When it comes to 3D printing, there are few printing materials which get people as excited as food does. Perhaps it’s the multi-sensory aspects of printing objects that can both be appreciated aesthetically as well as taste wise, or maybe I’m just really hungry right now.
There are numerous companies working on their own versions of food printers, and a variety of edible materials are being used. There is little doubt that eventually such machines will work their way into the kitchens of restaurants as well as individual’s homes, but this may take time as the technology is still very rudimentary.
One company based out of Beijing, China, called North Branch Everbright, wants to make this a reality sooner rather than later. Recently, at the 2015 Beijing Urban Science Festival, the company revealed their brand new Qiao Food 3D Printer, and boy did it attract the eyeballs of children and adults alike. The company was on hand with their printers, fabricating chocolate treats from simple drawings that children would create at their booth.
“Yesterday my child’s classmates from the city wanted to go back to the Festival to see the chocolate 3D printer once again,” explained Ms. Lee, a festival attendee. “I brought my son today and had never thought that chocolate 3D printing could be so beautiful.”
The beauty isn’t only found in the printed creations themselves, but the Qiao Food 3D Printer is a work of art in itself. With a silver and black frame and pale blue lighting illuminating the build chamber, the machine appears to be something straight out of a science fiction novel. The printer, which has a refrigerated build envelope of 120 x 120 x 150mm, and can print layers as fine as 0.4mm, will officially come to market next month.
“The reason we have so much confidence in this machine is because of our unique technology on the inside,” explained Hu Yi Xiong, the marketing director for North Branch Everbright. “It’s impossible to clog the print head. Operation is very simple, with a full-color touch screen, and you can connect via wifi. Online models are available for download, and there is no need to set parameters for printing. We have food hygiene licenses for our chocolate material, and the material contact parts are 100% food grade. For instance the printing platform is a food grade PP material, and the print nozzles are 304 stainless steel.”
The company plans on introducing a simplified software via an app for smartphones and tablets which will allow children and adults to quickly draw a picture and turn that picture into a 3D model before it’s sent to the printer and turned into a chocolately-good treat. The company anticipates that the primary market for the Qiao Food 3D Printer will be museums, bakeries, restaurants, and perhaps even schools, as it’s a perfect device to get children excited about a tremendous technology which will undoubtedly be a major part of their future.
Let’s hear your thoughts on the future of food printing and this latest machine by North Branch Everbright. Discuss in the Qiao Food 3D Printer forum thread on 3DPB.com.