Sugar confectionery can be serious craftwork--amateurs need not apply. But once you witness the culinary genius of a certain 3D printer, you'll question whether we need human candy makers at all.
Among other amazing hardware on display at the Inside 3D Printing Conference & Expo in San Jose, Calif. last week, vendors showed off a printer making detailed sugar confections, an insanely detailed 3D-printed guitar body, and a system that prints 3D objects with common office paper instead of more traditional 3D-printer media like resin or filament. The wonderful thing about paper, it turns out, is that it can absorb other materials, allowing you to imbue your 3D objects with a wide range of physical properties.
3D printing has been around since the 1980s, but now that the technology is entering the consumer space, interest in 3D-printed objects is growing rapidly. Why buy that small plastic visor clip for your car for $20, when your buddy can print it for 40 cents? It's most common for 3D printers to build simple objects with plastic-like materials, but if the convention in San Jose showed us anything, it's that modern printers have a wide range of talents, producing everything from cake decorations to shoes.
The printers are still expensive, though: The Mcor printer that can make large, full-color 3D objects from paper will set you back a cool $47,000. Staples, however, was displaying a smaller, more consumer-friendly 3D printer from Cube for $1,300.