Sep 20, 2016 | By Andre

There’s a lot in the world of 3D printing that has gimmick written all over it. Sometimes for the sake of grabbing headlines, sometimes just because the folks behind certain re-imaginations of what a 3D printer should be have too much time on their hands. There are 3D printers that make chocolate, cupcakes, candy, pancakes and, well, all manner of food in some never quite practical way.

But over the years, the more I thought about things like that I warmed up to the idea that, in time, these inventions will indeed be important, even if only in hyper specific niche markets. A new example that has just popped up is Print-a-Drink, a contraption that uses an industrial grade KUKA robot (think auto manufacturing) to inject edible liquid drops into a beverage in a incredibly controlled manner to produce what can only be described as 3D printed cocktail art.

The brainchild of Benjamin Greimel at the University of Arts and Design Linz, the mesmerizing ability to 3D print directly into an otherwise regular drink without stirring things into a jumbled mess is impressive. While the “high quality ingredients” that make up the printed elements remains a mystery, I do see an early adopter market within incredibly upscale clubs, restaurants and at A-list parties that have long since become tired of the traditional shaken-not stirred variety cocktail.

Unfortunately for anyone interested in making one for themselves, the starting price for a KUKA based robotic arm is in the $10,000s. And while it’s possible a maker version will come around some day soon, the quick speed and precision demonstrated in the demo video suggest a high degree of precision and speed is necessary to pull it all off.

Also, to call it 3D printing in the traditional sense works only if you classify the technology as something that deposits matter down in a very controlled fashion. The website behind the technology suggests that “rather than building up objects layer by layer, the process uses a high-end KUKA Robots to accurately “inject” microliter-drops of edible liquid into a cocktail. Within a minute, PRINT A DRINK can build up complex 3D structures in a wide range of drinks – creating fascinating augmented cocktails using only high quality ingredients.”

That’s 3D printing enough for me.

In the end, there isn’t very much information on the Print-A-Drink device in terms of the software that runs it or the edible liquid being deposited. The official site does list an email under the coming soon section so that might be the best start if you want to move forward and buy your own.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Julia wrote at 9/23/2016 5:40:03 PM:

It helps a lot if your cocktail happens to be a gel like the one in the video. Actual liquids are probably more difficult.

I.AM.Magic wrote at 9/20/2016 9:50:28 AM:

Innovative, will try to hack my printer to do the same.

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