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3D Printers for Food: Technology and Applications

Updated on September 18, 2017
AliciaC profile image

Linda Crampton teaches science and information technology. She enjoys learning about new technology and exploring its applications.

Pizza is the first complete meal that can be printed by a 3D printer, although at the moment the topping is simpler than the one shown in this photo.
Pizza is the first complete meal that can be printed by a 3D printer, although at the moment the topping is simpler than the one shown in this photo. | Source

Food Printers

The 3D printer is an exciting device that creates three dimensional objects. The printer builds an object by depositing a printing medium in layers. Instead of using ink as a medium, many consumer level 3D printers use melted plastic that solidifies almost immediately after it's released from the printing nozzle. Other printing media are available, however, including a relatively new one—powdered or liquid food material. Sugar, liquid chocolate, and puréed food have all been used to create new food items with interesting and complex shapes and designs. In some cases, using a 3D printer to produce an item made of food is easier than producing the item by hand.

3D food printers may have additional benefits in the near future. NASA has partnered with a Texas company to create a more capable type of printer. The printer will be able to combine powdered material with a liquid to make a wide variety of foods. NASA's goal is to increase the nutrition, stability, and safety of food given to astronauts while they're in space. This will be especially important during deep space missions. It's been suggested that the new printer might also be able to reduce world hunger. Another type of food printer has been used experimentally to produce meat.

Some 3D printers can use liquid chocolate as a printing medium.
Some 3D printers can use liquid chocolate as a printing medium. | Source

How Does a 3D Printer Work?

The manufacture of an item by a 3D printer starts with the creation of an object, or model, in a 3D art or CAD (computer-aided design) program. Many free models are available on websites and can be downloaded. This enables people who don't want to create their own models to participate in the fun of 3D printing.

The computer code that produces the image of the 3D model must be saved as an STL file. The STL code must then be converted into G code—a "language" that the 3D printer understands. Free, open source programs that can generate G code from STL files are available. Some CAD programs can also create G code.

A computer sends the G code to the printer through a USB cable. In some cases a computer isn't needed, however. Some printers have a card reader that can read the G code from an SD card.

Plastic filament is the most common printing medium for hobbyists. The filament is fed into the extruder of a printer, which heats and melts the plastic. The liquid plastic is then released through a tiny opening in the extruder head to make the object. The plastic solidifies very rapidly after it's released from the extruder.

The G code controls the movement of the extruder head as the plastic is being released. It "tells" the printer to move the extruder in three axes as the object is being printed—left to right (X axis), front to back (Z axis) and up and down (Y axis). Since the plastic is laid down in layers, the printing process is often known as additive manufacturing.

Pureed green peas can be used as a printing medium in one type of 3D food printer.
Pureed green peas can be used as a printing medium in one type of 3D food printer. | Source

Potential Advantages of Making Food with a 3D Printer

A 3D food printer works in the same general way as a regular 3D printer. However, the printing medium is a food material instead of melted plastic.

It might sound strange and even silly to use a printer to make foods in different shapes when some of these foods can be quickly and easily made by hand. This is especially true when we consider the restricted abilities of the current food printers and the long time needed to print some types of food.

There are potential advantages to producing food in a printer, however. These advantages should become more important as printing technology improves and the speed of printing increases. Some possible benefits of food printers are described below.

Personalized, Precise, and Reproducible Nutrition

Since 3D printers follow digital instructions as they print, they may one day be able to make food containing the correct percentage of nutrients required for a particular gender, life stage, lifestyle, or medical condition. The quantity of different vitamins and minerals and the amount of protein, carbohydrate, or omega-3 fatty acids could be controlled, for example.

Unusual and Nutritious Food Composition

Some people who are interested in 3D printed food say that unusual plant or animal material could be ground up and added to the printing powder and cite this as an advantage of the food. For example, insects are rich in protein but aren't liked as food in many cultures. If they are ground into a powder and mixed with other ingredients they may be more acceptable. Some algae are also nutritious and could be added to the mix. Since nutritious powders could also be added to conventionally made foods, however, I don't see this as an advantage of 3D printing compared to regular food production.

Interesting Food Designs, Decorations, and Textures

Since the appearance of a 3D printed food depends on the model that was created to instruct the printer, a wide variety of shapes, textures, and decorations can be produced. Printed foods may resemble those of traditional foods, such as a pizza, or they may have an unusual or even unique appearance. Assuming the 3D models have already been created, foods with intricate designs or decorations may be created more easily by a printer than by hand.

