This is what your first food 3D printer could look like

Last time I checked in with 3D printing startup Structur3D, its unusual paste-extruding machine was a mysterious white box that sat next to a 3D printer. It was capable of spitting out Nutella, cookie dough and inedible materials like silicone, but it wasn’t exactly clear how it worked. Now, the company has opened up the extruder, known as Discov3ry, to give us a more detailed view of how it works.

Structur3D Discov3ry paste extruder 3D printer

Discov3ry is compatible with any modifiable 3D printer. You connect the box with the printer via a tube. Inside the box, a syringe sits upright and a disk slowly pushes up on it, causing it to squeeze material into the tube.

When I visited Structur3D at Maker Faire back in May, the team was loading all kinds of materials into a Discov3ry prototype manually. That will still be an option for users, including those who backed it through the Kickstarter campaign, but Structur3D now also plans to sell pre-packaged syringes. Structur3D is also working on developing its own materials, co-founder Charles Mire said. Personally, I’m hoping for Cheez Whiz.

A Structur3D syringe is filled with Nutella. Photo by Signe Brewster.

A Structur3D syringe is filled with Nutella. Photo by Signe Brewster.

Structur3D revealed the new details about the extruder just after graduating from Hyperdrive, a Canadian startup accelerator.

“A key lesson we learned was to not get distracted trying to do too many things at once, and we were fortunate to learn this lesson very early on,” Mire said. “The most important thing we learned was that our product fills a gap in the 3d printing market. We were not the only people interested in paste printing.”