Chocolate is a $50 billion market worldwide, and over half of Americans say that chocolate is their absolute favorite flavor. With the demand for more exciting designs and ways of presenting chocolate ever increasing, more people are turning to chocolate 3D printers for deluxe chocolates.
The Best Chocolate 3D Printers and where to buy them
|Name||Speed||Max Print Volume (mm)||Price||Where to buy for the best price|
|FoodBot S2||15-70 mm/s||150 x 150 x 73||$2,100||3DPrintersOnlineStore here|
|WiiBoox Sweetin||15-70 mm/s||90 x 90 x 70||$1,599||Amazon here|
|Zmorph VX||120 mm/s||235 x 250 x 165||$4,299||Amazon here|
|Mmuse Touchscreen Chocolate 3D printer||30-60 mm/s||160 x 120 x 150||$5,700||3DPrintersOnlineStore here|
Note: this is an article about chocolate 3D printers. If you like this article, we also have:
- A general ranking of the best food 3D printers.
- A complete guide to 3D printed food.
- Our complete guide to 3D printed meat.
What is chocolate 3D printing?
The standard process for creating the everyday chocolate bars found on store shelves involves pouring melted chocolate into molds and cooling them until they solidify.
This is the most effective way we have of mass-producing chocolate, but due to the complexity and limits of molds there are limitations on the intricacies of chocolate shapes.
Chocolate 3D printers can create far more intricate shapes unable to be created using molds.
However, chocolate 3D printers are not yet the industry-crushing, mass-production beasts that can take on Nestle and Mars — they print slowly and are not scalable. They are however the best option out there for low-volume, very detailed, customized and intricate chocolates.
This makes 3D printed chocolates ideal for families who want to have fun experimenting with food, with the end product both delicious and beautiful for either eating for displaying.
“[Chocolate 3D printers are] the best option out there for low-volume, very detailed, customized and intricate chocolates”
For businesses, it’s potentially a great marketing tool that nobody is capitalizing on. You could print a set of 6 chocolates with yours or your client’s brand on them, and send them as a thank-you gift. Or hand them out during a pitch to increase the chances of getting that contract. Most people would surely rather receive a delicious and delicate branded chocolate than another branded pen or other piece of office stationery.
How does a chocolate 3D printer work?
Chocolate 3D printers work very similarly to standard FDM 3D printers. FDM 3D printers melt and extrude plastic filament through the print head, and chocolate 3D printers perform a remarkably similar action, depositing melted chocolate layer-by-layer to create a finished chocolate piece.
The chocolate 3D printing process is almost identical to FDM:
- Design or download the 3D CAD model you want to print in chocolate — you’ll need an STL file.
- Import the model into a 3D slicer and slice it with your chosen print settings.
- Start printing on your chocolate 3D printer as you would an FDM printer.
However, chocolate 3D printers don’t use filaments like FDM printers, instead using plastic cartridges filled with chocolate deposited by a syringe.
The chocolate is heated to a specific temperature before being deposited through the print head. This exact temperature must be maintained so the chocolate is not so liquid that it loses shape once it has been printed, and not so solid that it can’t form the required shape.
The chocolate cartridges and syringes are designed so there is no contact with the outside world prior to printing. This ensures the printers are hygienic, clean, and printing is efficient.
High-quality, machine-tempered chocolate is recommended – a great excuse to go out and buy some delicious Belgian chocolate! In fact, Belgian chocolate contains high levels of cocoa and works well with chocolate 3D printers.
It is recommended to use models that are quite small, and models without overhangs that on an FDM or resin 3D printer would require supports. Additionally, if you’re printing a complex, intricate chocolate model, reduce your chocolate 3D printer’s speed to allow the chocolate more time to dry and harden before the next layer is deposited.
How much does a chocolate printer cost?
This depends on the maximum print area size, resolution and quality of print, cost of the chocolate filament materials, and a host of other factors.
The cheapest 3D printer for chocolate printing we recommend retails at around $1,500, with premium chocolate 3D printing machines costing around $5,000. There are some lower cost chocolate 3D printers but most have been dogged by reliability issues.
Best Chocolate 3D Printers
- Chocolate 3D printer price: $2,500 — Available on Amazon here / Available on 3DPrintersOnlineStore here
- Max print volume: 150 x 150 x 73 mm
- Chocolate 3D printing speed: 15 – 70 mm/s
- Accuracy: 100 microns
Mainly a chocolate 3D printer, the FoodBot S2 can also print biscuit, jam and toffee. You will immediately notice the marvelous design; the futuristic, sci-fi build and colors will really bring your kitchen into the 22nd century.
It’s designed to be super simple to print with, featuring a 5.2-inch touchscreen and clear UI. It can print between 15mm/s and 70mm/s depending on the intricacy and model detail — print at the lower end if you want more precision for your chocolate prints.
The 100-micron accuracy is more than enough for most small chocolate prints, and you can switch the nozzles out depending on your printing priorities between 0.3 and 1.5 mm sizes. The FoodBot S2 comes with its own 3D slicer software so you don’t need to worry about installing any other software if you’re a 3D printing beginner.
It’s hygienic — the food filament never actually touches the printer — and easy to clean as you only need to clean the nozzle. Overall, it’s a fun and relatively cheap chocolate 3D printer to print your favorite creations with.
WiiBoox Sweetin Chocolate Printer
- Chocolate 3D printer cost: $1,599 — Available on Amazon here
- Print volume: 90 x 90 x 70 mm
- Speed: 15 – 70 mm/s
- Accuracy: 100 microns
Definitely one of the most accessible chocolate 3D printers, both in terms of price and simplicity to use. Not only are you free to download any STL files or design your own 3D CAD models, but the WiiBoox Sweetin comes with a host of its own models to print out straight away.
As with the FoodBot S2, the 100 micron accuracy is fine for all but the most minuscule details. It prints with a 0.6mm nozzle, and comes with its own slicer, though you can use other slicers with it if you prefer. Some owners have recommended leaving the chocolate prints to stand for around 10 mins after printing before trying to remove them, giving the chocolate extra time to cool and solidify.
Overall, it’s the lowest cost chocolate 3D printer we recommend that offers great accuracy, reliability and hygienic printing.
ZMorph Fab Full Set with Thick Paste Extruder
- Price: $3,999 for the Full Set — Available on Matterhackers here / 3DPrima Europe here
- Maximum print volume: 235 x 250 x 165 mm
- Thick paste extruder add-on costs an extra $250 here
The Zmorph Fab is much more than just a 3D printer, able to transform into a CNC router, laser engraver, or a chocolate 3D printer. When purchasing the printer, if you buy the Full Set version you get both the single and dual extruder 3D printer versions, the CNC and laser tools, and a thick paste extruder. If you only want a chocolate 3D printer, you can buy the basic Zmorph Fab model and then buy just the thick paste extruder for $250.
The thick paste extruder can print chocolate as well as sweet materials like icing and cookie dough. The great thing about the Zmorph Fab is that since it’s built to be an accurate FDM 3D printer system, all the precision carries over to chocolate 3D printing. It’s stable, and with up to 50-micron layer resolution you’ll have no trouble printing extremely intricate chocolate structures. It is recommended to only use this for smaller, wide prints rather than tall and thin chocolates.
For those looking for a chocolate 3D printer for commercial opportunities, this won’t be the chocolate 3D printer for you. It’s strictly for home use — Zmorph don’t certify that the printer’s chocolate and other food prints are eatable, so be wary of this. The thick paste extruder is however still a fun add-on for families at home making fun chocolate designs together, and for a $250 add-on (the Full Set with CNC mill and laser engraver is far more expensive altogether) it’s a nice extra to have.
If you were in the market for an FDM 3D printer anyway, and feel 3D printing food and chocolate would be a fun bonus, then the Zmorph may be an ideal choice for you.
Mmuse Touchscreen Chocolate 3D printer
- Chocolate 3D printer price: $5,700 — Available on 3DPrintersOnlineStore here
- Print volume: 160 x 120 x 150 mm
- Speed: 30 – 60 mm/s
A specialist chocolate 3D printer with a larger maximum print size and slightly more comfortable at higher speeds, the Mmuse touchscreen chocolate 3D printer is perfect if you’ve got the budget. A premium machine, it is not sold as a chocolate 3D printer, but a chocolate-making experience.
It’s designed with simplicity in mind, but that doesn’t make it any less effective. You can 3D print chocolate models via USB, SD card, or by WiFi using your phone or laptop. Additionally, the Mmuse chocolate 3D printer’s “intelligent temperature control technology” keeps a very closely regulated temperature to ensure chocolate is extruded at the perfect consistency — neither too liquid that it loses shape, nor too solid that it struggles to extrude properly.
It comes fully assembled and almost ready to go, so no stressing about DIY skills necessary. The sleek touchscreen makes getting started super simple, and the 3D printer’s nozzle is designed with hygiene in mind — it’s very east to clean and replace, so you shouldn’t have any issues with hygiene, even after years of chocolate printing. Overall, if you’re a professional chocolatier or want to start making beautiful chocolate creations and money isn’t an issue, this could be the ideal chocolate 3D printer for you.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Chocolate 3D printers
Chocolate 3D printer benefits
- Very accurate and intricate chocolate shapes and designs
- Great for business events and other business applications, as well as having fun with your family
- Saves money vs buying high mark-up chocolates at stores
Chocolate 3D printer limitations
- Slow to produce chocolates, so not useful except in very short runs
- Temperature needs to be maintained very carefully or the chocolate loses some of its properties, either becoming too liquid and losing shape, or becoming too hard and creating extruding problems
- Different types of chocolate have different properties, so need to adjust for this