Candy, it is a gift everyone loves and you’ll find it everywhere as spring approaches. Soon you’ll have the opportunity to do more than buy a box of gourmet chocolates or candy hearts for your Valentine. Modern technology is making it possible to design and create candies in any shape or design you like best. The key to this sweet tooth revolution begins with computers and the development of 3D printing technology.
You may already be familiar with 3D printing equipment available for home use or seen news stories about factories that use the technology to print automobile components, aircraft parts and even houses. The developers of the Chef Jet take it to a whole new level; their machines print food. The machines, available in two models, are expected to hit the market during the second half of 2014. Retailing between $5,000-$10,000 each, they are being marketed for bakeries, restaurants and commercial food producers.
Chocolate in 3D
If chocolate is your passion and you have the capital you won’t have to wait to create unique 3D chocolates. The Choc Creator works by depositing layers of melted and tempered chocolate on top of each other to make customized candies. Just like printing other 3D objects, the candies are formed following precise instructions found in the CAD design. Choc Creator is available from Choc Edge Ltd. (UK) for £2,888.00.
How it works
3D print technology works by creating three dimensional objects one layer at a time. Like any manufactured product, the process begins with a design. The object you want to print starts as a digital model created with computer aided design (CAD) or animation software. The model consists of an image divided into many cross sectional layers. These layers guide the 3D printer as it deposits precise amounts of material to create the object.
You don’t have to be a computer genius to design and print 3D objects. If you aren’t comfortable using CAD there are several companies that offer a wide range of designs that you can download to use with your printer.
Once the design is ready, the next step is to load the bottom of the printer with sugar or chocolate substrate. Next, an ink jet just like the one in your home printer sprays water onto the sugar substrate. Following the instructions given by the design, it builds a candy layer by layer until the object is complete.
There are several more ways you can put a unique 3D sweet in your lover’s hands without the expense of purchasing a food printer. There are several candy companies that let you design your own candy. German chocolatier Chocri lets you design your own unique chocolate bars and then ships the candy to you. It isn’t printed candy but it is unique. There are several chocolate base layers and hundreds of toppings available to make the end product uniquely yours.
3D printing allows you to flex your culinary muscles without printing the candy itself. The fairly inexpensive counter-top 3D printers available now make it possible to create one of a kind plastic candy molds. Imagine the look of surprise on your Valentine’s face when you present a gift of candy in the shape of a favorite hobby, pet or even their portrait in chocolate. If you don’t do CAD, there are options available. You can download designs online and many of them are free.
The future of sweets
Three dimensional food printing is an exciting new technology and could well revolutionize the way candy is made and bought. In coming years a visit to your favorite bake shop or candy store could begin with a trip to their website to design and order your sweets. Wedding cakes will feature edible 3D figures of the real bride and groom and you will soon be able to purchase an affordable candy printer for your home. As the technology improves, the cost of 3D food printers should come down and consumers will have a greater number of options to buy.