Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research
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Made in the Future:

3D Printing Demonstrations at the Science Museum

venue: Antenna Gallery, Science Museum, london
dates: 1 - 3 june 2011
url: www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/visitmuseum/events
you tube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMfpVTQXKFg

Research Fellow in Rapid Prototyping Dr Peter Walters, and new KTP Associate Sophie Adams-Foster along with with KTP partner Renishaw Plc., took the RapMan 3D printer to participate in the event 'How will stuff be made in the future?', held at the Science Museum this June.

They were demonstrating recent research into Edible 3D Printing, by printing sugar icing using the RapMan 3D printer. The research project 'Edible 3D Printing', currently underway at UWE led by Deborah Sutherland in collaboration with Peter Walters, seeks to explore and test the technical capabilities of food-based materials (eg: sugars, starch powders, alcohol and chocolate) within 3D printing and rapid prototyping technologies.

The team were also posing the question 'How will 3D printing change the way we make and buy things?' to children and adults at the Museums' event - a selection of the answers will be published on this page in the near future... The event aimed to improve public engagement with new technologies and gain feedback on future applications in the home.

The RapMan printing sugar icing

Event details:
"How will stuff be made in the future? Printing in 3D is fast becoming the answer. Everything from sleek aeroplane parts to replacement teeth, bikes and even food can be printed using 3D layers from 2D computer images. Come to Antenna Live, speak to people at the forefront of the new wave of manufacturing and design, and decide whether it will change the way we all make and buy things."

Knoweldge Transfer Partnership with Renishaw:
The Centre for Fine Print Research and Renishaw Plc have recently been awarded funding from the Technology strategy board and AHRC to undertake a three year KTP project. The project aims to enhance the Additive Layer Manufacturing capability of Renishaw, improving in-house utilisation and developing innovative new machines and processes, through embedding print related technology and arts expertise.

Edible 3D Printing:
This is a ‘proof of concept’ research project that will bring the versatility and precision of the digital world into the realm of food and edible products. The project seeks to explore and test the technical capabilities of food-based materials (eg: sugars, starch powders, alcohol and chocolate) within 3D printing and rapid prototyping technologies.

The team are undertaking tests on three main production and manufacture techniques for technical feasibility and creative potential:

1. Direct free form fabrication, using powdered food mixes within the Z-Corp powder binder 3D printer.
2. Using heated syringe extruders and chocolate based products within the ‘Rap Man’ rapid prototyping system.
3. 3D printing of resin and/or plaster master models, from which silicone or vacuum formed plastic moulds will be produced, for casting single or multiple food based forms.

The potential of 3D printing has been under philosophical discussion for some time, but conventional materials are often limited in terms of functional and visual qualities. Food based products could provide an exciting alternative with significant commercial potential in the form of delicious delectable edible objects. It is anticipated that these fabrication processes will allow for the creation of intricate edible forms that would be unachievable through conventional cooking and food preparation techniques.


The Science Museum
Renishaw Plc
Edible 3D Printing
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CFPR Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP's)
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