3D printers learn a new trick: printing in chocolate

They say that with a 3D printer, you can make whatever you want. I want a snack. And I'm in luck, because in what may be the best coincidence ever, chocolate can be used as a 3D printing material. Computer, make me a bonbon!

Most 3D printers use plastic as a source material because it's malleable and melts at a relatively low temperature. Chocolate, with its melt-in-your-mouth goodness, also seems to work, and researchers ("researchers") at the University of Exeter in the U.K. have built themselves a computer-controlled 3D chocolate printer.

Chocolate is slightly harder to work with than plastic because it's both harder to feed through the printer and harder to keep stable after it's printed. Solving these problems required some clever heating and cooling systems, which are complicated enough that you're probably not going to see desktop 3D chocolate printers showing up at your local Home Depot anytime soon. What you will see are 3D chocolate printing services, where you can submit a design and get back an edible objects including "jewelry and household goods."

I can only hope that the next time I try to eat a chocolate pearl necklace, I won't be so horribly disappointed.

EPSRC, via Inhabitat

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