You really can 3D print anything: Ford’s edible chocolate car

For the first time a car that you can eat rather than drive has been made. Technically it is only one inch long but it’s still possible to eat the 3D printed chocolate Mustang that manufacturer Ford has created.

Ford teamed up with 3D Systems’ Sugar Lab from Los Angles, US, to produce the tiny treat from a full scale CAD version of the company’s newest car.

It may be a rather niche area, which undoubtedly will not be highly competitive, but after printing the chocolate models the partnership proudly stated that it was the world’s first 3D-printed car that can be eaten.

In terms of 3D printing food the chocolate car isn’t a revolutionary step forward but it does show the flexibility which is possible when printing food. The ability to print specific shapes will give food manufacturers with distinctive brands the option of being able to produce their products with ease, rather than having to use complex moulds.

Liz von Hasseln, the creative director at 3D Systems/The Sugar Lab who produced the edible model said it was a challenge to take it from the full CAD version of the car to a small piece of chocolate.

Explaining the printing process she says: “The printer uses an inkjet print head to very precisely paint water onto a dry sugar sub-strain where the model exists at the cross section, and then it spreads more sugar.

“It paints more water onto the sugar and the water recrystalises the sugar and allows it to harden.”

Once it has had time to harden the group then take out the entire production and clear away the excess sugar to reveal the model.

The company Sugar Lab company was created after Liz, together with her husband Kyle, 3D printed a birthday cake for a friend because they didn’t have an oven.

The print of the edible Mustang was made as a one-time special but Ford has said it is considering licensing the application in case it wanted to manufacture Mustang sweets in the future.

Ford already 3D print a large amount of parts and prototypes but the willingness of large companies to consider using 3D printing for food purposes does show some hope for the future of food manufacturing using the techniques.

Ford supervisor of 3D printing, Paul Susalla, said: “3D printing is one of the hottest buzzwords in the news today and it’s great to see more consumers learning about the technology and its applications.

“We wanted to create something fun to show that while 3D printing made these edible Mustangs, manufacturing-level 3D printing was used in the development of Ford’s all-new sports car.”


Video still courtesy of Ford.