Three Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students have created an ice cream 3D printer using the principals of a fused deposition model printer.
As part of their graduate project in MIT’s additive manufacturing department, the team of Makers developed a device that’s capable of printing soft-serve ice cream in various shapes using a Cuisinart ice cream maker and a Solidoodle 3D printer.
“We were inspired to design this printer because we wanted to make something fun with this up and coming technology in a way that we could grab the attention of kids. We felt that it was just as important to come up with a new technology as it was to interest the younger generation in pursuing science and technology so we can continue pushing the limits of what is possible.”
“First, we needed to print into a cooled environment so that the ice cream would hold its shape once printed,” the students explained to 3Ders. “We bought a small upright freezer which was large enough to both put the Solidoodle inside and allow for the full build volume we were aiming for.”
According to the students, they then needed a shield gas to solidify the ice cream as soon as it came out of the extruder, so they built a system to spray liquid nitrogen onto the ice cream as it was extruded. The instant cooling allowed the printer to build up the ice cream layers just as a traditional extrusion-based 3D printer squirts down layers of plastic. You can watch the proof-of-concept in action below.
Though the printer still needs refinement before its likely ready for commercial duty, perhaps it won’t be long until you this technology comes to a truck near you! I scream, you scream, we all scream for 3D-printed ice cream!
Interested in learning how the ice cream 3D printer was made? Get a full step-by-step breakdown by reading 3Ders entire article here.