MaterialDistrict Rotterdam, 23 - 25 June 2020 |Get Your Free Ticket


Sweet 3D printing

This should sweeten your day. Additive manufacturing pioneers 3D Systems have developed a way to print edible 3D objects, made entirely from sugar. They have taken on the technology from The Sugar Lab, who in turn made use of 3D Systems expertise.

From the official statement, it is clear that the process works by using Color Jet Printing (CJP) to print colours onto a sugar ‘bed’, or sub-structure. They company uses different, flavoured and edible binders that meet all food safety requirements, to complete the print.

As it’s made using 3D printing, a vast range of highly complex shapes is possible, such as the geometrically intricate and precise shown above. The printer adds water to soften the sugar, enabling it to be printed. It then mixes in alcohol so that the sugar sets once it is in place.

Applications for printing with the sugary substance are wide-ranging. Initially, printable sugar will be available in flavours including watermelon, apple and chocolate, but the developers expect to add more to suit individual tastes.

This is particularly interesting as it ties in with a natural process to grow stones, developed recently by two designers. That example of biomimicry is reversed here, with a biobased material – sugar – being used in conjunction with high tech printing.

Among other procedures, 3D Systems is known for high volume, flexible additive manufacturing using a precision technique called stereolithographic addition, or SLA. This allows production of large amounts of printed matter, from plastics to metals. Now, the range also includes edibles. Yum!


Info via 3D Systems. Images via The Sugar Lab.