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CandyFab
May 9, 2007 1:02 PM   Subscribe

Sweet! Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories has made a 3D printer that forms objects out of sugar.
posted by exogenous (36 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Totally beyond awesome. I would have stopped at CNC toast, but a gigantic screw made of melted sugar... the mind boggles.
posted by GuyZero at 1:17 PM on May 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is amazing. We're in genuine Willy Wonka territory here, and I'm not being facetious. Did you catch the bit about other substances that can be used with this device?

Fine-tune the machine to enhance the resolution. Load up the hopper with chocolate chips. Punch in the 3-D model. Get a solid chocolate replica of anything you want.

My friends, we're seeing the genesis of the best-selling Mother's Day gifts of 2010.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:20 PM on May 9, 2007


Next project: Sheena Easton's sugar walls.
posted by brain_drain at 1:23 PM on May 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


I've seen this used to make architectural models. You send 'em your autoCAD drawings, they futz with them a bit, and then presto! Model.
posted by LionIndex at 1:25 PM on May 9, 2007


Sugar Cubes! Oh ...
posted by YoBananaBoy at 1:31 PM on May 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


That is monumentally wonderful.

The choice of sugar as a fabrication medium was inspired, for all the reasons they said.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:32 PM on May 9, 2007


This would go well with my cereal-and-fruit-fabricator.
posted by Dizzy at 1:35 PM on May 9, 2007


Did you catch the bit about other substances that can be used with this device?

If I load up the hopper with nuts and bolts, can it self-replicate?
posted by itchylick at 1:41 PM on May 9, 2007


There was an interesting article on stereolithography [aka 3D printing] in the New York Times on Monday: Beam It Down From the Web, Scotty.
posted by ericb at 1:48 PM on May 9, 2007


Our machine employs what we believe is a fairly novel low-cost technology to accomplish this: selective hot air sintering and melting (SHASAM).

Haha, awesome.

Fine-tune the machine to enhance the resolution. Load up the hopper with chocolate chips.

If I load up the hopper with nuts and bolts, can it self-replicate?

There is no hopper.

The printing process begins with a bed of a granular printing media that has a fairly low melting point. Using a narrow, directed, low-velocity beam of hot air, we selectively fuse together the print media, forming a two-dimensional image out of the fused grains. We then lower the bed by a small amount, add a thin flat layer of media to the top of the bed, and selectively fuse the media in the new layer, forming a two dimensional image that is also fused to any overlapping fused areas in the layer below.

We have taken a very different approach from most other fab projects in that we have a comparatively large printable volume, but less need for precision and high resolution. Our fabricator is not designed for prototyping machine parts; it's designed for fun, for large-scale 3D illustration, for sculpting, architectural models, and other applications where resolution isn't the only important factor.

It's too bad my NC Routers, Mills and Lathes aren't designed for Fun™...

These guys certainly are fun though, thanks for the link!
posted by prostyle at 1:50 PM on May 9, 2007


The architecture office I am at just invested in a 3-D printer (which I am so excited to be trained to use) , I should recommend we make one of these.

The only downside is it takes forever to print something, but maybe in 50 years you can turn it on, pick a shape, and make it candy in seconds.

I don't know if the chocolate would work. . . you'd have to get the gun to create 94 degree air. . .
posted by Esoquo at 1:50 PM on May 9, 2007


"One company that wants to be the first to deliver a 3-D printer for consumers is Desktop Factory....The company will start selling its first printer for $4,995 this year."
posted by ericb at 1:51 PM on May 9, 2007


I don't think teleportation or light-speed travel (let alone FTL) will ever happen. I do think remote stereolithography will get good enough for it not to matter.

But, then, I'm a mechanical engineer, so I would think that.
posted by LordSludge at 1:52 PM on May 9, 2007


ericb--
Excellent link. My inner geek gets all hinky when the author uses "Transporter" for "Replicator".
And don't even get me started on Heisenberg Rectifiers.

