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Cooking in 3D

Joshua Willem van den Berg - January 19th, 2014

Recently, kitchen technology was given a boost when food-safe 3D printers were introduced to the public at the Consumer Electronics Seminar in Las Vegas. Rolled out by South Carolina–based 3D Systems, the ChefJet and ChefJet Pro can create intricate edibles 10” by 14” by 8” in size, in monochromatic colors in the case of the former, and using full-range CMYK colors in the latter.

Development began when grad students Liz and Kyle Von Hasseln retrofitted a 3D printer with food-safe components to make their friend a unique birthday cake (since they had no oven at the time). After graduating, they opened The Sugar Lab in Silver Lake, California. 3D Systems acquired the company in September 2013 and immediately geared up to launch the products.

“Confections are a great place to start 3D printing food, because there's already a cultural expectation of a dessert as a designed object—it's a space that values embellishment, experimentation, and customization. And that makes it a really good fit for 3D printing technology,” Liz Von Hassln said.

Along with the systems, proprietary software is in the development stages. The Digital Cookbook will enable effective use of the ChefJet system with no necessary prior knowledge of Computer-aided design or additional software.

The countertop monochrome ChefJet will ring in under $5,000, and the ChefJet Pro will be priced under $10,000 and are expected to hit the market in mid-2014.