Stephen Mellor with HRH Princess Anne.

3D chocolate printer features in RAE Summer Soirée Exhibition

Exeter was recently invited to showcase its unique 3D chocolate printer at the prestigious RAE 2012 Summer Soirée.

The Royal Academy of Engineering Summer Soirée hosted by Cardiff University highlighted the crucial role of engineers in developing solutions to a diverse range of environmental, social, health and economic challenges. The event was attended by guest of honour HRH The Princess Royal, and included a drinks reception and exhibition, followed by a black tie dinner.

Representing the University of Exeter at the event was postgraduate student Stephen Mellor. The exhibit featured the 3D chocolate printer and a plastic printer, as well as ALM components from the Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing.

The basic principle of 3D printing is that any three dimensional object can be split into two dimensional layers of a certain thickness, and by adding these layers on top of each other the object can be created in a variety of materials. Without using expensive tooling, 3D printing enables many users to create and share their own designs and products. Dr Liang Hao has led a research team at Exeter to develop an appealing and novel 3D chocolate printer, which processes one of many people’s favourite materials, chocolate, to build creative and personalised gift products.

The University of Exeter engineers were the first to develop a way of applying 3D printing to chocolate, which is a challenging material to work with because it requires accurate control of viscosity and temperature conditions.

Spin out company Choc Edge Ltd was launched by Dr Hao at the end of April. The company is now accepting pre-orders for its Choc Creator 3D chocolate printers.

The Exeter research team has also initiated Creative Lab to engage students, youngsters and public users in practising desktop and portable 3D chocolate and plastic printers, and conducting entrepreneurial product creation and development.

For more information and links to videos showing 3D chocolate printing, please visit the Choc Edge website.

Date: 31 May 2012

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