We recently covered iMakr‘s Digical Show in London, which I attended remotely via a telepresence robot. Besides conducting an interview with Romain Kidd, the CEO of MyMIniFactory, I had the opportunity to speak with a few of the exhibitors at the show. Among this select group was Melissa Snover, Managing Director at Katjes Fassin UK Ltd., the makers of the Magic Candy Factory. If you don’t know about Magic Candy Factory, you’re in for a treat, it’s the world’s first 3D gummy candy printer.
Magic Candy Factory’s mission is to pave the way for the consumer food printing market to move from enthusiast to mass adoption. They’re making 3D printing really easy to use with their plug-and-play design app that allows customers with no understanding of g-code, slicing parameters or CAD modeling to create a design that can incorporate 3D shapes, drawings, photographs and messages. The software automatically turns it into a 3D render, which the customer can “color” with any flavor they choose, which is then turned into g-code and sent to the 3D printer. The printer then makes that model into a 3D printed gummy.
“This concept allows us to make the customer into the creator, into a Willy Wonka of their own,” says Snover. “Children as young as 3 years old, grandma and grandpa, everybody from one side of the spectrum to the other can engage with 3D printing for the first time in a really fun and positive way.”
It takes less than 5 minutes to print a gummy. That’s fast! Customers can watch their gummies being made in real time. So how does the Katjes Magic Candy Factory printer do it? Well, part of the secret is in the details, or in this case the lack thereof. The resolution of the gummy printer is 1.2mm or in maker speak, 1,200 microns. Those are some big print layers! Still, we’re talking about 3D printing candy, which is undeniably cool.
Magic Candy Factories are sprouting up all over the US; New York, LA, Chicago and Miami at Dylan’s Candy Bar locations. There are Magic Candy Factory printers all over the world and by the end of the year there will be over 100 printers in the market, which is pretty impressive considering that the printers were launched in March. Snover believes that candy is the best choice right now for 3D food printing, explaining:
“To make Sunday dinner, to print a roast chicken is too far of a jump. Candy’s always been forms and colors. Your mom never made you gummy candy in the kitchen on Sunday. And so it’s easier for the customer not to see it as a cold machine taking away something that they might feel is heritage or authentic. Instead, it’s a magical device that allows them to become a creator of their own candy. And it’s been working really well. The consumers’ reaction has been really fantastic. The children’s faces are mesmerizing to watch and for them to grow up in a place where they never have to know a world where they couldn’t make their own creations, is wonderful.”
I dropped in at Dylan’s Candy Bar’s Union Square location in Manhattan, to see the gummy printer in person. It’s an unassuming machine with its own station towards the back of the store. Examples of gummy prints were on display. Magic Candy Factory’s gummies are vegan, and are gluten-, dairy- and nut-free. According to their website, “They are made with vegetable based gelling agents and all natural fruit and vegetable extracts to create something as natural as it is delicious.” They are also FDA approved and are suitable for Kosher, Halal and Hindu compliant consumption. The gummy paste comes in syringes, three of which can be loaded into the machine at the same time (there’s a single extruder, so prints are done in one flavor). After printing “magic” dust is sprinkled on the candy, then it’s ready to eat or give to someone special.
The Magic Candy Machine is not available commercially, but you can still own one if you’ve got good design skills. MyMiniFactory has teamed up with Katjes to offer one of their exclusive Magic Candy Machines to the Grand Prize winner in their design competition. That’s right, you could win a 3D gummy candy printer and a year’s supply of Gummy Candy for the machine! The prize package is worth $36K (£30K). That’s one expensive printer, which is not currently available to buy anywhere in the world, and a lot of raw gummy just waiting to become scrumptious 3D printed treats.
The design constraints of the contest are quite simple. You just create a low-resolution, support-free 3D model that is optimized for printing in gummy candy. It has to print well at 1.2mm resolution and be support free. Keep in mind that it must be your own original design and family friendly. You’ll want to take a good look at their designer resources.
Below is a video of the Magic Candy Factory printer in action and an interview with Melissa Snover at the Digical Show: