Everyone loves chocolate, but it’s not always easy to find some. Choc Edge has released a 3D printer that lets users create custom chocolate treats right in their very own homes, the Daily Mail reports.
At 2,500 pounds (nearly $4000 U.S.), it’s not exactly intended for consumers, though. You might remember that we covered the printer last year, when it was in prototype stage, but now it’s actually going on sale on eBay. At this price, it’s intended for retailers. British choclatier Thornton’s has already expressed interest.
With some software, you can create a custom design of just about anything you can imagine. “From reproducing the shape of a child’s favourite toy to a friend’s face, the possibilities are endless,” Ling Hao, a researcher at the University of Exeter who helped develop the machine.
The printer works by simply moving a small platform around, while a nozzle squirts molten chocolate, one layer of the 3D design at a time. A video shows how it works:
The Choc Edge is intended to help promote the idea of 3D printing as the manufacturing technology of the future, allowing people to try out their ideas on a relatively safe medium. There’s also an obvious benefit to using chocolate: “There is also no wastage as any spoilage can be eaten,” Hao says.
But printing with chocolate is not without its challenges. Anyone who’s ever left a candy bar in their pocket on a hot day knows that chocolate is very sensitive to temperature fluctuations, and has to be heated and cool precisely to work with the printer.
Although the cost of the machine will likely keep it out of the hands of chocoholics, unless they have pockets deep enough to stuff king size Snicker bars down them, one can always dream of being able to have chocolate on tap. At the present time, they’ll probably have to settle for burning some of those extra calories by designing custom-made treats and walking down to the store to pick them up.
You might also be interested in a list of futuristic printer concepts, one of which includes a toast printer, as well as a printer that uses coffee as ink. Geeky chocolate lovers will also appreciate our list of crazy chocolate creations.