July 20, 2015 | By Alec

The 3D printing of food is one of the most exciting and amusing developments within the world of additive manufacturing, but hasn’t been able to recreate very detailed designs. Now a new British startup has put an unusual spin the production process to achieve a much higher quality. Called Candy Mechanics, they use 3D scanners and 3D printed molds to turn selfies into edible lollypops made in an impressive six different flavors. If anything, it really proves how much fun you can have with desktop technology and a creative mind.

The project in question is called Heads on Sticks, that has just completed a very successful six week trial at Selfridges London. Startup Candy Mechanics was founded by Sam Part and Ben Redford out of a love for fun and ridiculously awesome stuff. These two modern-day Willy Wonkas were fortunate enough to get on board with Makerversity, a pioneering making community established in 2013. They specialize in bringing innovative designers together with workshops, materials, tools and the environment necessary to develop a startup. Makerversity set the two makers up with a workshop in the iconic Selfridges London for six weeks, where they pioneered these fascinating edible lollypops with the help of customers from the streets and Selfridges’ staff members.

The final products are then made through a remarkably simple process. First, scans of customers are made, which are used to make 3D printed mini busts. These are then used to make molds, which can be filled with chocolate or any flavor you prefer. ‘In all seriousness though, there's some incredible tech out there at the moment and we feel like it's a great time to apply some of that tech to the world of candy. We're not just about lollipops, we want to push the boundaries of how people think and interact with candy in all its forms,’ they say in an interview with Makerversity.

3D printed parts being turned into molds.

This process was developed during their trial at Selfridges. ‘We had six weeks to develop a product from scratch all the way through to retail,’ they wrote on their blog. ‘It was like christmas morning breaking open brand spanking new machines and all the tools we needed to get started.’ Their goal? To develop a kit that can be used to make your own chocolate heads. ‘In the kit we put a 3D print of you, chocolate, sticks, instructions & a custom made mould of your very own head,’ they add. This six weeks trial turned out to be an amazing prototyping period at one of the busiest shopping areas in Britain, enabling them to develop a fantastic product and get a lot of feedback.

Check out the manufacturing process at Selfridges above (starts around 1.45).

This process has now prepared them for a production run of their six favorite flavors, all made with their custom production process. ‘Using 3D scanners, 3D Printers and 3D humans beings (you), we have developed a process that makes your face scrumptious, no matter what you look like,’ they write. The available flavors are: chocolate, raspberry and pistachio, banana and salted peanut, raspberry and black sesame seeds, salted corn and chocolate crumb, peanut and chocolate crumb.

And why lollipops? ‘Two reasons. A: We think everyone has always wanted to lick their own (or someone else's) face. B: We also think that at some point, everyone has wanted someone else's head on a stick. We're just providing the means to do it - call us a public service,’ the duo explains.

But in all seriousness, cofounder Ben Redford explained what an impact 3D printers can make on original and small scale manufacturing. ‘3D printers have massively reduced the time to get from an idea to something that resembles a good working prototype. They've changed the making process because you can now make rapid iterations and developments on a product very quickly, hack other products with printed parts and even produce small batches of products from the comfort of your desk, kitchen or space rocket,’ he says. And when combined with a fantastic making environment like that provided by Makerversity, beautiful (and tasty) things can happen.

 

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

 

 

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