International pasta manufacturer Barilla surprised everyone by announcing they had been working at a “pasta 3D printer” for over two years, in collaboration with top Dutch technological university TNO.
This was not just meant to be a novelty item but a machine for restaurants to create personalized pasta shapes for their clients, something intended to one day also be used in the home. While the news attracted massive amounts of media attention it remained unclear, initially, what those possibilities could truly be.
Imagine the “pastabilities”
At least until a small company called Thingarage organized the “PrintEat” contest. Barilla and Thingarage asked designers from around the world to create innovative designs that exploit the possibilities of additive manufacturing. This yielded some amazing concepts, such as the winning Rose Pasta, Lune and Vortipa. Rose Pasta is an incredible concept for a flower shaped pasta where the petals actually open up during cooking. Lune, which means “moons” in Italia, is a spherically-shaped pasta with crater-like holes for the sauce to get inside it. Vortipa is incredibly intricate geometry for a single, large, high resolution pasta-made basket.
While Barilla’s project is now starting to, quite literally, take form, there have been adaptation of extruders made specifically for edible paste materials ever since the beginning of desktop 3D printing. The concept is the same as that for any syringe based extrusion process, including bioprinting: a digitally controlled pump pushes the paste material out of the spring while the mechanical structure fabricates layers and 3D structures. … (read more)