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Printer Toys

3D Chocolate Printer Made from Legos? 165

enrico_suave writes " (linked via Coral P2P Cache because the poor guy is hosting on a ADSL line) has cool design pics, a now removed video clip, and some interesting details of the process. From one of the plog entries: 'We've developed a print head that will print 5mm 'pixels' of the consumable. It basically acts as a pump. It's a medium sized lego gear (driven by a worm gear attached to the motor) with four axles that repeatedly squeeze and release a pipe attached to a funnel that holds the consumables. a half-rotation of this wheel yields a blob.'"
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3D Chocolate Printer Made from Legos?

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  • Not 3D (Score:5, Informative)

    by Oculus Habent ( 562837 ) * <oculus DOT habent AT gmail DOT com> on Friday September 10, 2004 @11:01PM (#10218872) Journal
    It's not a 3D printer. It only moves on two axes. The chocolate is somewhat thick, but it's still just one layer. A nice design, though.
    • Exec Summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2004 @11:15PM (#10218956)
      From the glance over the page I took:

      The printer is made with two controllers, one for each axis of the printer, which communicate via IR. The X axis is the master, and sends commands to the Y axis controller. The Y axis controller is on the print head itself, where (I suppose) the X axis controller is on the case. Standard plotter design, really. The print mechanism is four axles that rotate and squeeze a tube filled with melted chocolate. Black & Green 75% cocoa, if it means anything to anyone. 5mm dots, but that's sufficient to make a decent picture.

      I didn't see any pictures of the device. There were some images of the controller motor setups from Mac Brick CAD, but no real pics. The video was removed from the original site, so it didn't get mirrored.

      • Green & Blacks (Score:3, Informative)

        by nickovs ( 115935 )
        >Black & Green 75% cocoa, if it means anything to anyone.

        I'm guessing that it means Green and Blacks [] chocolate. G&B make some of the best organic chocolate around in my opinion. I wonder however if they did extensive scientific testing before they settled on the relatively high cocoa content 75% stuff. I think I should apply for research funding to look into this in more detail :-)
        • Best organic, hell, they make some of the best dark chocolate around, period. Great stuff for making chocolate mousse with.

          Mmmm, mousse...I think I'll have to make some tonight...
    • Re:Not 3D (Score:2, Informative)

      by Reik ( 101256 )
      The 3D plastic printer we have at work (granted it's a cheep one), prints exactly like this. The third dimension is simply moving the holding tray down every time it prints a layer.
      Maybe he's going to add this next. Maybe he already has it. I didn't want to joing the sheep in vaporizing his ADSL line.

      • Re:Not 3D (Score:5, Funny)

        by LuxFX ( 220822 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @01:22AM (#10219372) Homepage Journal
        The 3D plastic printer we have at work (granted it's a cheep one)

        Can you really say that about any 3d printer? It's like saying, "Yes I drive a Ferrari, but it's one of the cheap ones...." hehe
        • Your analogy fails. Ferrari's are an expensive type of car. Stereolythographic printers are not just an expensive version of a 2D plotter, but can only be really compared to other rapid prototyping devices.
        • Re:Not 3D (Score:2, Informative)

          by Reik ( 101256 )
          Well, I don't think $20k for a piece of equipment is really any kind of significant investment for anyone but a small garage company, and we're far from that.
          Technically, it's an FDM machine. Fused Deposition Molding.
          I believe you just dump an IGES file to it....then maybe sometime next year, you'll get your part.
          If you saw how cheap looking and feeling the resultant product is and (as I've already implied) how utterly painfully slow it is then you'd understand why it is cheep.
          We've had it for like 3 years
      • His ADSL line isn't feeling it, it's linked through a Coral distributed cache. Read away. ;-)
    • Re:Not 3D (Score:5, Interesting)

      by twoshortplanks ( 124523 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @03:09AM (#10219595) Homepage
      This is just a prototype. The next stage in development is to have mechanism after each 2D print to put down some form of powder that can support printing things not directly on top of the previously printed layer. This is what real 3D printers do. You then shake out or vacuum out the powder once you're done leaving a proper 3d object.

