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Lets 3D Print Your Favorite Flavor Of Ice Cream

Students from MIT has developed a 3D-printer that can produce ice creams in any shape in just 15 minutes.

By hacking together a soft serve ice cream maker, a freezer and a 3D printer, Kyle Hounsell, Kristine Bunker, and David Donghyun Kim created a machine that extrudes soft ice cream into any given shape then quickly freezes it with a blast of liquid nitrogen.

The students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed the contraption using the principals of a fused deposition model printer.

"We were inspired to design this printer because we wanted to make something fun with this up and coming technology in a way that we could grab the attention of kids," Bunker told 3ders.org.

"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 of what is possible," he said.

The team first needed to print into a cooled environment so that the ice cream would hold its shape once printed.

"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," they said.

They then needed a shield gas to solidify the ice cream as soon as it came out of the extruder. They built a system to spray liquid nitrogen onto the ice cream as it was extruded.

"To ensure that the extruded ice cream ended up with constant characteristics, the cryogen line was bent in a circle to go all the way around the extruder and spray the liquid nitrogen evenly around the printed ice cream," they said.
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