Easy Food Preparation

3D printing may become an easier way to prepare processed foods than traditional methods. This remains to be seen, however. If "print cartridges" (ingredient containers) have to be frequently refilled, or if the ingredient containers and printer parts have to be frequently cleaned by hand, 3D food printing could be time consuming. If the ingredients need to be prepared before using them or if the food needs to be cooked after removing it from the printer, this will also detract from the printer's advantages.

Some people enjoy eating insects. These are deep fried. Dried and powdered insects may one day be added to a liquid to make a medium for a food printer.
Some people enjoy eating insects. These are deep fried. Dried and powdered insects may one day be added to a liquid to make a medium for a food printer. | Source

Eating Insects, or Entomophagy

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3D Food Printing: Advantages and Methods

Printed Food Today

As 3D printers within the price range of consumers and small businesses are becoming available, creative people are finding new types of printing media and are making new kinds of products. Some of these products are chocolates, candies, decorations made of sugar, and items made from puréed food. Specialized printers are available for these tasks, although at the moment some are prototypes used by a limited number of people instead of being generally available.

3D Printed Desserts

Creating Chocolates

Printers for chocolates exist, but they are expensive. They seem to be aimed at professional confectioners and cake decorators who want to create designs in chocolate. The announcement of a consumer-level chocolate printer a few years ago was interesting.

The ChocaByte was on display at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in 2014. The printers in the initial run of 500 units cost US$99. The cartridges of chocolate medium were priced at $10 for four cartridges. The company and their printer seem to have disappeared, however. The company's website still exists but consists of a single page without much information on it. Its Facebook page hasn't been updated since 2014.

The ChocaByte was a small device that printed one chocolate at a time. The chocolate medium had to be heated in the microwave or hot water to change it into the consistency required by the printer. A chocolate took "less than ten minutes" to print, according to the company that made the printer. Other companies have developed prototype chocolate printers for consumers and are currently improving them. Perhaps the new devices will have better features than the ChocaByte and the wait will be worthwhile.

Some of the professional-level printers produce chocolate products with beautiful and intricate designs. In at least some of these, the solid medium is melted inside the printer during the printing process. The creativity involved in chocolate design could be very appealing in a capable and reasonably priced consumer-level printer, as long as the device is easy to use.

The ChefJet

Creating Sugar Candies, Cake Decorations, and Centerpieces

To make sugar candies or decorations, a thin layer of powdered sugar crystals is spread on the build platform of a printer. Water, food colors, and flavors are then sprayed on the sugar, moistening it and turning into a solid, continuous layer. The process is repeated as an object is built.

The ChefJet and ChefJet Pro are printers that produce both sugar and chocolate items. Examples of their creations are shown in the video above. The printers are aimed at people who want to create cake decorations and centerpieces, including bakers and chefs. Both printers can produce decorative items with complex shapes.

These printers sound more interesting than the ChocaByte for professionals in the food industry and perhaps for some consumers. Once again, however, there are problems with the devices. A staff problem in the company that makes the printers and an investor upset have caused the project to stall. Functional prototypes of the printers exist, but it's unknown whether or when commercial versions will become available.

Foodini, by Natural Machines

Creating Items From Pureed Food

The Foodini is a printer that uses puréed food or other thick liquids as a medium and turns them into shapes that may be time consuming to create by hand. Depending on the composition of the purée, the printed food could be very nutritious. However, the fact that a food has to be puréed before being used in the printer might be considered a disadvantage by some people.

The printer is currently being used in selected places but is not yet available for the general public. It has a modern and sleek appearance. Many of its parts are enclosed and can't be seen when the device is operating. The user controls the printer via a touchscreen. The company's goal is to create a certified food-safe printer.

The Foodini has five capsules for different liquids. Examples of possible liquids include puréed vegetables, fillings made from well ground meats, tomato and cheese sauces, and liquid doughs. The printer is programmed to use the liquids in the order required to assemble a food item. The creators say that their goal is for the capsules to contain nutritious and fresh food material, just as whole foods puréed at home do.

A prototype Foodini has been used to create foods such as ravioli, pizza, burgers, and cookies. The current version of the printer doesn't cook the food, although the company is investigating the possibility of a version that does this. They probably realize that if their printer doesn't have some distinct advantages compared to assembling food by hand and then cooking it in a microwave oven, it's unlikely to be successful.

