3D-printed ice cream is silly science at its most delicious (Wired UK)

End Ice Cream PrintingKristine Bunker

What do you get if you mix 3D
printing with ice cream? Sometimes the answer is a messy puddle,
other times the answer is a way cool 3D-printed design that you can
eat (quick, though, before it melts!) and one day the answer might
just be a perfectly constructed baked alaska.

Students from MIT have hacked a Cuisinart ice cream maker and
Solidoodle 3D printer to create a device that could print
soft-serve ice cream. The printing process takes place inside a
small freezer unit, with the ice cream being blasted with liquid
nitrogen as it emerges from the Cuisinart — which is perched on
top of the freezer — in order to keep it solid for printing. The
printing itself obviously takes place within the freezer, but the
tricky part of constructing the device was guaranteeing the ice
cream stayed at a consistently cold temperature while being fed
between the ice cream maker down into the freezer and out of the
nozzle.

To do this they bent a cryogen line all the way around the
extruder the ice cream was dispensed from so they could spray the
ice cream with liquid nitrogen evenly and thoroughly. They also had
to modify the printer so that the printing bed was outside of the
original printing enclosure, as otherwise there would have not been
room to fit the extruder and cryogen pipe in with it too.

According to the pictures of their original tests, the team of
students struggled at first to stop the ice cream from melting
before it could successfully be printed into a design, but they can
now create a perfect star shape — albeit still with some of the
ice cream melting in the process.

It may not be the most obviously practical use for 3D-printing
technology, but as the students told 3Ders.org, they wanted to come up with a way of using the
tech that would grab the attention of kids simply because it was
fun. They imagine the device might be marketable to ice cream
parlours, where children could order their ice cream with a
specific design and watch it being printed out.

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Source: wired.co.uk
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