If you’re not familiar with VormVrij then get ready.. They’ve created some great products for 3D printing with clay and now have a food grade paste extruder available for your next 3DFP themed event or school!
It really is a thing of beauty; you can clearly see the craftsmanship and care that went into its creation.
Here are some notes from VormVrij about the LUTUM Food Grade Paste Extruder:
- made of bronze
- motor, auger and housing can be disassembled in one twist
- improved extruding speed
- exchangeable augers
- optional barrel cap offers continuous flow mode
We were so excited about this news that I reached out to Yao van den Heerik (founder of VormVrij) to get more personal about their new food grade paste extruder. The following is a portion of our conversation and following the Q&A check out the video of the LUTUM 3D printer and food grade extruder in action.
Hi Yao – How in the world did you decide to start printing with food?
We started printing with marzipan last year (pictures below) for the desserts of the Christmas family dinner, but at that time we did not develop the motorized extruder yet. So we left the food printing for the time being and focused on developing the extruder for printing clay.
As our clay extruder is now functioning to a level exceeding our own expectations we wanted to try food again. (Christmas is coming again!)
What led you to decide to create a food extruder?
The fact we already produce 3Dprinted ceramic tableware makes food printing a natural follow up to explore and contribute to a richer culinary experience, definitely a direction we will explore more with in the near future! Here are the first results: https://plus.google.com/+YaovandenHeerik/posts/bRqz6f14TPv
Where there any challenges in the development of the extruder?
The two things we changed to our ceramics 3dprinter were the air valve to regulate the speed at which the pastes reach the extruder and the material the extruder is made from. Normally we print clay, and that stuff is much more difficult to extrude than the food pastes. I guess it’s due to the water content. In clay you want as little water as possible, totally different to food (except marzipan). In essence our printer was over dimensioned for these soft pastes and I guess that’s why it was so easy to adjust the system to print food.
We also had to upgrade the material of the extruder. Most 3Dprinted metals are slightly porous and therefore difficult to clean and easily contaminated by pathogens. Our normal extruder is made from 3Dprinted stainless steel, the extruder we use to experiment with food is 3dprinted in wax and then casted in raw bronze. Hard enough to last but easy to scrub or boil clean (the extruder can be taken apart or assembled in less than a minute).
Now that you’ve had a “taste” of 3DFP what is next for you and VormVrij?
After the ‘I amsterdam’ print we decided that printing food would be a perfect addition to our current work. We are now developing a food grade variant of our printer. But as you mentioned this is much more difficult and has many restrictions in terms of material use, safety and clean-ability. This reflects drastically in the cost of the printer but on the other hand that new machine will be industrial grade and safe for restaurants or other public venues.
Currently Yao and VormVrij are looking for investors to propel the development of a large scale food grade 3D printer. You can find out more about the team at VormVrij on their website VormVrij.nl
We want thank Yao for allowing us this interview and wish him and his team all the best with their new venture into the world of 3D food printing!
‘Eat me if you dare…’ – Angeliki (intern @ VormVrij)