      We were thinking icing sugar.

      Mark (who hasn't really been involved in this apart from talking to James about it over tea every morning)

    • Years ago, someone worked out how to print holograms in sugar coatings on chocolate. How about printing a hologram on top of the chocolate to make it look like a 3D object? Or chocolate that still seems to be there, just fuzzier, when you bite off half the chocolate.

      But I have to admit, this was a really, really cool design.
    • Yeah, a nice design but it's about as useful as a chocolate teapot!
  • will as slashdotting be something that makes james go whoot?
  • Woah (Score:3, Funny)

    by punkrockguy318 ( 808639 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @11:02PM (#10218891) Homepage
    Wow... Very cool. Awesome. Man, I thought I was cool when I made a merry-go-round. sheesh, shows offs...
  • No Fair! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Bryan_W ( 649785 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @11:04PM (#10218899) Journal
    They included the coral link in the story. Now what are karma whores suppose to do?
  • dammit (Score:1, Redundant)

    by jpmkm ( 160526 )
    Nice cache. This whole thing is absolutely pointless without the website.
  • Edit > Find in this Page

    "Mirror" > Next.

    "The Text you entered was not found."

    Please change above. ..Wait! I just did >.

    Sorry! (^_^)
  • by Stick_Fig ( 740331 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @11:16PM (#10218964) Homepage
    ...the price of chocolate has suddenly skyrocketed to $100 a pound due to its newfound usage as printer ink. Lexmark has patented the new chocolate-printing technology, and their lawyers plan to sue Nestlé for patent infringement for selling chocolate that works on its system under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act."
  • Also interesting (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2004 @11:20PM (#10218972)
    Saul Griffith at Mit Media Lab has worked with 3-D lego printers that put down wax and chocolate.
    His master's thesis: s.pdf []
    is about "Towards Personal Fabricators: Tabletop tools for micron and submicron scale functional rapid prototyping".

    I'm more intested in putting down plaster myself.
    Then you can cast metal in it...
    • I'm more intested in putting down plaster myself.
      Then you can cast metal in it...

      Indeed, what but do you make your casting model with?


    • If you put down wax, you can easily do lost wax investment casing, or you could make a plaster mold and then do a wax burn out in an oven if you want a plaster positive mold.

    • Saul Griffith at Mit Media Lab has worked with 3-D lego printers that put down wax and chocolate.

      Have you noticed how waxy this chocolate tastes?

  • editors on drug? (Score:2, Informative)

    by hdd ( 772289 )
    how could a story like this one get onto /. front page, it's nothing more a 2 axis lego printer with a an exaggerated name (there is one on the back of lego mindstorm invention retail box, and you can build one from the step by step instruction that comes with ULTIMATE BUILDERS SET (3800)) yeah, it can squeeze chocolate, but it's not like we have girlfriends anyway.
    • yeah, it can squeeze chocolate, but it's not like we have girlfriends anyway.

      Ah, you have yet to learn the proper application of chocolate.

  • Ooh! (Score:4, Informative)

    by iamdrscience ( 541136 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @11:33PM (#10219029) Homepage
    Looks like a fatal misunderstanding of the Coral P2P cache. Coral only caches the page/file linked through it, not the images, video, etc. on the page. So people going to the page will be able to read what he says about it, but his ADSL connect will still be slammed on all the images (it's slow now... surprisingly not slashdotted yet).

    Also, since Coral doesn't cache links, anybody clicking on his links to look at anything other than the one page linked to by slashdot will further increase the load on his server (or more likely just be disappointed and continue the DoSing of this poor guy's DSL line).
    • Re:Ooh! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @11:51PM (#10219105)
      Actually it looks like you misunderstand how relative URLs work :p

      Most image URLs on sites are relative, which means they don't store the full URL (IE, ""), but instead only the relative path ("myimage.png" or "./myimage.png").

      The hostname is assumed to be the current host, unless that's overridden in the HTML.

      Unfortunately, the creator of this website made the fatal error of using fully qualified URLs instead of relative URLs for his image files. If he were to realize what was going on, I'd imagine he'd immediately make that change.

