3D printed food is nothing new…however the desire to eat something extruded out of cables and wires is still something that most people haven’t quite wrapped their heads around yet. Despite this food innovation hump, the move to create on-demand food is still pushing forward on a seemingly weekly basis with applications ranging from providing food for military personnel and astronauts to professional chefs.

Heck, even Oreo cookies made a star showing at this year’s SXSW festival through the use of 3D printed cream that was also an interactive social media experiment.

More recently however (and probably because it’s summer and we’ve used up all of our water balloons), two methods for 3D printing ice cream have been unveiled and while they aren’t officially ‘all-in-one’ ice cream printers…they both offer a good explanation as to how an ice cream 3D printer could theoretically be made and perhaps someday offer on-demand custom frozen treats next time you’re at the drive-thru…

The FoodForm + AntiGriddle Method

While most foods are printed at room temperature, the FoodForm from food innovation lab Robots in Gastronomy has been focusing their efforts on extruding various foodstuffs onto heated surfaces such as a griddle or a frying pan—effectively merging new technology with traditional methods of cooking (RIG also created the MakerFaire-favorite PancakeBot).

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For their 3D Printed Ice Cream project, the team used a PolyScience Anti-Griddle to flash-freeze the ice cream throughout the extrusion process. Roughly the size of a microwave and featuring a single square-foot freezing surface, the freezing surface is a constant blistering –30°F and is commonly used in high-end dining establishments to create various plate decorations from sauces and other liquid-based plate ornaments.

While the FoodForm was conceived from the concept of creating custom-cooked CAD creations, the opposite proved to be true when combined with the Anti-Griddle instead of a traditional griddle.

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The Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker + Solidoodle Method

Created by students Kyle Hounsell, Kristine Bunker and David Donghyun Kim at MIT, this ‘Ultimate Ice Cream Maker/Solidoodle Hack’ uses a modified Solidoodle housed inside of a small upright freezer to extrude the ice cream from the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker directly onto the print bed.

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In order to solidify the ice cream upon landing out of the extruder, the team built a system to spray liquid nitrogen onto the print bed to maintain a constant flash-freeze surface.

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…so whether we end up with a ‘Cold Stone Creamery In-a-Box‘ someday or not is still something left to be explored, one thing is for certain: creating rapid prototypes out of ice cream would be a heck of a lot of fun.

Feature image via Teague

Author

Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.