Ice cream, ice cream and ice cream, we scream for ice cream. A big thanks to three students of MIT named Kristine Bunker, Kyle Hounsell and David Donghyun Kim, who have created an ice cream printer using the principals of a fused deposition model printer. With the use of a Cuisinart ice cream maker and a Solidoodle 3D printer, the team developed a device which prints soft serve ice cream. The modified 3D printer is accommodated inside with a small freezer and the extruded soft serve freezes as a line of liquid nitrogen blasts and keep it solid.
"We were superlative to design this printer because we wished to make something fun with this up and coming technology in a way that we could grab the attention of kids also. We felt that it was just as important to come up with a new technology as it was to interest the younger generation in pursuing science and technology so we can continue pushing the limits to a extent." Said a student
"First thing we needed is to print into a cooled environment so that the ice cream would hold the shape after printed." the students explained. "We bought a small upright freezer which was large enough to both put the Solidoodle inside and allow for the full build volume we were aiming for."
Then there arised a need of a shield of gas to solidify the ice cream as soon as it came out of the extruder. So, the team built a system to spray liquid nitrogen onto the ice cream as it extruded. This is to ensure that the extruded ice cream ended up with constant characteristics, the cryogen line was bent to go all the way around the extruder and spray the liquid nitrogen evenly around the printed ice cream.