It's the dream for most people, but for those with a sweet tooth, the ability to simply 'print' out your own sweets, chocolate and treats is quite something!
However, thanks to the unveiling of the new ChefJet and ChefJet Pro from 3D Systems at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, that dream is very much a reality - but could these 3D printers really become a fixture in our kitchens?
3D Systems says they’re the world’s first 3D food printers - and no-one can deny that they're an exciting development, even in the incredible world of 3D printing!
Using a combination of sugar and water - which creates a sugar frosting before your eyes - or chocolate, both machines print real, edible sweets in various shapes and sizes for you to enjoy instantly. As ever with 3D printing, innovation plays a key part and the end products show that, with some quite complex sweets being printed - including hollow treats that hold smaller spheres inside.
With the regular ChefJet, only black and white printing is available, though, it is still capable of producing several different flavours - including vanilla, mint, sour apple, cherry and watermelon. Although fairly large for a kitchen appliance, it's still compact enough to fit on a countertop.
However, if you're looking for more from your 3D food printer, then the larger ChefJet Pro is the way to go. Capable of printing in the same as as the regular model, things get a little more interesting with the addition of an inkjet head that prints patterns with its food colouring 'ink'. And when we say patterns, we're talking complex patterns - think china glassware.
The basic version of the ChefJet is likely to cost around £3,000, with the Pro version expected to be double that.
Liz von Hasseln, the Creative Director of Food Products at 3D Systems, spoke about the plans for these devices: “Food is an incredible platform for creativity, experimentation, and celebration and we are thrilled to place these powerful 3D printers in bakers and chefs’ kitchens.
“We invite leading pastry chefs, restaurateurs and event planners to join us in bringing 3D printing into the kitchen.”
The ChefJet and ChefJet Pro printers are expected to be released in the second half of 2014.