Top 7 Best 3D Food Printers: The Companies That Are Trying To Change The Way We Cook
For a long time, food printing has been limited to the sad little world of sugar dots and edible paper. Printers like the Canon MG5520 have held down the cake decorating fort for many years, turning icing canvases into a magical disney princess mosaics for 6 year old birthday girls. Other printers like the aptly named PancakeBot (Check price) have pushed into breakfast territory.
Meanwhile, the rest of us have been dreaming of the day when star trek style 3D food replicators would be making cocktails while we played 3D chess on 3D printed chess boards. And even though we aren’t quite there yet, we are very close. We can already print that chess board. Now all we need are those cocktails.
Below are the top 7 best food printers and the companies working to make that dream a reality. Most of them use pastes that you make yourself and load into a canister or syringe. It’s not as easy as a star trek replicator yet, but the technology is getting better every month. Here’s where things stand right now.
Top 7 Best 3D Food Printers: The Companies That Are Trying To Change The Way We Cook
Foodini by Natural Machines
The Foodini 3D food printer is the sleekest and most impressive looking of the 3D food printers available for sale right now. You use it by blending your fresh groceries into a paste and loading that paste into specially provided containers. The Foodini then uses those pastes to print out your favorite foods. It takes a bit of preparation, but the results are actually pretty impressive.
The Foodini is fantastic for making labor intensive pasta dishes. Usually, homemade ravioli takes hours to prepare from scratch. You have to make the dough, let it rise overnight, roll it and cut it into thin squares and then carefully create little pouches that you then fill with cheese or sauce. With Foodini, all you do is load one canister with sauce or cheese and the other with a pasta batter. The Foodini then prints out individual raviolis one at a time in minutes.
The Foodini is really fun for making unique shapes and interesting designs with your food. Kids are more likely to eat spinach fritters if they are shaped like dinosaurs. Tea biscuits are also much more fun to eat when they are shaped like snowflakes or gingerbread men. You can even print specific types of dog bones for your dog to chew on.
ChefJet Pro by 3D Systems
The ChefJet Pro is definitely not for the average person. It is a high end professional level confectionary machine that produces extraordinary designs out of sugar. The ChefJet is like a regular powder printer, but the powder is sugar instead of gypsum. One layer of sugar powder is deposited on top of another and then hardened with hot air into the shape of the candy. At the end of the process, the excess sugar powder is removed to reveal amazingly shaped edible treats.
Each ChefJet costs $5000 to $10,000, though, so you probably won’t be seeing them in your friend’s homes anytime soon. The ChefJet pro is much larger than the regular ChefJet and aimed at confectionary businesses. But the ChefJet pro is about the size of a microwave. Hopefully 3D Systems releases a consumer version, because who wouldn’t want a personal candy printer? But for now we’ll just have to wait.
In Memoriam – CandyFab
CandyFab was a classic DIY startup 3D food printer company. Started by a bunch of hobbyists that really liked printing with sugar to make their own candy, CandyFab printed candy for almost 10 years before shutting down in 2014. I’m including them in this list as a homage to the DIY maker spirit that 3D food printing came out of. In fact, these guys were so legit, they even attended the very first MakerFaire ever, in 2006. Three years later, the CandyFab 6000 made it’s debut and the rest is history. Unfortunately, this awesome company is no longer around, but they aren’t forgotten. For the full story, I strongly recommend checking out their website, where they detail their journey from garage-level candy weirdos to leading the charge into the sweet future of candy making in an epic 4,000 word saga. It’s well worth the read.
Bocusini by Print2Taste
Bocusini is a 3D food printer and software that is made by Print2Taste in Germany. The goal of the Bocusini team is really to provide you with everything you need to print food in any shape you want. The Bocusini printer also comes with an online user interface which includes a nice 3D scanner app. Using the app, you can scan any object you want and then print it out as a food. Imagine scanning a flower and then printing it out in chocolate! Cool right?
The interesting thing about the Bocusini printer is that it uses food products sent from Bocusini itself. That means you can’t use fresh foods from the groceries or customize the ingredients much. Also if you run out of an ingredient, you will have to order it online and wait for it to arrive. But the benefit is that you can order in advance and never run out. This could also cut down on your grocery shopping bill.
TNO Pasta Printer
The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) has collaborated with Barilla to create a pasta printer. It can print 4 pieces of pasta every 2 minutes. That means you could make enough customized pasta for a full meal in around half an hour. The pasta is made of regular wheat, semolina, and water. No additive needed.
The printer isn’t commercially available yet, but when it is, we will let you know. It was unveiled in Milan at the 2015 World Food expo. There was significant interest at the time, and hopefully we will see a commercial model soon.
byFlow by 3DFP Ventures
byFlow is a multipurpose 3D printer that can print plastic and food, as well as several other materials. It can do this by printing pastes instead of solid plastics. Otherwise it functions exactly like a regular FFF printer. The byFlow extrudes successive layers of material until a three dimensional shape is formed.
byFlow makes use of refillable syringe-like containers that you can fill yourself with whatever food your recipe calls for. This makes it ideal for printing complex decorative designs or experimenting with new foods. It can also handle pastes of different viscosities and pre-fry printed foods on it’s heated printer bed.
byFlow is the star of the new pop 3D Printer Restaurant called Food Ink. The Food Ink. restaurant is on the cutting edge of molecular gastronomy and byFlow has garnered a lot of praise for being able to handle the various demands of the world class chefs that use it. Visit the Food Ink. website today to find out more about all of the crazy things those chefs have done with byFlow. The cool thing is that you can make those foods with it too.
Chef3D by Beehex
Beehex is a company based in New York City dedicated to bringing 3D printed pizza to the world. Using Beehex software and Chef3D printers, restaurants can produce customized pizza for their guests. These printers can produce ciabatta-style pizzas in under 2 minutes that would otherwise take 9 minutes for humans to make the old fashioned way.
Check out the BeeHex printer on Beehex.com. While these printers are currently only being sold to businesses like pizza shops, BeeHex will hopefully have a consumer version ready to purchase soon. If you really want one though, reach out to them and you will probably be able to strike a deal.
Chock Creator by Choc Edge
The Choc Creator v2.0 Plus is a premier 3D chocolate printer from the UK. It is one of the few commercially available 3D printers to focus exclusively on chocolate. But that focus is worth it. The Choc Creator and make some of the coolest looking designs out chocolate you can imagine. Plus, the Choc Creator can be used to print simple 2D decorations on cookies or cakes if that’s all you need it for.
The Choc Creator comes with it’s own software and app suite. This means you can start printing almost immediately. The machine uses tempered Belgian Dark Chocolate, which is the best type of chocolate for printing. However you can use other types of chocolate if you want to. Just make sure you know how to melt the chocolate beforehand so that it flows through the printer well. Otherwise you might not get very good results.
The 3D food printing revolution is in the early years and changing quickly. Over the next few years, we will probably see vast advancements in food printing and 3D food printer design. Many companies are watching the food printing industry closely and looking for opportunities to innovate. Things are going to get very interesting soon. While the food printers in this list are interesting and effective, we are all waiting for a truly revolutionary.
Someday, we will hopefully all have a Star Trek-style replicator in our kitchens. Until then, these are the top 7 best 3D food printers available at the moment. Try them out and let us know in the comments below what you made with them. And don’t forget to check out the PancakeBot on Amazon.