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January 8, 2014

3D food printers unveiled at CES

Machines can make chocolate and sugar-based confectionary.

By Ben Sullivan

US 3D printing firm 3D Systems has cooked up two 3D food printers for the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The machines can create sugary treats in complex shapes that couldn’t be made by hand.

The smaller of the two, Chefjet, can only print in monochrome colours, but its big brother, Chefjet Pro, can create multicoloured sweet-temptations.

Chefjet is predicted to cost about £3,000 with the Pro version coming in at almost double that.

3D Systems also demonstrated other printers that can print ceramics and plastics.

3D Systems developed its new "food-safe" printers after taking over a Los Angeles-based start-up in September, which had customised one of its machines.

The Chefjet models use chocolate or sugar, and the Chefjet Pro can create photo-quality edible pictures for use on cakes and other surfaces.

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The firm is also releasing Digital Cookbook in the form of an app to help customers make such treats.

The creators hope to see the printers used in bakeries and resturants.

NASA announced its own plans last year to send a Star Trek-style food replicator into space.

NASA is designing the printer to make space food products out of cheap raw materials that have a long shelf life. It gave $125,000 to a Texas based company that it hopes one day can provide the ability to feed astronauts on longer missions, such as a manned mission to Mars.

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