Doughnuts are the popular dessert snack that people cannot resist. In fact, Americans consume 2 billion dollars worth of doughnuts per year at the retail level. 3D printing will soon change the way doughnuts are made, allowing manufacturers to produce them at lower costs. Additionally, 3D printed doughnut making tools provide a fun way for people to make doughnuts together as well as an effortless way of manufacturing them at a larger scale.

The Research & Development Tax Credit

Enacted in 1981, the federal Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit allows a credit of up to 13 percent of eligible spending for new and improved products and processes. Qualified research must meet the following four criteria:

  • New or improved products, processes, or software
  • Technological in nature
  • Elimination of uncertainty
  • Process of experimentation

Eligible costs include employee wages, cost of supplies, cost of testing, contract research expenses, and costs associated with developing a patent. On December 18, 2015 President Obama signed the bill making the R&D Tax Credit permanent. Beginning in 2016, the R&D credit can be used to offset Alternative Minimum Tax and startup businesses can utilize the credit against $250,000 per year in payroll taxes.

Controlled Diets

The science of 3D printing food is moving in a direction where it will be easier to customize foods and diets will become more manageable. Jeffrey Lipton of Columbia University’s Creative Machines Lab and Seraph Robotics predicts that instead of eating half of a doughnut to avoid too many calories 3D printing will be able to provide a whole doughnut with the preferred amount of calories. This new era of data driven, customized, and 3D printed diets will allow people to monitor their health more closely, making the lives of people with strict dietary regimens easier.

3D Printed Accessories

Many people have been using their own CAD designs to print accessories that make their morning doughnut and coffee run a little more efficient. This custom-made, 3D printed Tim Hortons cup holder was created by the Vancouver-based company for a loyal customer. It is made out of corn-based plastic and eliminates the need for double cupping or cardboard sleeves.  Another public design uploaded on the website Pinshape is this latte lid spill saver. It is made to fit Dunkin Donuts lids but may also fit other brands’ lids as well. The lid spill saver is available for free download so anyone with a 3D printer and the right ink can print it for themselves. Other public CAD designs include doughnut shape cutters, doughnut hole cutters, and cup holders.

Doughnut Taco Cutter

[Image: anewcomb via Thingiverse]

One specific 3D printed tool allows doughnut enthusiasts to create their own doughnut taco. A team of young adults had the idea for a taco stuffed doughnut for a while but never knew how to approach the project. Thanks to the easiness and prevalence of 3D printers, they were able to bring their idea to life with the taco doughnut cutter. The tool hollows out the doughnut to allow room for taco ingredients such as meat, cheese, and guacamole. Due to its porous nature, the cutter cannot be used for more than a day as it easily allows for bacterial growth. But having your own 3D printed taco doughnut cutter makes for a great day of cooking with some friends.

Dozen’s Donuts

3D printing has even made its way into the fictional world of board games. In the game Dozen’s Donuts, Dr. Debbie Dozen is a scientist with a dream to create a 3D printing robot that prints out doughnuts for the world. The board game has the elements of a traditional match game with a twist; as cards are matched the board with the remaining cards is rotated in any direction, placing new cards in the empty spots which add to the challenge of remembering where cards are once they move.  The creators also made an app to go along with the physical game which keeps the score. After realizing that some people might download the app without having the physical board game, the developers instilled the option to print out everything you need from within the app itself as well as the ability to purchase the board game through Apple Pay and have it shipped home.

Conclusion

3D printing is slowly becoming more relevant in the food business. Although food 3D printers in homes are still far off, research and development is being done to discover the extent to how and where food can be 3D printed. Doughnuts, one of America’s favorite desserts, can benefit from this technology by being customized to an individual’s preferences and dietary needs as well as being enhanced by the many tools and accessories that can be printed.


Charles Goulding and Rafaella July of R&D Tax Savers discuss 3D printing in the food industry.

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