Technology firm 3D Systems has unveiled two new 3D printers capable of printing food, which the company says will enhance creativity in professional kitchens.
Revealed at the CES show this week, the Chefjet series of printers enables chefs and bakers to print edible products in a range of flavours, with chocolate, vanilla, mint, sour apple, cherry and watermelon printable material currently available.
Chief executive Avi Reichental believes the smaller of the two printers could be used by restaurants and bakeries.
The Chefjet 3D printer producing images in single colour, while the Chefjet Pro 3D printer a larger model printing in full colour.
“Food is an incredible platform for creativity, experimentation, and celebration and we are thrilled to place these powerful 3D printers in bakers and chefs’ kitchens,” said Liz von Hasseln, creative director of food products at 3D Systems.
“We invite leading pastry chefs, restaurateurs and event planners to join us in bringing 3D printing into the kitchen.”
How it works
3D Systems developed its new “food-safe” models after taking over a Los Angeles-based start-up in September, which had customised one of its machines.
Both models can print using chocolate, or sugar infused with vanilla, mint, sour apple, cherry and watermelon flavours.
The larger one has the advantage of being able to create “photographic-quality” pictures by mixing together different ingredients that can then then be wrapped around cakes and other surfaces. The designs are built using a layer-by-layer printing process.
Sweets are created by spreading a fine layer of the flavoured sugar, and then painting water on top using a jet print head to turn the substance into hardened crystals.
3D Systems is not the only company expanding into this area. Natural Machines, a Spanish start-up, recently unveiled a prototype called the Foodini that can create chocolates and ravioli pasta among other choices. Nasa has given funding to the founder of a Texas-headquartered engineering firm to build a food printer that could be used by its astronauts.
The Chefjet products will be available commercially in the second half of 2014.
The basic version will cost about $5,000 (£3,000) and the more advanced one double that price.
The printers come equipped with Digital Cookbook software which is intended to make the products easy to use and intuitive.
Attendees at the CES were invited to taste printed sweets at the 3D Systems booth.
Watch this video from 3D Systems’ stand at CES 2014 here: