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New 3d food printer, first steps

My 2019 3d food printing resolutions included, not only, a new 3d food printer. Pinya4 is a new iteration on the saga. The fourth one.

As mentioned in this previous post the main goals for my new 3d food printer Pinya 4 are:

  • Easy to use
  • Automatic multitool
  • Clean access to printing area
  • Easy to clean

My first iteration, does not tackle all these features. In fact it mostly focuses in a single one. Clean access to printing area.

The reason for this is to actually learn (start to) a bunch of new making skills:


From day one I wanted to use stainless steel for my printer. It is the “pro” cooking appliance material. Welding the body felt like the right way to get a sturdy frame. Also I got excuse to my first steps into TIG welding.

Following pictures show the evolution for the new food printer first frame.

Of course this took way longer than expected, but through a some trial and error I got the frame done. Stainless steel is a harder material to cut, compare to aluminum, so that was intense. I was happy with the results and I even ended up welding the bolt joins!


This was a fun one, I wanted the new food printer to have as much as metal parts as possible. I quickly gave up on stainless part for my learning process with CNC. Thanks to the support from Hannah and Boris from New Lab I was able to jump on the Haas and machine the main plate and biceps for the printer.

The following parts are the printer biceps:


Having quick access to New Lab printing service, it was a no brainer to take advantage of it. I printed the end effector, the ball joint cup and bicep to shaft thingy.

I used abuse FDM, but for more complex and tiny parts like the ball joint cup it makes a HUGE difference, thanks Alex!

Endeffector picture:

Following picture is the second iteration of the ball joint cup:


My last 3d food printer was using a Smoothieboard. Instead the new 3d food printer uses a Duet3D.

Not a lot of reason was put into this change. Basically I wanted the firmware to have rotary delta kinematics, I was curious about the wifi integration, and wanted to try the RepRapFirmware.

Lessons learned


I knew that not designing the whole printer in CAD, I use mostly fusion360, was a mistake. But at the same time I knew that If I had to put the hours to make a beautiful and full featured CAD I would had never started the printer.
Due to the lag of a proper full design, I did the following mistakes:

  • The printer is shorter in height. By almost 90mm!!!
  • The tension mechanism of the motor belts is BAD
  • The endstops set up is not friendly
  • the ball joints are a never ending mess

Although beyond this issues, I am really happy on how the printer looks and feels specially thanks to welding and cnc wise.

Stainless steel is bouncy

Being this my first (and so far) only stainless steel welding project I had zero idea about how to size the body. I used 1/2 in flat bar, that turn out to make the body quite springy.

Next iteration will have a stronger design, or so I hope!

Gravity (weight distribution)

Never thought about this until I had the first parts on my hand. The hanging head of the printer (includes motors and arms) is pretty heavy! So the tower needed to be at least twice as heavy. Right now it is not and I need to balance the printer with a pot full of coins.

Ball joints

Without thinking much I moved from magnet hold to spring loaded ball joints. I am already into my 3rd design iteration, and for some reason I feel they wont be the last one.

First iteration used only one spring, what made all the joints S-N-A-P

Second iteration used two springs, and a bigger “cup” to slide around the ball. I felt the surface in contact between socket and ball was too big and decided to do a third iteration. Probably this wasnt needed. Although I feel, deep down inside of me I was hoping to solve in hardware calibration issues in the printer.

Rotary delta?!?!

Where to start here. This is my first rotary delta. In fact, I build the hardware before I even had a slightly idea of how to make it work. Obviously I still dont. I have managed to do some quick print, to clearly realize the need for a proper calibration day.

Printing food I have never worried too much about calibration, I dont think 1mm up or down matters much, but at least having a flat layer is a must… so it is clear that that is my next step!


There is still a long road ahead to get Pinya4 up and running, hopefully sooner than later we will get there. Once we have a solid foundation is when things are going to start getting fun, trying to solve some of our early design goals! multitool anyone???

Thanks a lot! Cudos to you if you made it all the way down here.

BTW, if you like what you read here, consider supporting us on Patreon that makes a world of a difference and help us to make more awesome things!

Printing food with a coaxial nozzle

Coaxial nozzle

I like making things. Sometimes too much. I made my first coaxial nozzle 4 years ago and until this year I did not give it a decent shot. Wanna learn more about my first experiments with it? Lets do it!

First lets explain properly what is a coaxial nozzle. It is as simple as a nozzle inside of another nozzle. This allows to “wrap” a material with another. This would make sense for example to have a soft material inside and a “harder” one outside that acts as a wall.

BTW the idea of using a coaxial nozzle was suggested by Will during my time at Pier9.


The coaxial nozzle is made out of 2 parts. Inner and outer nozzles. It is easy to assemble the inner nozzle screws into the outer one. Both nozzle sections have inlets for each material. I use small luer-lock connectors.

Both parts were made using a lathe and a mill. Probably the hardest part to make the nozzles is the thread that mates both blocks. This is important because is what ensures that once the two parts are locked, both ends of the nozzles are flush. But overall as long as the nozzle diameter are not too small, I feel is fun project to make.


Once I had the nozzle made was time to play with it. I first started with manual tests, to later move on to printer test.

The first manual tests showed that the “bowden” like extruder required a loooooooot of force to push food through the small tube. By bowden I mean that the food travels through a tube between a reservoir/syringe/cartridge to the nozzle.

Extruders attached to coaxial nozzle

Initially I tested motorized extruders like this one:

Lead screw extruder

This showed not to have enough force to push most of material so I had to design a stronger extruder.

Bigger linear motor extruder

The truth is, that after the first results, I was a bit disappointed. I used mashed potatoes and did not like the results at all. Specially printing anything with coaxial nozzle requires an extra layer of complexity not just to run the hardware but to come up with the right sofware to build the GCode. Honestely I was disappointed, and stopped working on the nozzle for a while.

Coaxial nozzle test

Fast forwarding into the future (current present – a few months ago) I decided to give it a go. With a two differences; new extruder that simplifies gcode/toolpath generation and different test materials.

I moved from motorized extruders two pressure based. Because they are easier to control, using a solenoid that goes on or off to print. The obvious trade off here is precision but that should not be a problem when learning to use something new.

It was also exciting, for me, to try to design and print a cartridge holder with a seal that could be used as an air compressed extruder.

Cartridge air pressure holder

If you are reading this, and you want to get one. Send me a DM on Instagram, I might have something to offer 😉

For the new set of tests, I switched “material” to Greek yogurt and food colorant. Also each test required a custom build tool to generate the toolpath that control each coaxial nozzle outlet.


The 1st pattern was based on alternated dots with different color. This was to test the precision of the new air pressed extruder using this nozzle. Pressure used was 2-3 bars.

A really interesting artifact happened when trapped air bubbles, burst at the end of a dot, creating a ring effect when the outer coaxial nozzle was used, check previous picture.


Second pattern was a snake shape. This time both exits were printing at the same time. It was really interesting to see how we could encapsulate a material inside another. It was hard to have a good consistency but not impossible. My favorite effect was cutting with a knife the lines after printing them.


The third test was first attempt to add a third dimension, or layering. It was fun to try, but greek yogurt by itself doesnt have a lot of consistency to hold its shape.

The following video shows the design app:

And here you can see a print test:


During the test I felt a bit hopeless of this technique, but now as I review the results I see, with a bit more of perspective, what coaxial nozzle could do.

Ideally I would like to improve, the shape of the nozzle (current one being to large), test more materials, and figure out a way to have more height on the prints.

Why a new 3d food printer?

It has been almost 4 years since the release of my last 3d food printer PINYA3. A lot has happened since then and an update felt obvious. But needed?

PINYA3 design criteria were:

  • Easy to clean
  • Kitchen compatible: print on a dish, small footprint
  • Fixed printing area

At the last minute, a fourth one slip in. Fast to build. Because I had a limited amount of time to build it while at Pier9.