Making a Pizza for Astronauts With a 3D Printer

The NASA 3D Printed Food Project

At the moment, the food available for astronauts isn't suitable for the multi-year, deep space missions that NASA hopes to carry out in the future. For example, the present food preservation system used in space vessels is inadequate for a trip to Mars.

Keeping food frozen or refrigerated in a spacecraft would use valuable resources. Therefore NASA currently provides astronauts with individually packaged and preserved meals that are shelf stable. Nutrients are destroyed in the preservation process, however. In addition, the meals aren't personalized for an astronaut's individual needs. Another problem with the present foods is that they don't provide enough variety and interest for a long voyage.

NASA has awarded a $125,000 grant to Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC) to enable them to build a prototype 3D food printer. Anjan Contractor, an engineer at SMRC, says that in the system that they are creating, the proteins, carbohydrates, macronutrients, and micronutrients would be stored on the spacecraft in a powdered form. He says that these ingredients will remain stable for thirty years as long as no moisture is present. Nutrients in the powder could come from a wide variety of sources, including non-traditional foods like insects and algae.

During the space voyage, the dry nutrients would be mixed with flavoring agents and water or oil to create a printing medium. The printer would deposit the resulting paste on a heated bed, which would cook the food. The production of drinkable water and the preservation of the oil needed for the printing medium are two additional factors that need to be considered when planning a long space voyage.

A Robot That Prints Pizzas From a JPEG File

The BeeHex Pizza Printer

Anjan Contractor has started a new company called BeeHex. The company has created a 3D food printing "robot" based on Contractor's NASA prototype. The device reportedly prints a pizza in only a minute. Five minutes are needed to cook the pizza.

The robot—which seems the same as a food printer to me—is known as the Chef3D. It can't yet cook food, but like the creators of the Foodini, Contractor wants to eventually create a combination printer/oven. His goal is to make a food printer a common household appliance, like the microwave and coffee maker are today. According to the Business Insider report referenced below, the printer will soon appear in specific theme parks, shopping malls, and sports arenas.

Printing Synthetic Food

Although it may have only minor value in the present, 3D printed food could become significant in the future. In today's world people may appreciate the need for synthetic, 3D printed food on a long space flight but see no value for it on Earth. Anjan Contractor suggests that the food created for astronauts could also be used to alleviate hunger or to supply the military with food, however. The dried ingredients could be shipped for long distances and stored for a long time.

Some people predict that synthetic food may be necessary in the future as the Earth runs out of sufficient food resources to support the increasing world population. This is a frightening thought, but it may one day become a reality. Anjan Contractor feels that we need to change what we consider to be "food" in order to feed humanity.

In the future, we may no longer need to kill animals to obtain meat.
In the future, we may no longer need to kill animals to obtain meat. | Source

Printing Meat

Another specialized 3D food printer in prototype form is the bioprinter. Bioprinters print living cells, but not all of them are used to make food. One company—Modern Meadow—is using a bioprinter to create real, 3D printed meat without killing animals. This is possible due to the existence of stem cells in animals. Stem cells also exist in humans.

A stem cell is unspecialized. When it's stimulated in the right way, it can produce one or more specialized cell types. Certain stem cells from a cow can be stimulated to produce muscle cells. Meat is made of muscle cells.

The production of printed meat starts by obtaining the required stem cells from a cow via a biopsy. The stem cells can multiply in a lab, so continually extracting cells from a living cow isn't necessary. In order to make the meat, the stem cells are allowed to produce other types of cells in laboratory equipment. The cell mixture, or "bioink", is then deposited on a special surface by a 3D printer. Multiple cell layers are laid down by the printer. The cells fuse, forming muscle, or meat.

The procedure involved in creating printed meat is far more complicated than other types of 3D food printing. The printer is dealing with delicate, living cells, which must be kept alive. Although this technology is still in the experimental stage and is not likely to become widespread for some time, it may become very important in the future.

Food Ink is a company that creates restaurants in which everything—furniture, utensils, and food—is created by 3D printers.

A 3D Printed Restaurant

Advantages and Disadvantages of Current Food Printers

Nutritionists say that eating whole, nutrient rich, and unprocessed or minimally processed food is the healthiest diet for us. With this in mind, it's hard for me to see the point of consumer level food printers that use less than healthy printing media, except on special occasions. In addition, some printers may be time consuming to use, which could negate the benefits of owning a 3D printer.

Since new 3D food printers are appearing, however, new benefits of the printers may soon be revealed. In addition, the advantages or disadvantages of devices such as the ChefJet and Foodini can't be assessed properly, since they aren't available to the general public yet and may be modified before they're sold commercially.

