While everyone got excited about Hans Fouche’s 3D printed lawn mower shell, followed by all of the crazy food printing at CES, it’s worth remembering that Hans actually started out in food printing. That, before the CocoJet, Hans had been printing chocolates in with a patented octopus of a chocolate printer. And he’s been doing it for, get this, 19 years.
Using eight extruders, he fashioned himself a chocolate making assembly line, allowing him to create custom chocolates at eight times the speed. Hans tells me that his device is not just about printing sweets, but demonstrating the possibility of batch manufacturing with a 3D printer. He says, “It shows that one can mass produce things with modified 3d printers! And that machine have been running for 19 years now! 3D Printed chocolates have been done for 19 yeas, so printing 8 lawnmowers at the same time? Not to laugh at any more!”
Though, in these videos, you’ll see the octopus printing out two dimensional cake decorations, but Hans has printed in 3D chocolate, as well. Hans’ 3D printed all of the works of digital artists featured in Android and Nestle’s Chocnology exhibit in South Africa two years back. While they were printed on his RapMan 3D printer, he did once have a Z-axis on his Choctopus. That feature has since been retired. So, if you do find yourself buying a ChocEdge or CocoJet 3D printer, you may be able to turn to Hans and Fouche Chocolates for advice. And, who knows, maybe Hans will sell you one of his Choctopus machines himself!
Correction: Hans tells me that his machine doesn’t quite use eight extruders: “A small technicality. One chocolate pumps pipe go go to a T-piece. Those 2 pipes goes each to another 2 T-pieces, and those 4 pipes each feed another T-piece, hence the 8 nozzles. One pump, 8 nozzles. but that is just a matter of words. So, 8 extruders? Yes, and no!”