3D printing is hardly new and even 3D food printing has been around for a while but what makes the Choc Creator Version 1 different is that it's actually available to buy. The printer, developed by Choc Edge, is not suitable for home users and, at a cost of nearly £3000, few could afford it anyway. However, chocolate retailer Thorntons, amongst others, has already expressed an interest in the Choc Creator, so customised, 3D printed chocolates that you can buy on the high street will soon be a reality.
The Choc Creator works in the same way as any other 3D printer, using melted chocolate instead of liquid plastic. Chocolate is squirted through a syringe and built up into a 3D design as layers are added one by one to create the finished product. Designs can be loaded using standard 3D printing software or via a website and, like other 3D printers, the Choc Creator can fashion objects which are difficult to produce using traditional methods.
Choc Creator's creator, Dr. Liang Hao of the University of Essex, is hoping to sell between 500 and 1000 units in the next three years and, given the amount of excitement surrounding the project, that shouldn't prove too difficult. Choc Edge may have missed out on this Easter but don't be surprised to see 3D printed eggs and chocolates on sale this time next year.
by Anthony Morgan