At the moment it seems to me that these are the main benefits of present and soon to be released 3D food printers.

  • New technology often builds on old technology. Understanding how the present printers work and discovering their advantages and disadvantages may help people create more useful food printers in the future.
  • Creating interesting shapes with puréed vegetables mixed with other foods may encourage children to eat green vegetables. These are loaded with important nutrients but are often unattractive to young taste palates.
  • Letting children choose or create their own 3D models may be an effective strategy to encourage them to eat nutritious foods.
  • Businesses may be able to create uniquely designed foods that appeal to the public and individuals may be able to create interesting food gifts.
  • Creating new food shapes is a way for people to be creative and have fun.

It will be interesting to see if people feel that the advantages of the latest food printers outweigh any disadvantages. It will also be interesting to see how the technology improves over time. As of fall 2017, there seem to be quite a lot of prototype printers that produce food but not many final versions of devices within the price range of consumers. 3D food printing may remain a novelty or it may become a mainstream way of preparing at least some types of food. Time will tell.

Printed sculptures made of pure sugar; the sugar crystals were fused by hot air
Printed sculptures made of pure sugar; the sugar crystals were fused by hot air | Source

References

  • Nguyen, Tuan C. "Hungry? A Startup Wants You to 3D Print Your Next Meal." http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/hungry-a-startup-wants-you-to-3d-print-your-next-meal-180947702/ (accessed September 18, 2017).
  • Jayakuma, Amrita. "Home-Baked Idea? Nasa mulls 3D printers for food replication." The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/jun/04/nasa-3d-printer-space-food (accessed September 18, 2017).
  • Garfield, Leanna. "This robot can 3D-print and bake a pizza in six minutes." BusinessInsider. http://www.businessinsider.com/beehex-pizza-3d-printer-2017-3/#beehexs-bot-called-the-chef-3d-can-produce-any-type-of-pizza-in-any-shape-french-says-like-most-3d-printers-it-hooks-up-to-a-computer-that-tells-it-which-dough-sauce-and-cheese-to-use-1 (accessed September 18, 2017).

© 2014 Linda Crampton

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    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 7 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Making vegetables more enticing would certainly be good! 3D printed meat sounds great to me, too. It would be wonderful to get meat without hurting animals.

    • lifelovemystery profile image

      Michelle Orelup 7 months ago from Houston, TX

      If they can make broccoli taste better, surely there is something they can do for lima beans and brussel sprouts!

      I am fascinated by 3D printed meat.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much, GetitScene.

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 2 years ago from The High Seas

      This was REALLY very interesting.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the second visit and the comment, Heidi! I hope you have a great weekend, too.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

      Enjoyed this hub when it first came out and glad to see it's been awarded Hub of the Day! Well deserved. Congrats and have a great weekend!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Susan. Technology does have a way of surprising us! Thank you very much for the comment and the congratulations.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Very interesting and well-researched article. You mention some applications (such as space travel) that seem perhaps well-suited to 3D printing of food, but it's really hard to think about wide-spread use of the technology for most "normal" people anytime soon. Of course even a couple of years ago I wouldn't have thought I'd have an electronic personal assistant, but now I do. "Never say no to technology," that's my policy. Congratulations on Hub of the Day honors. Well deserved!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the congratulations, RTalloni.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      Hmmm… Congrats on your Hub of the Day award for an interesting post!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the congratulations, Richard-Bivins. 3D printing is becoming very exciting! I'm eager to see what the technology creates.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, TIMETRAVELER2. Thank for the comment. I appreciate your visit and vote.

    • Richard-Bivins profile image

      Richard Bivins 2 years ago from Charleston, SC

      Congrats on HOTD... It is an amazing technology. I recently read an article about how a 3D printing robot is building a steel bridge on location. I can imagine a day when we see these 3D printers capable of constructing hi-rise buildings but I'm in no hurry to go into a restaurant to order a 3D printed cheeseburger.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      TIMETRAVELER2 2 years ago

      Great article on a topic that is very interesting. I'd like to see what this "food" tastes like...especially the meat! Voted up.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      My pleasure my friend. It's the least I can do on this Friday morning.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the comment and the congratulations, Kristen. I appreciate the vote as well!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      That's an interesting idea, DreamerMeg! I think your prediction could come true. Thanks for the visit.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Alicia, congrats on HOTD! Those printers are pretty cool for food and technology these days. It makes the food look so real and edible, too. Voted up for awesome!

