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Over the last decade, the link between food and 3D printing became stronger and stronger. We saw it with the development of incredible food projects, such as Novameat’s 3D printed meat, many 3D printing chocolate projects like byflow, but also experiments of food printing made by NASA for astronauts. Even Barilla, the pasta company, developed a pasta 3D printer to work on the geometry of their pasta.
Researchers are pushing the limitations of 3D printing to create a variety of food using 3D printers.
But the relationship between food and 3D printing doesn’t stop there, as additive manufacturing can also be useful to print a variety of accessories for the food industry. Manufacturers can actually use 3D printers to implement more sustainability in their process, work on impressive shapes and geometries, to 3D print molds, prototypes or work on actual finished products.
Yes, everything is 3D printable, and if it is possible to print impressive technical devices for the aerospace industry, it might also be possible to use a 3D printer to manufacture regular kitchen utensils for instance. You may want to create custom-made objects for kitchens. No matter what is your project, if there is a contact with food involved, the materials used have to be totally safe. First of all, it has to be safe for you, but also for the food in order to avoid food poisoning.
To take another example, when 3D printing for medical purposes, you have to use biocompatible materials, that will be totally safe for the human body, that won’t be harmful to health. For any medical use, you have to choose your material wisely. It is the same for a gastronomical use.
The use of 3D printing tends to widespread in a lot of different industry. It is actually a great solution to make food containers but also more personal objects with a great design works and a custom-made aspect.
Here are the main reasons why you need to use food-safe 3D printing materials or 3D printing filament:
When 3D printing an object that will be in contact with food, the last thing that you want is the growth of bacteria that could eventually contaminate you or anybody else. To avoid the growth of bacteria, you need a smooth material. And even if the object is quite smooth, you will have to pay attention to the design. Indeed, if the food can get stuck in small parts of your design, or simply in the layers, it will encourage the growth of bacteria.
A mix of heat and chemicals are actually needed to get a 3D printed objects, that is why you have to be careful on technologies and materials used to 3D print your project, especially if the part will eventually touch food. Toxic particles present during the 3D printing process could have health effect if ingested. It would a shame to be poisoned by a coffee cup!
More than 3D printing processes, some materials are made of toxic chemicals ABS is particularly unsafe, as there are toxic chemicals in the filament! Some materials such as ABS have a high level of ultrafine particles, according to a study by Illinois Institute of Technology and the National Institute of Applied Sciences in Lyon, France. As the ingestion of these kinds of particles can lead to some health problem, we do not recommend you to use them. That is actually a factor that you have to take into account while 3D printing a part that will be in contact with food.
Choosing the right materials for your project can be a real puzzle. But once you’ve found it, it will really worth it. The choice of the material is essential, allowing your parts to meet perfectly your expectations and the expectation of your future customers. Regarding the properties of some materials, it could even improve the quality of the parts. Do you need a lightweight material? A resistant one?
Indeed, aside from the food safety aspect, you have to use a material that will allow the object to be usable daily. Does your object need to be heat resistant? Will it be confronted with hot water, a microwave? It would be a shame to get a final object that could be deformed while exposed to warm water.
Moreover, you will certainly want to wash your parts if you are planning to use it with food. Can you wash this material? If you can’t put the object in the water to wash it, it could be quite complicated. Also, don’t forget to be sure that your object is dishwasher safe before putting it inside the machine!
We just told you about the materials that are considered safe for food. But there is also something that you don’t have to reflect: the food safe coating. Using food-safe materials is great, but using a food-safe coating with it, or no coating, is obviously better!
You have a question about food safe 3D printing and the food safe material? Don’t hesitate to contact our sales team to answer all your questions.
A great variety of food can actually be 3D printed, from pizza made by 3D printers from NASA, to chocolate, pasta and meat. With an adapted food 3D printer, any kind of food could be made with 3D printing.
Yes 3D printed food can be eaten. If the food used for the 3D printing process is edible, then the 3D printed product can totally be eaten.
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