Jan.2, 2014

There's nothing like creating your own chocolate lollipop and candy treats. Creating chocolate molds has traditionally been a complicated process. By using 3D printing technology, chocolate makers can just replicate any 3D objects in chocolate.

Fouche Chocolates, a company in Centurion, South Africa is producing chocolates and cake decorations with 3D printing. Hans Fouche, owner of Fouche Chocolates, has built his own 3D printers to create intricate, three-dimensional chocolates sculptures. With his engineering background, he builds or customises almost every machine in his workshop.

"I could not have done this if I wasn't an engineer, it would have all been too expensive," Fouche told htxt.africa. For creating unique chocolate sculptures, Fouche built an eight-extruder RepRap-style 3D chocolate printer to work with chocolate. He was then contacted by Nestle and the Museum of African Design to help produce a series of 3D printed chocolate sculptures for an exhibition in the Maboneng Precinct. The exhibition was intended to celebrate the launch of Google's latest operating system, Android 4.4, and Fouche's 3D printed chocolate sculptures received worldwide attention from the media.

"A lot of the designs were very ambitious," Fouche says, "It was only through our experience with 3D printing chocolate that we were able to help the artists to realise what is actually possible. The best are always simple and not over complicated, because chocolate is difficult to work with, it does not support itself very well."

3D printing these sculptures was extremely challenging, says Fouche. For avoiding collapse during the 3D printing process, he had to print few layers at a time and then physically stick the sculptures together. There were numerous constraints in terms of complexity, size, weight and shape.

But the most impressive work from Fouche is a giant RepRap 3D printer "which stands well over two meters tall and takes up most of his garage. Originally designed for making giant, one off chocolate sculptures, Fouche retired it as the economics of using it to make sweets didn't work out." It is now being used to create large plastic sculptures for interior designers.

However, despite his inventiveness and passion, Fouche had to disable the 3D capabilities, and his eight-extruder chocolate printer is now used to print 2D designs onto a moving conveyor. "The chocolate industry is very difficult," says Fouche, "I'm an engineer, not a salesman or a marketing person. I can't convince a guy to take my products. Especially when our products are so unique. It's nice for me to design these things, but for me to sell these things, that's a different matter."

Fouche says that he wants to try and focus again on his non-confectionary work. It would be a shame to see Fouche not be able to go further with his chocolate creation. 3D chocolate printing is still in its infancy, it might take a while for printed chocolate coexisting with other organic food. But it is a fun and marketable product with great potential, and undoubtedly it will change the meaning of chocolate in our life.

Posted in 3D Printers



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Jako breytenbach wrote at 2/13/2015 9:38:12 AM:

Please contact me should you also do the printing of say icing on biscuits. Jako@megans.co.za

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