    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 2 years ago from Northern Ireland

      That was fascinating. There is some really cool information here. I could see shops having candy and chocolate printers by their tills eventually, with kids able to put their pocket money in while waiting in queue to pay for the groceries and be able to eat a sweet without having to whine for a packet which STILL needs to be paid for and thus have to wait.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the comment, peachpurple.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i didn't know there is such thing as 3d printers, thanks for your information

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the visit and the comment, aesta1. I think that 3D printing technology is becoming very exciting, especially in some areas. It will be interesting to see how 3D printing of food develops. It will also be interesting to see whether it becomes more mainstream!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is really interesting Alicia. I try to follow 3D printing but I just can't imagine myself eating printed food. I really admire what 3D is doing in other areas but not with my food.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Pollyanna. Yes, cooking a pizza is a problem that needs to be dealt with. Putting it in a microwave after printing it would do the job, but it would nice if a more convenient, all-in-one process was available. Thanks for the comment.

    • Pollyanna Jones profile image

      Pollyanna Jones 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is really interesting! Knowing how the microwave oven has revolutionised cooking in my lifetime, I don't know how this would shake things up for the next generation. I just wonder with the 3D printed pizza, how would they cook it? ;-) Great article.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Ron. Marketability is definitely going to be a major concern in 3D food printing! The results could be very useful, though. Thanks for the comment.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      Very interesting. As technology progresses, I'm sure printed food will become a marketplace item. I must say, though, that after watching the videos, my mouth is not salivating at the thought.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the comment, the votes and the share, Patricia! I appreciate your visit. I love the angels!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      Wow this is amazing. Where have I been that I did not know of this? Very interesting...and promising great possibilities for the future.

      Angels are on the way to you this morning, Alicia. ps

      I am never disappointed when I come here to read...there is always something interesting to read.

      voted up++++ and shared

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much, Adventuretravels. 3D food printers may change the catering landscape, but there will probably be new opportunities for food designers! It will be interesting to see what the future holds.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 2 years ago from London UK

      Amazing it'll put many a master chef out of a job though :( Oh well that's progress I suppose. Great hub. Really interesting.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the comment, Glenn. Yes, I think 3D printing could have a huge effect on our lives. The future should be very interesting!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I believe the world we live in will be vastly different in the future due to 3D printing. We will see major changes in many businesses as this technology embraces fields such as printing food, body parts to replace injured limbs, and even simple tasks such as printing physical things like toys.

      I found your descriptions very detailed and complete. I especially found your explanation of how meat can be printed from stem cells very interesting.

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Homeplace Series. It's nice to meet you! Thanks for the comment. I agree with you - 3D printers and their potential uses are both fascinating and amazing!

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Ever since I read the book "Maker" a couple of years ago, I've been fascinated by increased presence of 3-D printers in our lives. Thanks for this update and new insights. I'm amazed, and can hardly believe what I see and read. Thanks, again, for an interesting hub! ;-)

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Glenn. I agree - I think printing chocolates will become common soon while printing with stem cells will take much longer to become mainstream. The possibilities are very exciting, though. Investing in specific stocks related to 3D printing could be a great idea! Thank you very much for the the comment.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I have been reading a lot on 3D printing and even invested in a couple of stocks related to it. Your hub on 3D printing food is well researched with a lot of interesting information.

      I think one of the most advanced technologies will be the use of stem cells to print food. As you said, the use of stem cells is still in the experimental stage and this is still far off in development. But I am sure it will become useful sometime in the distant future.

      In the short term, I can see 3D printing of chocolate and candy items becoming a standard development very soon.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      That would be wonderful if it ever happens, Deb!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Maybe we can eradicate world hunger…you think?

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Vellur. Yes, I wonder what technology will come up with next! Thanks for the visit and the vote .

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Interesting, just imagine 3-D foods, quite amazing. Wonder what the technology world will serve up next. Great hub, voted up.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the lovely comment and the vote, Prasetio. It's great to hear from you again! I hope you're well.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 3 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Technology is always great and I had never thinking about this before. Excellent hub and you always give us the best like this one. Good job, Alicia. Voted up and take care!

      Prasetio

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the visit, Audrey. Yes, some people may be hesitant to eat food that comes out of a printer! One thing that will help is the fact that the upcoming consumer-level printers look like modern kitchen appliances. At least some of the printer manufacturers are aiming to get their products certified as safe for food, which should also help.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      Wow--I have never heard of this before! Interesting, although I might hesitate to eat it!!

