Feb 2, 2018 | By Tess

A graduate student from the Tokyo University of Technology in Japan has modified a desktop 3D printer to print small structures and shapes from ice. The technology uses a liquid hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) gas to instantly freeze water that is extruded simultaneously.

For those of us barely getting through the bitter cold this January, 3D printed ice might not be the most appealing piece of news. When there’s ice covering the sidewalks when you step outside, and threatening to burst your pipes, its not really something that is in high demand.

Come summer though, we bet people will be clamouring for 3D printed ice. After all, who wouldn’t want a custom ice cube floating in their mojito?

The project, which is still very much in its research stage, consists of a delta-style 3D printer which has been modified to extrude water through an air brush and HFC gas through a second air brush rather than a plastic filament through a heated nozzle.

HFCs, which are increasingly being used in refrigeration systems, are a type of gas that can instantly freeze water, even in room temperature. (It should be noted that the gas is a recognized greenhouse gas.)

The ice 3D printer is being developed by Hiroki Fujita, a master’s student at the Tokyo University of Technology who has been working on the project for the past year.

It is not totally clear what Hiroki Fujita plans to use his ice 3D printing technology for, but we definitely see some potential for culinary applications.

The 3D printer was recently presented at a master’s thesis conference at the Japanese university, where Hiroki Fujita surely stunning his audience by turning water into ice right before their eyes.

You can check out a real time video of the modified 3D printer making a star out of ice below. It’s pretty cool.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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