Keen-eyed makers will fondly remember the first headlines of a sugar 3D printer back in 2013 when The Sugar Lab burst onto the scene. The husband and wife duo — and self-styled “architect, tech geek and rogue chef team” — stumbled upon the groundbreaking tech while trying to find a creative solution to making a birthday cake in the absence of a working oven.
This led to working with 3D printer manufacturer giant 3D Systems before their recent rerelease as Sugar Lab, selling some of the most stunning 3D printed sugary treats ever made. These pricey 3D printed desserts include delicate cocktail bitters, chocolate bonbons, and much more, and we had to talk to Kyle von Hasseln about the latest chapter in their sugar 3D printing adventure.
- You can also check out more exciting projects in our feature story covering 3D printed food.
How did the original idea for 3D printing sugar come about?
I was at the Southern California School of Architecture experimenting with different architectural materials in additive manufacturing. On a lark, we tried sugar and it photographed beautifully. We were immediately captivated. We wondered, would pastry chefs collaborate with us to design gorgeous sugar sculptures? The answer was an emphatic ‘yes’!
What was the process for turning a standard 3D printer into one that could 3D print edible sugar?
The key realization behind Sugar Lab was that FDM was not an ideal mechanism for 3D printing in the culinary arts. The technology much better suited for this was powder printing which allowed key improvements that had never been seen before; mathematical precision, precision color application, and large, complex geometries that interlocked and mazed through space.
Having achieved this, you partnered with 3D Systems. What was that like, and what are you most proud of with your work there?
As the Director of Culinary Technology there I championed developing a powder printing system that lived up to the promises Sugar Lab had shown were available with the right 3D printing system. I’m super proud to have worked with some of the most talented engineers in AM who all pulled together under tremendous pressure to do something for the first time: bring a true, professional culinary food 3D printer to market. None of that would have been possible without Brill Inc., who believed in the technology from day one and helped bring it to market.
Are we likely to see a sugar / food 3D printer akin to the ChefJet range?
Yes, it is available now. It just has a new name–the 3D Brill Culinary Studio, which credits Brill Inc, for their important research, investment and operations to pull this into the market.
Now you’ve restarted Sugar Lab, what are your main focuses, and what can we expect to see from you in the future?
The main focus at Sugar Lab is making beautiful, colorful, designer chocolates and candies that look as good as they taste; that are affordable luxuries available for everyone to experience and share. We do this through tight collaborations between our 3D designers and chefs, who are both looking to use the tools of their trades to inspire and satisfy.
What are your dreams of achieving within the food and sugar 3D printing space?
I have achieved one dream already–a serious, professional, fast and precise 3D food printer, a powder system, is on the market at long last, the first of its kind. Now we’re building a business on the foundation of that technology, driven by 3D designers and led by chefs.
We want to inspire people everywhere with our beautiful 3D food. Because admiring these designs means celebrating with our chefs for the important arrival of 3D design and 3D printing in the history culinary arts and tradition.
Molds have had a cherished role in creating beautiful 3D food for centuries, but we’re finally able to take another step forward and marvel at the unprecedented precision, color and shapes that are newly achievable. Pastry chefs everywhere are eager for the many possibilities that can now be folded into their craft.