3D printing isn’t just for inedible plastics anymore.
Most filament 3D printers start with rigid plastic or corn-based material like PLA, which is fed into the printer, melted and then pushed through a specialized nozzle that moves over a fixed plate and the extruder prints layer by layer.
But a new 3D printer add-on from Structure3D Printing will let you start with soft, even paste-like materials and print them through any filament-based 3D printer to create a world of soft, pliable and even edible 3D objects.
The Discov3ry paste extruder connects to your 3D printer and can handle silicone, polyurethane, clay, Play-Doh, melted chocolate, cookie dough, meringue, fondant and Nutella.
You just need to switch out the existing printing tip, connect the new soft material feed tube (which extends out of the Discov3ry Extruder) and connect the new extruder tip to your 3D printer’s print head cartridge. This sounds a bit complicated; we wouldn’t want to pass judgment until we can try it for ourselves.
Soft, squishy, even liquidy printing materials are placed in reusable syringes, which Discov3ry forces out of into a tube that connects to the extruder tip. A $249 starter kit will ship with three sets of syringes, tubes and connectors. The company is trying to raise additional funds for production through Kickstarter, and will also sell a wide variety of print nozzles.
As much fun as it is to imagine printing with your favorite food products, printing with silicone also has potential for biomedical applications ranging from prosthetics to hearing aids and surgical implants, the company explained.
BONUS: How Does 3D Printing Work?