and paint the entire page on the screen that color. Place white eye shadow, lipstick or lip gloss into a small tin as shown in the video, and align it to the left side of the print bed. Because the feed tray is reduced, the printer will only print in a small area, not wasting much ink. It will quickly print the color you chose onto the eyeshadow tray, or the lipstick, which can then be applied to the face. The printer is only printing on the top layer of the base makeup, so when the small amount is used, the white base underneath can be used again for your next custom makeup print.

mink2

The nail polish hack is a bit more complicated, and probably not worth the time it will take to hack the printer to achieve the end goal, but you can see the full instructions here. Choi’s main drive stems from her desire to disrupt the cosmetic mink3space, by not only selling her Mink 3D printer, but also teaching people how to use current devices to print makeup as well.

“The makeup industry makes a whole lot of money on a whole lot of bullshit,” Choi explained during her TechCrunch Disrupt presentation. “They charge a huge premium on something that tech provides for free. That one thing is color.”

Let us know if you have tried any of these hacks, and how they turned out. Discuss in the 3D printed makeup forum thread on 3DPB.com. Below is the video quickly showing these makeup hacks in action (Note that there is some profanity in the background music).

 
 

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