Aug 29, 2016 | By Nick

Two 15-year-olds have solved the age-old problem of messy ice cream cones with the help of a 3D printer. Sam Nassif and Oliver Greenwald have now won a $50,000 investment on Shark Tank to take the Drip Drop ice cream cone attachment to the world.

It is going to be a smash hit, it might never have happened without their school’s 3D printer and it’s hard to believe it has taken more than 100 years to come up with something so simple.

The ice cream cone was invented in 1904. Ever since then we have suffered with melting ice cream dripping all over the place.

Everyone has their own technique to deal with the issue. They include running the risk of brain freeze by eating it fast, contorting ourselves into odd positions to catch the drips and using handfuls of tissues. None of them are really ideal solutions.

But now, Nassif and Greenwald have created the 3D printed Drip Drop saucer. It is obvious, childish, perfect and brilliant, all at the same time.

It's just a simple saucer, made from another wafer, with a hole in the middle that fits around most conventional ice cream cones and catches the drips.

They have worked on the idea for five years after coming up with the concept when they were 10 years old. The two Denver teens reckon they have tested more than 100 different recipes to get the perfect thickness, taste and consistency. Before they even got to that point, though, they had to perfect the shape.

That’s where the 3D printer came into play. Nassif and Greenwald started with paper, then clay, before moving to a silicon mold. That was the basis of the idea: a simple silicon sleeve that could potentially be reused.

But when they started to create rough concepts on their school’s 3D printer, they hit upon the million-dollar idea of making the whole saucer edible. It was a better plan, but it meant even more work and the entrepreneurial kids sought some outside help.

The pair turned to The 3D Printing Store to turn their rough and ready concept into a real prototype that could then be used to create a food safe waffle mold.

Credit: The 3D Printing Store

This was a relatively simple case of taking the 3D printed model, made from sturdy plastic, and filling it with food safe Silicon gel that set to create a second mold that could withstand the heat of the oven without releasing toxic chemicals. The 3D printed parts were essentially a mold to make the mold.

Getting the food safe mold and making their first waffle saucer was a seminal moment in the Drip Drop story.

Business runs in the boys’ blood. One of the children’s parents is a lecturer in entrepreneurship at the University of Denver’s Daniel’s College of Business, while the others run businesses themselves.

Both teenagers attended Graland Country Day School, which costs $23,920 a year in fees. These are not your average students, then, but they still deserve credit for making the most of the opportunity and spotting this gap in the ice cream market.

“Our coaches told us to keep our eyes open for everyday problems all around us,” Nassif said on his alma mater's website. "So we were walking past an ice cream shop and we saw these two little kids with sticky hands and messy clothes from their ice cream cones."

The concept has now gone well beyond a simple, edible drip tray. The teens have shown how the saucer can be incorporated into a luxury ice cream cone. Vendors can cover them with chocolate, frosting or their own signature coatings to create a split level treat.

This might turn out to be the biggest advance in ice cream technology since Ernest Hamwi introduced the first cone at the St Louis World’s Fair in 1904.

When they approached The 3D Printing Store, the youngsters wanted a prototype for The Gates Invention and Innovations Competition at their school. They took second place and the school then funded a patent attorney for the pair so they could protect their idea.

Having secured the patent, the pair then went public with their appearance on Shark Tank, where they secured a $50,000 investment for a 33% stake in their fledgling business from Barbara Corcoran.

Sam and Oliver were the youngest entrepreneurs to face the shark’s without parental assistance and they did themselves proud. Corcoran was impressed with their attitude, as well as the concept, and will now work closely with the teens to make sure they are millionaires before they're old enough to drink.

The plan is to license the Drip Drop Ice Cream Cone Attachment concept to manufacturers and retailers around the world. It might be a simple concept, but the Drip Drop could well turn out to be a seriously impressive business.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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a wrote at 9/1/2016 9:53:37 PM:

There have been paper versions of the same thing for years.

RobinLeech wrote at 8/30/2016 11:11:19 PM:

"That’s where the 3D printer came into play. Nassif and Greenwald started with paper, then clay, before moving to a silicon mold. That was the basis of the idea: a simple silicon sleeve that could potentially be reused." SiliCONE, not siliCON, Nick. There's a difference. They didn't make their mold out of sand, they made it out of silicone.

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