Fine dining is as much about presentation as the quality of the food. That should be visible in the furniture, decor, and even the silverware. But, of course, the presentation of the food itself is most important. A $100 steak is going to seem awfully overpriced sitting on an old chipped plate next to an unappetizing pile of mashed potatoes. The same is true for artisanal bakeries, where pastry chefs put a lot of effort into creating beautiful delicacies. To help those chefs with their work, chocalate^3 has just released their new choc mate 2 chocolate 3D printer for professional kitchens.
The choc mate 2 is launching through Kickstarter and the campaign has already reached three times its funding goal, with 20 days still remaining for backers to jump in on the action. It might look a lot like a typical FFF (Fused-Filament Fabrication) 3D printer, but it doesn't print plastic. Instead, it prints real chocolate. If you're a pastry chef, then you can already imagine the possibilities: custom chocolate bars, ornate decorations for baked goods, and even edible cake toppers. Unlike other chocolate 3D printers, this doesn't require nearly-unpalatable compound chocolate. It works with any chocolate — including chocolate that you make yourself.
So that you don't have to worry about size constraints, the choc mate 2 has a surprisingly large build volume: 340 x 232 x 160 mm (13.39 x 9.13 x 6.3 inches). You control the printer using a 4.3" full-color touchscreen LCD. Purpose-built slicing software lets you easily create models and prepare them for printing, without using separate CAD software. The printer is capable of automatic calibration and even has an optical sensor to compensate for uneven build surfaces, such as the top of a chocolate bar. And the printer is completely food-safe, because every part that comes into contact with the chocolate is washable and can be sanitized.
If you want a choc mate 2 for your kitchen, the Kickstarter campaign will be running until May 30th. It isn't cheap — €4,300 (about $5,231 USD) for Kickstarter backers. But if you're interested in chocolate 3D printing, this appears to be the best option available to you at any price. Backers can expect to receive their printers in November of this year.