There are several ventures developing edible chocolate 3D printers for the kitchen and Solididea’s Chocabyte is one of them.
The premise is straightforward: heat and extrude melty chocolate into designs you select (or create yourself). Australia-based Solididea supplies not only the printer itself, but also USD$4 chocolate cartridges that must be warmed by microwave or hot water before insertion into the Chocabyte. From there the machine simply extrudes using a syringe-style approach.
Chocabyte also says they have a library of over 100 designs that can be downloaded for use in their machine. We think this is quite important, as the mechanical properties of chocolate are drastically different than the plastics commonly used in 3D printers. As we learned earlier, chocolate cannot be used to build tall objects. Letting a Chocabyte owner loose in Thingiverse, for example, would likely be a kitchen nightmare.
The unit’s initial 500 units have been sold out at USD$99, a very low price and well-suited as a secondary kitchen gadget. You’re still able to pre-order a Chocabyte for delivery in “late 2014” – but only if you’re located in: “USA, Australia, UK, and some parts of Europe.” Likely the price will increase slightly.
We’ve continually seen big interest in 3D food printing and it would appear that chocolate is the obvious material to begin with, given its malleable properties. While there have been several 3D chocolate printers marketed in recent months, we’re beginning to wonder why they are not catching on yet. Is there a hidden complication or social factor preventing adoption? Or is it simply too early to tell?