Like I'll actually post this.
posted by Dizzy at 1:54 PM on May 9, 2007


Wait.
posted by Dizzy at 1:54 PM on May 9, 2007


I'm sure the porn industry will find a use for this in a short time. Get a fab of certain body parts and give them to loved ones to eat at their own leisure! Nothing says love like edible sex organs.
posted by Green With You at 2:00 PM on May 9, 2007


Get a fab of certain body parts and give them to loved ones to eat at their own leisure! Nothing says love like edible sex organs.

In the mean time you can settle for generic candied erotic body parts.
posted by ericb at 2:09 PM on May 9, 2007


This is pretty cool - They don't seem to document the step of adding media, though - Seems like that would be one of the more difficult problems.
posted by mzurer at 3:01 PM on May 9, 2007


I am curious about the use of the word 'printer'.

In what sense does it print?
posted by MtDewd at 3:19 PM on May 9, 2007


I wonder if it's occurred to them how much money they could make with the custom toast machine using a picture of the Virgin Mary and ebay.
posted by shadow vector at 3:23 PM on May 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Since I am not currently allowed to eat sugar, let me just reiterate, EVIL!

(also awesome)
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:49 PM on May 9, 2007


I am curious about the use of the word 'printer'.

In what sense does it print?


In the sense that has been used for centuries?

OED:

2. a. To impress or stamp (a form, figure, mark, etc.) in or on a yielding substance; also, by extension, to set or trace (a mark, figure, etc.) on any surface, by carving, writing, or otherwise.
posted by vacapinta at 3:56 PM on May 9, 2007


You can build your own RepRap for $500. The project's eventual goal is a machine design that can produce affordable copies of itself. Along the way people experiment with things like cake icing in addition to more conventional materials.
posted by jayCampbell at 3:58 PM on May 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


That is fantastic and making me very hungry!

Around the world, dentists are shuddering...
posted by Salmonberry at 4:13 PM on May 9, 2007


Around the world, dentists are shuddering...

Around the world, dentists are shuddering salivating...more cavities = more revenue. Eat up kids!
posted by ericb at 4:17 PM on May 9, 2007


Desktop process for producing dental products by means of 3-dimensional plotting.
posted by jayCampbell at 4:21 PM on May 9, 2007


OED:
2. a. To impress or stamp (a form, figure, mark, etc.) in or on a yielding substance; also, by extension, to set or trace (a mark, figure, etc.) on any surface, by carving, writing, or otherwise.
Oh, sure- bring up the OED!
I was using a 'murikin dictionary, which didn't have the '...by extension...' sense.

Part of me wants to thank you but the other part doesn't think anything is being impressed by this machine (including me).
posted by MtDewd at 4:56 PM on May 9, 2007


These folks are seriously crazed.
posted by pointilist at 6:56 PM on May 9, 2007


Robotic cake-icing is just the breakthrough I've been praying for.
posted by Dizzy at 7:01 PM on May 9, 2007


Awesome! Interesting choice of objects they chose to produce.

I'm still in shock that scientists are printing the basics of human organs. Bio-printing. It's mind boggling.
posted by nickyskye at 7:35 PM on May 9, 2007


Around the world, dentists are shuddering...

It's the starch that keeps sugar stuck to teeth that really gets you. Pure sugar is fine as long as you brush or chew some gum.

Or so I've heard...
posted by stavrogin at 10:20 PM on May 9, 2007


I am... suitably impressed. And hungry.
posted by Many bubbles at 10:51 PM on May 9, 2007


Hm. This is neat, but the end result doesn't look very tasty to me.
posted by Tehanu at 7:49 AM on May 10, 2007


we have used it to print several large, low-resolution, objects out of pure sugar.
This reminds me of one of my favorite questions: What resolution is reality?
posted by jiawen at 10:32 AM on May 10, 2007


Very cool.
posted by OmieWise at 11:24 AM on May 10, 2007


Shouldn't be much longer and you'll be able to download everything made of wood, cloth or plastic that Ikea sells. Just add suitable media. It'll make copyright fights a whole lot more interesting.
posted by Mitheral at 11:20 PM on May 10, 2007


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