Overall PINYA3 has been working hard since then, and despite the every-now-and-then hiccups, could not be happier with it. It enabled a lot of experimentation, with a fraction of the issues I used to have with the previous version. With this 3d food printer I have experimented with:

  • Up to 4 extruders printing at the same time
  • Air extrusion
  • Coaxial extrusion
  • Powder/liquid extrusion

My opinion is that:

the next step on 3d food printing is seamless multitool integration.

With that in mind here are the goals for my new 3d food printer:

  • Easy to use
  • Automatic multitool
  • Clean access to printing area
  • Easy to clean

Fun fact PINYA4 has been design on paper way before PINYA3 was build.

PINYA4 first draft

There are two main “specs” of my new 3d food printer that need a bit more of explanation.

“Easy to use”. Goal for PINYA4 is that more people (than myself) have access to it, and more importantly, FUN USING IT! Basically a low cost/access to the 3d food printer and easy to use tools (software and hardware).

I think i can tackle the first one, making a build-your-own-3d-food-printer-workshop and trying to keep price “within-sense”. The second one I feel is a bit more challenging due too the lack of 3d food printing design resources, specially for multitool printing. But one thing at the time.

First prototype of PINYA4 (already on the works) is dedicated to learn some of the new technical challenges including, welding, CNC, rotary delta, … Hopefully sooner than later first iteration will be up and running so we can start PINYA4’s potential.

If you made it all the way here, it means you are truly interested in 3d food printing, if you are in New York consider joining one of our workshop, for the rest of the world join our Patreon page for online classes!

3d food printing conference 2019

2019 was not going to be an exception…The 3d food printing conference 2019 is back! This is always exciting.

  • Something new will change the game?
  • Talks
  • Networking
  • Live demos!

One of the very few opportunities to have a 3d food printing immersion with professionals in the field.

3D Food Printing Conference 2019 takes place on June 27, 2019, as part of a two-day agri-food event that also includes dedicated conferences to healthy nutrition, smart farming and vertical farming. The conference will focus on topics such as 3D food printing, materials, textures, laser cooking, molecular gastronomy, food research, insect cultivation, protein alternatives and more.

These are the confirmed speakers:

Roisin Burke, Senior Lecturer in Culi nary Science, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland, on ‘Note by Note cooking (Molecular Gastronomy) and 3D Food Printing’

Jonathan Blutinger, PhD Candidate, Columbia University, Creative Machines Lab, USA, on “Laser cooking: re-imagining the culinary experience”

With a bit of luck will get to see each other there!~

3d food printing workshop in NYC

Hi, everyone. This is Luis. 3DigitalCooks is back with a new 3d food printing workshop.


We have put together a 101 workshop on 3d food printing that we will be holding regularly in New York City. We feel is the right time to start sharing all our knowledge and experience on 3d food printing! But most important… this workshop is a taste of our own dream

a 3d food printing school

But let’s not go so far just yet.

This 101 workshop will introduce our attendees to 3d food printing in a creative, fun and hands on way. Understanding how 3d food printing is a new tool in the kitchen, the same way a blender is, BUT with tremendous potential specially in creativity.

So what is the content of this workshop some of you may ask.

Here it is the outline:

** INTRO **
** DESIGN **
** PASTES **
** FUN **

Having fun is the key for this 3d food printing workshop and this is important because we believe is the right approach to learn about 3d food printing. With that in mind, along the workshop we will start form scratch understanding the importance of 3d food printing, what it is and how it works. We will take some time to explain about the key aspects of it, design, food and techniques but at the same time having a hands on experience with printing pastes and powders techniques.

We are organizing the workshop through this MEETUP group,

Sign up: HERE
Location: Long Island City in NYC
Duration: ~2hours
Cost: 50$

If you want to know more please contact us through INSTAGRAM

Looking forward to have fun together and sharing my passion/obsession on 3d food printing with y’all!

3d printed colorful hummus

3d food printing conference 2018

And here it is again! The 3d food printing conference is coming back for the 4th year. Excited to see that and event exist to learn and summit the turns around on 3d food printing.