      So while you're correct in the context of THIS page, in general the Coral P2P cache will cache most images on most sites.
      • If he were to realize what was going on, I'd imagine he'd immediately make that change.

        Good point. So I wondered why he isn't changing it. And I found that resolves to, and realized the guy is probably fast asleep. The story was posted at 2200 EST, so that was 0300 GMT. He might sleep in on Saturday morning. Might it be a good idea for Slashdot if stories linking to personal websites and small companies were posted only when the site owners were likely to b
        • With a site that small, who could guarantee that he'd be there even during the day? I know when I was using my PC as a webserver, I never checked it (although I never had any real content, either...).
          • I'm sure if his DSL connection was being slashdotted, he would probably check what was happening when he realised it was taking him 60 seconds just to load a webpage.
            • Well, considering the A in "ADSL," it's possible for him to not be able to serve any pages but still download (although he'd have a problem requesting pages, unless he had some QoS set up with his webserver at a lower priority).
  • On P2P linking... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Black.Shuck ( 704538 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @11:35PM (#10219039) would be nice to see Slashdot using Coral-links *before* an article goes live, instead of "Oh yeah, whoops... We get a lot of visitors, right? Better quickly edit a P2P link in there before someone notices the new arti..."

    Here's a JavaScript Bookmarklet I made to make Coral-linking a cinch:

    javascript:l=document.location.href;if(l=='about:b lank'){l=prompt('Input a URL to Coralise:','');};if(l!=''){if(\.nyud\.ne t\:8090/)==-1){document.location.href=l.replace(/\ b\/(\b|$)/,'');}else{if(confirm('Yo u are already looking at the Coral-cached version of this page.\n\nVisit the Coral web-site instead?')){document.location.href='http://www.scs';}else{void(0);}}}else{void(0); }

    Put that in your Favorites or Bookmarks -- make sure it is a single line of text, not those multiple-lines. Then just click it when you want to see a cached-version of the page you are currently looking at. Using it on an already cached page will ask you if you want to visit the Coral web-site.

  • mirror (Score:1, Informative)

    by teknickle ( 812501 )
    hey, just use the ultimate mirror: google. ego&btnG=Search&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8 I found the articles and pics. Sweet. (I would throw it on my own server, but not ready for getting slashdotted myself).
  • by iamdrscience ( 541136 ) on Friday September 10, 2004 @11:38PM (#10219047) Homepage
    This is what went through my mind during the split second as I read the title.

    "3D Chocolate Printer"
    What the crap? Somebody made 3D printer out of chocolate?

    "3D Chocolate Printer Made from Legos?"
    Made from legos? What? This person made it out of chocolate legos? Insanity. That is so awesome.

    And then a second later I realized what it actually meant and while it's pretty cool, it just couldn't live up to my above first impressions. That said, I'm going to go see about making some chocolate legos.
  • Opera doesn't like it. It tries to download rather than just render.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:04AM (#10219149)
    I guess _someone_ at Slashdot is pretty hungry...

    • Teacher : Wheres your science homework?

      Kid: The dog ate it.

      Teacher: What have I told you about missing homeworks? Im sick of your excuses.

      Kid: Its true this time. Honest. I printed it out with chocolate ink.

      Teacher: *Slap* Thats enough. Principals office now!

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and cats.

        "The lethal dosage of theobromine in dogs is between 250 and 500 mgs/kg, or about 2/3 to 1 1/3 of baking chocolate for every 2.2 pounds of body weight. However, serious non-fatal poisonings have been reported in dogs after eating smaller amounts.

