MIT Students Create An Ice Cream Printer

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You scream, I scream, we all transform an off-the-shelf Cuisinart soft-serve maker to extrude super-cooled and 3D-printed shells of ice cream! Three students at MIT, Kyle Hounsell, Kristine Bunker, and David Donghyun Kim, have created a homemade ice cream printer that extrudes soft serve and immediately freezes it so that it can be layered on a cooled plate.

The system is a proof-of-concept right now but they were able to print some clever shapes out of the sweet, sweet cream. Writes Bunker:

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. 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.

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The team worked on the project their spring semester at MIT and got it working to print a star. They have no plans to commercialize it yet but it seems like a clever and very useful hack.

“We ate a lot of ice cream during the making the machine especially during the couple all-nighters when ice cream became our midnight snack and breakfast, it was a great project and we had a lot of fun working on it,” she said.

The team built the printer as part of Professor John Hart’s class in additive manufacturing. They used a Solidoodle printer to control the plate and the stream and froze the ice-cream as it came out with liquid nitrogen. As you can imagine, it melted quite often, resulting in a pool of sweet, edible sadness. As a man who can eat three gallons of ice cream in a sitting, I could imagine this thing just 3D printing all over my head.

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IMAGE BY Bryce Durbin