Mar. 4, 2015 | By Alec

It looks like 2015 will really be the year of 3D printed chocolate. Several 3D food printers working with chocolate are scheduled for release, while various exciting experiments are taking place all the time, such as this ongoing 3D food printing project in a Dutch supermarket. And now the Texas-based Lehrmitt Design Studios is opening a 3D printing service focussing on chocolate as well, though one capable of recreating far more intricate and beautiful designs than most forthcoming chocolate 3D printers.

To clarify, Lehrmitt Design Studios is a rather well-known creative design and manufacturing company based in Austin, TX. They essentially project innovative design over just about any medium, from wallcoverings to brand new technologies, like 3D printing.

As you can see in the photos above, their approach (called Surface Skins) can be used to produce absolutely gorgeous pieces of chocolate art and they assure users that they can etch anything into chocolate. Their secret? They are not actually 3D printing chocolate, but instead make high-quality plastic molds that can be used to cast chocolate in. "Surface Skins allow product manufacturers to create mold textures on plastic – and candy – in a way that has never been done before," they explain. "Easy, economical and fast, Surface Skins create new possibilities for product developers to surprise and delight their customers with innovative,  fresh new designs."

In a nutshell, Surface Skins is a design service for chocolatiers and potentially every manufacturer of candy who are looking to make original and artistic treats. And while many manufacturing techniques already exist for artist chocolate, this new approach promises to be faster and more cost effective than others. "Our design team has been applying leading technologies in product design, manufacturing and packaging for over two decades," says owner, Bob Lehrmitt. "We’ve been quick to explore new applications for 3D printing. Making chocolate molds from 3D-printed designs was a logical next step for us."

"We aren’t chocolate makers. What we do is design 3D-printed positives to make molds so chocolate makers can create unlimited designs without having to carve the molds by hand," says Lehrmitt. The products seem above are just some samples of what’s possible. And we definitely agree with them when they state they are creating designs that look like they were painstakingly crafted by an artisan’s hand.

And this is how easy it works. "Based on your vision, we will create chocolate candy designs in a 3D file format. Or, you can create your own artwork in whatever medium you use now. We’ll do the conversion to 3D for you,’ Lehrmitt explains. ‘We’ll send you the 3D printed plastic prototype to make sure you’re happy with it." And that 3D printed prototype can be used to make chocolate molds that can be used again and again. "Many chocolate makers prefer to make their own molds, but we can take care of that if you don’t want to," Lehrmitt adds. And what’s more, the whole designing, 3D printing and shipping processes can be completed in just ten days or so.

These molds will be 3D printed in silicon, to ensure that details will be perfect every time. Once you have chosen your design, it takes just 5-10 days to get the mold. While doubtlessly not cheap, this 3D printing approach is highly suitable for intricate floral patterns and even names and dates or other details that wouldn’t be possible with an actual chocolate 3D printer. It’s a very clever approach that will enable chocolatiers to be more flexible and more creative than ever, without spending hours and hours on design. I can imagine it will be perfect for specific events, themed weddings, and so on. It can, Lehrmitt adds, even be used on small batches of candy. In the absence of a high-quality chocolate 3D printer, I can definitely see this appealing to high-level chocolatiers everywhere.


Posted in 3D Printing Services


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