April 7, 2012
3D Chocolate Printer To Be Released By The End of April
Good news for anyone with a sweet tooth: a prototype 3D chocolate printer first unveiled by UK scientists last summer is currently available for pre-order and should be commercially released by the end of the month, according to BBC News and 3ders.org reports.
The device, which is known as the Choc Creator and was originally created by scientists at the University of Exeter, allows users "to print their own custom-made sweets, layer by layer," the British news organization said on Friday. As BBC Technology Reporter Katia Moskvitch reported back in July 2011, the 3D printer works like other, similar units except that it uses chocolate in the place of ink or plastic to print-out its designs.The Choc Creator had already drawn interest from companies while still in prototype form back when Moskvitch first reported on the device. That led Dr. Liang Hao, the individual in charge of the team behind it, to establish the Choc Edge company in order to capitalize on the interest of those retailers and e-commerce merchants, BBC News said on Friday.
Since then, Dr. Hao said, "We've improved and simplified the machine, so now it is really easy to use“¦ You just need to melt some chocolate, fill a syringe that is stored in the printer, and get creative printing your chocolate."
Among those who have reportedly approached Hao about carrying the Choc Creator was UK specialty firm and chocolate and confectionary goods retailer Thorntons, BBC News reported on Friday.
According to 3ders.org, Version 1 of the Choc Creator, which they refer to as "a hobby printer that customers will be able to design any object on a computer before hitting the print button," utilizes "an open source 3D printing software and accepts standard 3D printing STL files and Gcode."
"Files can be uploaded to the printer via a standard USB connection," they continued, adding that the device "has a build envelope of 175(X) x 175(Y) x 70(Z) mm and its maximum linear speed can reach to 2000mm/min. In the future Choc Edge plans to supply retail units for shops which everyone can go and print their chocolate design."
Unfortunately, the device will not be available in time for the Easter holiday.
On the company's official website, they announced that the first ten Choc Creator units would be offered through an online auction hosted by eBay. The first auction is scheduled to begin on April 9, and a link to said auction will be added to the Choc Edge homepage once bidding begins on the first unit.
They also confirmed that they were currently accepting pre-orders for the 3D chocolate printer through their website, and anyone curious to see how the product works can check out a demo video below.