3D Printshow London 2015 – top five innovations

Running until 23 May, 3D Printshow London is showcasing the latest developments for the technology, including machinery, filament and products. The show’s 3D Printed Restaurant is creating most buzz – serving up full meals to diners, twelve people at a time; elsewhere, there are valuable steps forward for materials and surface effects.

3D printed meals

Fablab Maastricht is serving up tasting menus and full, sit-down meals to guests this year, prepared by chef Mateo Blanch and designer Floris Hoff, who was one of the pioneers of 3D printing for chocolate. The menu includes biscuit entrees made from 3D printed silicone moulds; 3D printed caviar that is spherified using molecular gastronomy’s favourite ingredient, agar agar; and gnocchi, carpaccio and hummus, which are each printed from a puree. Dessert comes in the form of a 3D printed chocolate globe.

3D printed candy – for home chefs

The Sugar Lab has made headlines over the past two years for its beautiful 3D printed candy, but the process hasn’t been available for consumers to try out themselves so far. That changes with Bocusini‘s printing system, which has already exceeded its target on Kickstarter. The company has developed a 3D printer head and edible filaments including candy, marzipan and chewing gum, which are easy enough to use that the system is ‘plug and play’ – amateurs can unpack it and get started immediately. Savoury foods such as potato can also be used with the machine: these ingredients can be made from scratch at home, using recipes provided with Bocusini’s system.

Bigger is better for 3D printers

3D printing is often associated with small, colourful plastic models. To make more impact in the design industry, the technology needs to scale up in both size and ambition. BigRep‘s One.2 does just this: with more than 1 metre-cubed volume, the full-scale FFF 3D printer is the largest of its kind on the market, and has 27 times the volume of a desktop printer. This opens up exciting possibilities for printing furniture, architectural components and exhibition designs.

3D printers might be in your cornershop, not in your kitchen

3DHubs‘ website connects printers to customers: users can search by area and find studios and fablabs near to them, so that instead of having to invest in and maintain a printer of their own, they can outsource project-by-project to local professionals. This cuts down on one of the main barriers to consumer adoption – the initial investment – as well as creating new jobs for communities of the future.

Filaments are getting more interesting

The materials of 3D printing are expanding continuously, moving the technology beyond hard plastic to more tactile composites based on wood, metal, crystal and paper. Mcor Technologies uses office paper, producing high-quality models with a softer, more tactile appeal.

Surface effects are also expanding in scope: eSun offers a range of thermochroic filaments, which change in colour when exposed to sunlight or UV light.

WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors subscribers can find out more about 3D printing innovations in the reports, 3D Printed Futures and 3D Printed Food.

– Sarah Housley


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