I’m looking at a Reuters story about a Belgian company that’s created a 3D printed chocolate service, and there seems to be something quite interesting visible.
The company is Miam Factory, uses technology developed originally at the University of Liege, to 3D print chocolate shapes.
You can see at top one of their four machines extruding a very precise chocolate shape for customer. This is their intended business model: print custom chocolate shapes on demand.
I believe that is a more interesting business model than I’ve seen with previous chocolate 3D print ventures, which typically wanted you to purchase a machine and print chocolate items yourself. That’s not something most people want or are able to do, for much the same reasons that consumers didn’t adopt home 3D printers years ago.
But in the video there is something quite interesting. They seem to be 3D printing simple outline shapes in chocolate, which certainly could be fun to order from such a service.
However, one of the items they are 3D printing in chocolate is a life-size beer bottle. This, I think, is important.
Not because of the beer, it’s because of the height of the object.
Previous machines 3D printing chocolate seemed to have a height limit of only a few centimeters, as the chocolate was a poor engineering material and would lead to collapse, or at least slumping. In fact, I felt that the existing chocolate 3D printers were barely more than 2D printers, and often were used only for 2D objects, effectively.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a tall object 3D printed in chocolate before, and I’m wondering what they have done to achieve it.
Here is another image from their website, and the item on the left is another clearly very tall chocolate object.
Certainly the print is a thin wall, but so were the previous attempts. I suspect they have somehow mastered the perfect combination of chocolate chemistry and extrusion temperature to make the chocolate more usable for constructing larger objects.
That opens up the possibility of 3D printing a great deal more interesting chocolate objects, and that just might make their venture succeed.