Remember the ColorPod? The kit that converts a plastic 3D printer into a powder 3D printer? Now they print edible objects, too.
A couple of months ago I wrote about the incredible ColorPod, an add-on to most conventional desktop 3D printers that converts the machine from a filament-extrusion machine to a powder-binding machine.
Using the ColorPod, you could actually 3D print full RGB color objects, just like the expensive color 3D printers. In fact, the ColorPod’s technology is almost identical to that designed by ZCorp years ago and now continues on in 3D Systems’ ProJet line.
But now the folks behind ColorPod have adapted the machinery to successfully 3D print edible objects! Yes, you can 3D print candy on this adaptation.
How did they accomplish this? It’s actually quite interesting. The “original” ColorPod used a typical HP inkjet cartridge to print color on each layer of the powder to create the color object. However, neither the ink nor the powder was edible.
They’ve solved this issue by reworking the ink. Aad van der Geest, the fellow behind the ColorPod project, explains:
Because the ink is trapped in a foam it is not possible to fully replace the ink. You can take out the foam. But without foam the ink will leak out the inkjet cartridge. The solution is to make a small vacuum in the cartridge. We soon will make available a set with wich you can make the vacuum system from a cheap fish tank air pump. The clear fluid in the “white” cartridge can be replaced by water with a small amount of ethanol. The powder used in the current setup is a mixture of sugar and dextrin. Investigation in other powder compositions is ongoing.
In other words:
You can make edible full color models with the ColorPod food print set. Models are made by jetting droplets of diluted vodka and edible ink on a mixture of sugar and dextrin.
The models produced are likely very similar to the now-discontinued ChefJet from 3D Systems, which was prominently displayed at CES a few years ago. In fact, I distinctly recall eating one of their colorful prints – don’t ask! While the ChefJet is no longer available, you can instead use the ColorPod to achieve similar results.
So it seems that the ColorPod system can 3D print edible candy. While I’m sure this works, I must caution readers that such a system is not certified foodsafe by any agency, at least not yet.