If you own a 3-D printer (lucky you), you are probably already halfway to a drawer full of printable forks and spoons. If like us, you had no idea you could buy a 3-D printer for less than the price of dinner for four at The French Laundry, well, let the hamburger patty press printing fun begin.
MakerBot, the Brooklyn-based company behind the Thing-O-Matic ($1,100) 3-D printers, showcased their just-released Replicator ($1,750) printer model (touted as the first 3D printer that retails for under $2,000 and also does two-color printing) at the Affordable Art Fair over the weekend. That means you can now make your own 3-dimensional loaf of bread "sculpture" complete with a brown crust encasing that white bread interior (as this is food art, there's no need to go all out whole wheat).
"Most 3-D printers are $80,000 to $100,000,"said Matt Griffin, a company representative, standing in front of a cranberry red, 3-D bust of Beethoven in progress. "Those usually use wax molds... ours are different, we use the same material as Legos," he continues, handing over a plastic sample made from the desktop-sized Replicator (most 3-D printers are much larger). The company also sells a biodegradable material made from corn that you can use to make sculptures.
The company's consumer blog, Thingiverse.com, is a shared platform for digital designs from current MakerBot owners. In layman's terms, that means instead of always designing your own, you can download other people's design specs to make Swiss cheese sculptures, print an omelet recipe on a (real) egg, and make beer can openers, koozies and even bottles.
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And yes, the printer cartridges (here, sold in spools) are expensive. But if you don't make it yourself, where else are you going to find an OctoCup, an espresso cup with eight handles? Well, unless Octomom invites you over for coffee, of course.
More from Jenn Garbee @eathistory + eathistory.com