        At our practice, a 20-pound dachshund showed serious signs of poisoning after eating 3/4 of a pound of milk chocolate and another 22-pound dog died after eating two pounds of baking chocolate."

        http://www.apogeecomg []
  • Shit. (Score:4, Funny)

    by antoy ( 665494 ) <alexis@th[ ] ['enu' in gap]> on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:11AM (#10219163)
    Just when you think you've gotten used to the zany Slashdot titles, you get '3d Chocolate Printer Made From Legos'. We're officially on another dimension now.
    • Better yet... what's this "plog" that is mentioned in the title. Did the editors mean blog? Or did I miss out on a trendy new tech term?
  • Plural.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by WhatAmIDoingHere ( 742870 ) <> on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:18AM (#10219192) Homepage
    The plural of "Lego" is, and has always been, "Lego"

    Thank you, and goodnight.
    • Re:Plural.. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The plural of "Lego" is, and has always been, "Lego"

      WRONG []. Jackass.
  • What's this about a motor??

    Nice try, but everyone knows that Real Men only
    program printers in Pure Lego.
  • Google cache... (Score:5, Informative)

    by llZENll ( 545605 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:45AM (#10219274)
    here []
  • by triffidsting ( 594096 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @12:59AM (#10219312)
    I gather from the recent two stories that the /. editors are hungry - whose turn is it to feed them?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    But that is the best headline ever.

  • by John Miles ( 108215 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @01:44AM (#10219413) Homepage Journal
    ... does the printer support proportional rendering of chocolate superscripts in Times New Roman?
  • by cynic10508 ( 785816 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @01:54AM (#10219434) Journal
    Great... You just know that Hershey's is going to charge an arm and a leg for a refill cartridge!
  • Plog? What the hell is that?
  • by twoshortplanks ( 124523 ) * on Saturday September 11, 2004 @03:14AM (#10219611) Homepage
    These are some development pictures [] I took of the print head testing. Note at this stage James, Nicholas and Leon were playing with the consistancy of the chocolate and managed to print something that didn't totally look unlike something much more worrying.
    • Here's a couple of more recent pictures [] that I found on my digital camera. You can see the whole printer (with chocolate) printing in these shots.
    • And here are some more pictures [] taken by Katrien earlier on in the project. You can see Nicholas (the print head designer) and James (2-axis, software). Oh, and Richard (support). We managed to do this in a three weeks and as we talk James is demoing this at FooCamp2 (assuming he managed to assemble it again). The best bit about this is having the meeting room full of Lego...
    • On the picture site it says that mixing water and chocolate (to dilute the chocolate) is a bad idea. Usually, this is done with milk, because of solubility of fat components or whatever.

      Anyway, a guy I know is in the 'chocolate decoration' business. He works for a chocolate company and designs new desserts, and good-looking chocolate items for exhibitions and magazines. As you may know, photos in magazines usually aren't of the _real_ food (because this would look unattractive), but highly processed. Like
  • It's Lego! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Goth Biker Babe ( 311502 ) on Saturday September 11, 2004 @03:19AM (#10219620) Homepage Journal
    It's not Legos. It's like sheep. I have one sheep. You have one sheep. We have many sheep. This field is full of sheep. The printer is made of Lego!
  • Actually... (Score:4, Informative)

    by MikeSweetser ( 163852 ) * on Saturday September 11, 2004 @03:36AM (#10219645) Homepage's "LEGO bricks" or "LEGO pieces". Not Lego, or Legos, or even LEGO. LEGO pieces/bricks, to review to the company (which should always be capitalized) and the actual objects themselves. This is straight from LEGO (who really wants it as "LEGO® bricks" but you can't have everything :))

  • Plurality (Score:2, Informative)

    by gidds ( 56397 )
    This one's always confused me. Here in the UK, 'Lego' has always been a mass noun; the individual bits of plastic are known as 'Lego bricks' or 'bits of Lego'.

    And yet I keep reading the word 'Legos', which makes no sense here. Is the term officially different in the US, or have you merkins been getting it wrong all the time (unthinkable!)?

    • Is the term officially different in the US, or have you merkins been getting it wrong all the time (unthinkable!)?
      The company maintains that Lego is plural.
  • I can see potential with this invention. Take the basic idea then utilize it to decorate cakes and confections with. Print your loved one's face on a triple-layer chocolate cake for their birthday and watch as their jaws hit the floor with astonishment. I can see dollar signs perking already!
  • This is the best way to be a frog...If the output bugs you, just eat it! Also, it beats a shredder for disposing of the output.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser