Chinese food has been a mainstream part of American culture since the 1970’s and is still evolving in today’s society. In America, Chinese food has deviated from its origins in order to accommodate the American palate. Technology, such as 3D printing, has changed the way we prepare and cook our food by providing another technique to create various foods. Restaurants and businesses that use 3D printers for research and development of new food items are eligible for R&D Tax Credits.
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.
A 3D printer and Autodesk Fusion 360 software can be utilized to create 3D printed dumplings. CAD software is used to generate 3D models that users can manipulate into different sizes, shapes, lengths, colors, etc. The personalized cutting molds and jigs are 3D printed to enable the user to easily create their own customized dumplings.
Food is hard to keep fresh and it’s even harder when you’re in space. NASA has always had a problem with keeping food fresh for astronauts but 3D printing could solve that problem by creating meals at any point in time from pre-stored ingredients. One type of food that can be created using a 3D printer is noodles; NASA is so devoted to the preservation of food that they are awarding $125,000 to Systems and Materials Research Consultancy of Austin, Texas to study the use of additive manufacturing of food in space. With this technology, astronauts could receive personalized meals that are both nutritious and fresher compared to the meals they are receiving now.
Students at Cornell Creative Machines Lab have developed a 3D printer that is capable of creating food with a wide range of materials. This printer has used scallops to create a rocket ship and batter to create a cake that displays a company logo when cut. This process of 3D printing food is referred to as Solid Freeform Fabrication. The printer uses a syringe to deposit any type of printing ingredient that is malleable enough to fit through the syringe nozzle. This type of printer provides people with a way to create their favorite treats at home, even Chinese fortune cookies.
Utensils & Tableware
Of course, food isn’t the only thing that can be 3D printed. Utensils such as forks, spoons, soup spoons, chopsticks, and chopstick stands can be printed as well. The company MakeXYZ allows customers to upload their own 3D model and MakeXYZ will print and ship it for them. This simple service allows customers to have full creative power without the need to own an expensive 3D printer. Restaurants that create 3D printed utensils and tableware may qualify for R&D tax credits.
Additive manufacturing has the potential to unlock a whole realm of creativity that was previously locked off to the general public. 3D printers, such as the ones at Cornell Creative Machines Lab, have enabled researchers and chefs to produce meals that weren’t possible using traditional cooking methods. Although 3D printers need improved production time in order to be viable in restaurants, there are countless possibilities to create new types of food items once this technology is perfected.
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Charles Goulding and John Chin of R&D Tax Savers discuss 3D printed food.