Technology may soon turn us all into badass cake-decorating pros. The first step is to already own a 3D printer. The next step is to check out the Discov3ry Extruder on Kickstarter. It's a paste extruder designed to create 3D shapes with any pasty sort of material, including silicone, wood filler, certain types of clay, and delicious cupcake frosting.
The extruder is designed to work with most stepper-based (a type of motor) 3D desktop printers. If your printer uses regular plastic filament, it will probably work just fine with the Discov3ry. You will have to make adjustments to your printing parameters to accommodate the squishiness of the type of paste material you're working with. Structur3d Printing, the company behind the extruder, says it will provide guidance on dialing in the proper settings and choosing the proper extruder tip to handle the viscosity of the material.
The paste itself is loaded using refillable food-safe 60cc syringe cartridges. It gets pushed through food-safe tubing and out through the tip onto your printing platform. Smaller tips are designed to work with thinner materials, like Nutella. Thicker materials like silicone can be extruded through wider tips.
This isn't the first time a paste extruder has appeared in the wild, but the $299 price tag for a regular pledge puts this one in reach of hobbyists. The Canadian Kickstarter project set a $30,000 goal in Canadian dollars (approximately $27,500 US or £16,400), and it has already exceeded that amount with 35 days left to go. The lure of Nutella printing seems to be bringing in the backers.
The Discov3ry could certainly open up some new facets of desktop 3D printing. You would no longer need a steady hand to create really cool cupcake-topping decorations. You could make edible portraits of your cats out of Nutella or print a flexible gasket out of polyurethane. The possibilities are entertainingly endless.