This year the event will happen the 28 of June at Villa Flora, Venlo The Netherlands.

The conference will be part of the 2nd edition of the global Agri-Food Innovation Event.

The event will include 4 conferences and a 2-day expo.
Day 1, June 27 – Healthy Nutrition Conference and Vertical Farming Conference
Day 2, June 28 – 3D Food Printing Conference and Smart Farming Conference

A great event to learn more about:

  • Technologies for 3D Food Printing
  • Ingredients for 3D Food Printing
  • Patent issues
  • Legal issues
  • Regulatory issues
  • Investment opportunities

Already confirmed as spearker Kjeld Van Bommel and Eshchar Ben Shitrit. More to come!

Curious about what happened in the past visit their archive. Want to stay updated on the 3d food printing conference news, subscrive to their social media channels.

I hope this year we would be there learning and sharing our passon on 3d food printing.

3d chocolate printer by Evan Weinstein

It is truly inspiring every single time I found someone, with the willingness to learn and the tenacity to work on 3d food printing. In this case Evan Weinstein decided to work in the holy grail of 3DFP problems. Printing Chocolate.

Greatest part is that he is sharing a lot of his work! Specially the how to’s and the evolution of his project. Very little people those that so we eternally appreciate his effort.

VISIT HIS WEBSITE for more info. There you will find interesting videos. Like how he milled his nozzle:

Or his first iteration design review.

Looking forward to next year Maker Faire to see what he surprises us with 🙂


EVAN YOU ROCK! Your 3d chocolate printer is fun 🙂

Rocking Candy

Rocking candy is a new way to have fun  looking for new ways to use my printer to make fun stuff. Did I say fun twice? FUN FUN FUN.

The whole idea behind the rocking candy arrived after some random brainstorming for candy designs. I was looking about cool stuff that I would like to play with, flavor, shape, color… those are pretty obvious. But then I thought about fun. About playing with the candy, and from there (and rocking chairs) came the idea to mix both to create a set of candies where each one would rock with its own personality… of course after a gentle push.

The journey (a week) was mostly focused on improving and practicing the whole idea of making-candy-process. Ideation, design, printing, cleaning, iteration…

The results, that you see in the video are from the first design. There was no iteration in the CAD file itself. All the work happened at the printer level. Not the most fun stuff, but really important to streamline and learn to make future projects easier. I have learned to sieve with a siever (avoiding sifters), the need for good cleaning tools, and how gentle things need to be!! A LOT!

Overall a good fun project as a to dust off my printing skills, and share during my Science Sandbox fellowship.

More coming soon 🙂

Rocking candy is fun, 3d food printing for life.

New Fellowship on 3d food printing design

2017 is not waiting for anyone! March is already here and I am starting a new Fellowship…. How exciting! It’s funny because before this one I have only been part of one previous fellowship as an AiR at Pier9. So when I got the chance to enroll in a new one I did not hesitate even for a second!

I am joining the first cohort for the Science Sandbox fellowship @NewLab. And of course…my topic could not be anything else than 3d food printing related!!! hands up if you are feeling me on this one!!!! But what topic I will be working on???

I am gonna take the next 3 months to do research on 3d food printing design.

3d food printing design should be as as using a spoon or reading from a menu.

That is the whooole scope. For sure not an easy one, but any exploration towards that goal will give already good insights.

I will be mainly focus on talking to a lot of people and explore tangible and virtual design tools. Of course all the design tests will be actually printed. What links with my second goal. GET TO PRINT A LOT WITH MY NEW ZCORP! I expect to improve the way I sieve the powder, how to clean the prints but specially making for reliable prints and understanding the limits.

During this week#0, I looked into better ways to sieve the powder. First I wanted to buy a machine for it, later I wanted and ultrasonic sifter. Eventually I bought a couple of flour sifters, and tested them (cheap approach). It does the job. It’s better than the ring sifter, but it is a tough and long process, at least 15 minutes for 4 inches. Happy with it so far. Will need more tests!!!

Week#1 coming next!