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Tacos And 3D Printing: Food For Thought

3D printed taco holder [Source: Boston Calendar]

Charles R. Goulding and Preeti Sulibhavi spice it up with a look at 3D printing for tacos.

Most people like tacos. The quintessential decision being: hard or soft shell?

Taco lovers have their favorite ingredients and their tacos can be customized. The classic ingredients are taco shell (soft or hard), refried beans, lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, and the taco lover’s choice of protein and seasonings (cilantro, lime, jalapeños, etc). If you’re anything like we are, you are craving a taco right now.

While there are a plethora of taco kits, don’t overlook the accessories. Tacos need to maintain their constitution and shape (especially the hard shell ones). Taco accessories can include taco holders, stands, warmers, plates, condiment servers, and more.

All of these accessories can be 3D printed.

3D printed taco truck & server [Source: Adafruit]

Taco Warmers (for making soft tortilla tacos)

Particularly if you have handmade soft taco/tortilla shells, then a taco warmer/keeper is a must. There are many ways to keep your taco shells warm (whether you use a plastic, ceramic, or cloth warmer) but there is no doubt that 3D printing can be a part of this recipe.

Be sure to always pay attention to food safety for any 3D prints that will come in contact with what you’re about to eat! Materials like PETG may also be better choices than PLA as they can better withstand the high temperatures of fresh, warm tortillas and tacos.

3D printed tortilla warmer/keeper [Source: Thingiverse]

The Research & Development Tax Credit

The now permanent Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit is available for companies developing new or improved products, processes and/or software. As of 2016, eligible startup businesses can use the R&D Tax Credit against $250,000 per year in payroll taxes.

3D printing can help boost a company’s R&D Tax Credits. Wages for technical employees creating, testing and revising 3D printed prototypes can be included as a percentage of eligible time spent for the R&D Tax Credit. Similarly, when used as a method of improving a process, time spent integrating 3D printing hardware and software counts as an eligible activity. Lastly, when used for modeling and preproduction, the costs of filaments consumed during the development process may also be recovered.

Whether it is used for creating and testing prototypes or for final production, 3D printing is a great indicator that R&D Credit eligible activities are taking place. Companies implementing this technology at any point should consider taking advantage of R&D Tax Credits.

Taco Tuesday, Anyone?

Whether it is Tuesday or not, tacos can be enjoyed any day of the week. 3D printing can add to the savory meal by fabricating essential and fun accessories that enhance the taco experience.

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