You might think that food from a printer would taste a bit inky and that the paper would require a lot of water to digest. 3D Systems’ ChefJet Printer, however, uses 3D printing technology to make edible treats from sugar, water, and alcohol (for hardening). Professional bakers, cake masters, and high-end restaurateurs and caterers can then use these as decorations and small desserts.
3D Systems unveiled two models of the ChefJet at CES in Las Vegas last week. The regular ChefJet measures 8 x 8 x 6 in., produces monochrome confections, and has an expected retail price under $5,000. The ChefJet Pro measures 10 x 14 x 8 in., offers full-color printing and has an expected retail price under $10,000. Both printers produce chocolate, vanilla, mint, sour apple, cherry, and watermelon flavors.
ChefJets come with The Digital Cookbook collection of recipes and easy-to-use software, so operating one should be relatively simple even if you don’t have previous experience with computer-aided design. This isn’t the first 3D printer to produce food–NASA produced a 3D pizza printer for use in space and Google a 3D pasta printer–but the ChefJet is the first to make difficult-to-produce edibles available to consumers. 3D Systems expects to have both versions of the printer ready for market in the second half of 2014.