Professor Hacks a Delta 3D Printer Into a Perfect Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine

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icecreamDesktop 3D printing has become attractive to DIY’ers (do it yourself’ers), for the mere fact that the technology lends itself to complete customization of just about anything. From the things that can be designed and then 3D printed, to the 3D printers themselves, customization is a key aspect that attracts those interested in building and iterating upon their own designs.

For one Taiwanese man, named Chen Li-yuan, 3D printing also allowed him to develop what he says is the “perfect” soft serve ice cream machine. Chen is an assistant professor of industrial engineering and management at Chien Hsin University of Science and Technology.

Chen experience a problem within the soft serve ice cream industry when he and his wife went to get ice cream one day. His wife ended up getting in an argument with a staff member at the ice cream shop, when she claimed that she did not get the correct amount dispensed on top of her cone. Surely this is an argument which probably would not hold up very well in court, let alone with a store employee who has been serving ice cream for some time. This led Chen to come to a conclusion that there was a discrepancy problem within the “soft serve ice cream industry”. Who is to say what a fair size serving of ice cream is?

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“In recent years, the quality of soft serve ice cream at convenience stores has been poor due to unskilled staff and their time-consuming work,” said Chen. “Serving soft serve ice cream actually takes quite a bit of skill.”

icecream2So Chen decided to team with several of his students to develop his own unique soft serve ice cream machine, which is built on the architecture of a delta-style desktop 3D printer. His 3D ice cream serving machine allows for the creation of a variety of shapes, including square, circular, triangular and more, as well as the ability to program it to provide an “exact serving” for customers. It can “print out” the standard size, which Chen says is “three laps around the cone”, to large amounts as high as 10cm in height, replicating the famed Taipei 101 building. The machine allows for the ice cream to be perfectly extruded, allowing it to bear its own weight at heights beyond what most humans are capable of doing.

Chen has applied for patents for this unique device, and he believes that it could solve many problems that various ice cream vendors have. No longer will they be advertising a certain size in newspaper ads and television commercials and then have customers like Chen’s wife disappointed when they disagree on a serving size. If all goes as planned, Chen hopes to mass produce and sell these machines to various vendors. He expects the price to be set at around 150,000 New Taiwan Dollars (approximately $4,930 USD).

What do you think about this ice cream machine which is hacked out of a delta-style 3D printer? Discuss in the 3D Ice Cream Machine forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video below.

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