May 12, 2015 | By Alec

With so many upcoming food 3D printers expected this year, such as the Foodini and the XYZPrinting  Food Printer, expectations are growing. And it looks like we can now add another very promising machine, capable of 3D printing more unusual foods such as marzipan and coming in a ‘retrofit printing head’ version as well, to our list: The Bocusini 3D printer. While only now launched on Kickstarter and hoping to start shipping in January 2016, it will definitely cause other food printing developers to nervously look over their shoulders to see what others are up to.

For while most of the 3D food printers we’ve seen so far are either simple chocolate extruders or complicated and user unfriendly prototypes, the Bocusini is shaping up to become a fascinating, easy-to-use and multipurpose device. This German-made machine has been developed by the trio Melanie, Johannes and Sebastian, who together have more than 20 years’ worth of experience in studies towards nutritional and sensorial characteristics of food and its properties. In short, they are not tinkerers, but foodies at heart, though they extensively worked together engineers, food scientists and chefs throughout the development of the Bocusini.

And that machine looks to be designed as a perfect option for the chefs and confectioners, the people that would actually be the first to adopt food 3D printers. For, as they explain, it’s going to be the world's first plug & play food printing system. ‘Bocusini is an easy-to-use open source food printing system for gastronomy, patisserie and home applications. It consists of a heated food printing head mounted to a standard 3D printer, a selection of easy to change cartridges with printable food, an intuitive user interface and the web platform with creative food designs and recipes,’ they write on their Kickstarter page. ‘It is plug & play. This makes it the perfect tool for creative chefs or confectioners as well as for creative end users.’

Key in that easy-to-use approach are convenient food cartridges that can be easily inserted into your machine. ‘The Bocusini cartridges will come in volumes of 60 ml, thus contain up to 100 g of the food product - making it really productive,’ they write. That should be more than enough for making small and fun additions to deserts and whatever you can imagine. What’s more, those food cartridges will be sold through their website, though with a bit of testing you can easily fill them yourself as well.

Together with a web-based design platform that won’t require users to learn complex modeling software before being able to eat, the Bocusini is thus perfect for chefs who just want something extra with as little fuss as possible. ‘Our 3D food printing web platform will guide you through different food worlds with printable food designs, recipes, preparation and serving instructions, and downloadable templates, containing 3D print files and printing conditions,’ they say.

And what’s more, options will include just about anything you can find in kitchen. ‘So far we can successfully print more than 30 different food products. These are part of the six most important food categories: Confectionary (choci, marzipan, chewing gum, fudge, jelly), bakery products (cookie, meringue, biscuit), snack products (potato crisps, savoury snacks), fruit & vegetable Products (all kind of fruit purees, fruit sauces, fruit jellies or gelled vegetables), meat products (different pates and meat spreads) and dairy products (cream cheese or yoghurt),’ the German developers explain. We assume that any raw products will need to be baked before eating though.

But of course as this machine is still in its funding phase, the initial plan is to release cartridges filled with marzipan, chocolate and fudge, and release more over time through their website. Perhaps most interesting: they encourage users to develop their own recipes and capsules as well. ‘We will support them with instructions and recommendations. Hence you will also have the possibility to print food objects you created yourself,’ they say.

Retrofitted machines.

All this sounds pretty great for chefs and confectioners, but the 3D printing community itself shouldn’t despair. For, in addition to the complete system, Bocusini will also offer a retrofit food printer head kit that can be attached to several open source 3D printers – though currently only on the Printrbot Simple Wood, Simple Metal and the Ultimaker 2. That means you might already own your food 3D printer!

Really the only downside of this machine is that it doesn’t quite exist yet. The Bocusini is currently a working prototype, though its design needs to be improved in a few areas and its food capsules still need to be largely developed. The same can be said for its web platform. To realize this machine, a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter is currently ongoing to raise €30,000 (or about $33,800) by June 11 – which looks like a realistic sum to gather in pledges, especially as nearly €5,000 has already been pledged. If you’re interested in helping this machine come to life, go here. A pledge of just €250 (or $280) is enough to get your hands on a printer head kit to modify your own machine, while a complete early bird Bocusini food printer junior (with a print bed of 100 x 100 x 130 mm) can be yours for a pledge of €550 (or $620).

Full specifications for the Bocusini 3D food printer:

  • Usable for all flowable food products 
  • Volume of food capsules: 60 ml
  • Printing temperature: 20-70 °C (68-158 F)
  • Nozzle size: 0.3-2 mm
  • Working voltage: 110-230 V AC
  • WIFI controlled Open source software & hardware
  • Control by nearly any smart device without software or app installation
  • Working area for available printing systems:
  • Bocusini Junior: 100 x 100 x 130 mm
  • Bocusini Pro: 150 x 150 x 150 mm

Posted in 3D Printers


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