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, DzyMsLizzy. Thanks for the votes! It is exciting technology, but I agree that improvements need to be made in the present devices. Hopefully the future food printers will be both inexpensive and very useful!

    • AliciaC profile image
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      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Nell. I agree - the present printers may lay the groundwork for very useful devices in the future. Thank you very much for the comment, the vote and the share!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      WOW! Just Wow! Ever closer we creep to the 24th-century food replicators of Star Trek fame.....

      I'm not sure this is practical or totally nutritious, at this point, however. I'm sure horrifically expensive to boot. An interesting novelty at this point.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Alicia, fascinating subject, and something that I have been watching on tv, only the other printers though, like making small statues and plastic type things. for food to work I think it will only be good for going into Space, not sure if it will really take off down here, scuse the pun! I get the feeling that this maybe just a sort of prototype that someone will suddenly say, hey maybe if we do it this way instead of that, then it may really work, great hub, and something that fascinates me! voted up and shared, nell

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Liz. Yes, the applications of food printers are exciting! I'm looking forward to seeing how they develop. Thanks for the visit.

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      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I've heard of 3D printers before but I've never seen them in action and never seen a 3D food printer. It is truly amazing!

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi. Martie. Yes, some of the upcoming 3D printers are amazing! There seems to be a lot of potential with this technology. Thank you very much for the comment.

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      Martie Coetser 3 years ago from South Africa

      Absolutely mind-blowing! I am totally speechless. Will get a chocolate one first....

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      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much, Eddy. Enjoy your day, too!

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      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      I found this hub so very interesting Alicia .Thank you for all your hard work and enjoy your day.

      Eddy.

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      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Kawi. Yes, I've heard of the ability of 3D printers to create gun parts, which I find a very scary idea. New technology isn't always good! It's often interesting, though. Thanks for the comment and the votes!

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      KawikaChann 3 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place

      Nicely done Alicia - I've a doc on an individual printing gun parts - wow, here comes George Jetson! Not too far off. Upvoted/interest. Peace. Kawi.

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      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks, Writer Fox. I appreciate your comment and vote!

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      Writer Fox 3 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      This is a truly interesting subject and you explained so well. Enjoyed and voted up!

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      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the comment and the shares, Heidi! Yes, 3D food printers are interesting. Some of their potential uses are exciting!

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      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      One step closer to a Star Trek replicator! Very interesting application for 3D. Voted up, interesting and sharing here and elsewhere!

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      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Jodah. Yes, unless some kind of automated cleaning system is used, cleaning the printer parts in some devices could be a chore! Hopefully future technology will solve this problem. Thanks for the visit.

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      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      This is amazing stuff Alicia. As someone else said, it' s science fiction becoming reality. Technology is advancing so quickly. At first I thought "How could you use a 3D printer to make food?" But your hub explained that, and it would be good for astronauts in space. The only worry now I can see would be the cleaning.

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      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you so much for the kind comment, the votes and the pin, Flourish! My favorite application of 3D printers is in the medical field, too. The printers seem to have a great deal of potential!

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      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      This is simply amazing technology. Thanks for showcasing it in this marvelous hub! Voted up and more, and pinning to my Technology board. One of my favorite applications of 3D technology is medical/veterinary, but it's proving useful in all kinds of realms.

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      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the visit and the comment, Bill. The latest technology can definitely be mind blowing! It will probably become even more amazing in the future.

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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alicia, I was born in 1948. I can't wrap my brain around this kind of technology. It is beyond me and yet fascinating. Thank you for blowing my mind this morning.

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      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the kind comment, Pamela! I appreciate the vote and the share, too.

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      Pamela Oglesby 3 years ago from United States

      This is a fascinating hub full of information that I knew little about before now. I love the pictures you displayed, and your explanations were easy to understand. Voted up and shared.

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      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Hi, Devika. I don't eat insects either, but I would if it was necessary. The thought isn't very attractive, though! Thanks for the comment and the vote.

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      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for the comment, the votes and the pin, Peggy! The potential uses of 3D food printers are exciting. I'm interested in seeing how the technology progresses!

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      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      What modern technology has created to people's minds is truly amazing and I don't eat insects and no chance of that happening. You have created a beautifully presented hub and it deserves a vote up.

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      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This is getting closer and closer to what was seen on shows like Star Trec with their food replicators. Amazing! I don't see this becoming mainstream for individuals in my lifetime. Of course I could be wrong depending upon how long I am still alive. Up+ votes and pinning this to my Do You Know This? board.