3D printing has never looked so good! With their background in architecture and penchant for complex geometries, Kyle and Liz von Hasseln of The Sugar Lab have come up with a way to 3D print sugar sculptures.
Founded by husband-and-wife team Liz and Kyle von Hasseln, the Sugar Lab developed out of a simple desire: The couple wanted to make a cake for a friend’s birthday. At the time, the pair were graduate students at SCI-Arch, where they would later invent a novel form of 3-D printing using UV light. They were living in a small apartment, complete with a tiny kitchen that, of course, had no oven. "When we realized we couldn’t bake our friend Chelsea a cake for her birthday, we decided to try to 3-D print one instead,” Liz tells Co. Design. “After a period of trial and error--during which her actual birthday came and went!--we managed to print a simple cupcake topper that spelled out 'Chelsea’ in cursive sugar.” [...]
Von Hasseln describes the process as being comparable to any rapid-prototyping project, with one major difference. A 3-D digital model is made and iterated to account for aesthetic, structural, and material considerations. Whereas with most prints, a synthetic material like resin is used to cast the form, the von Hasselns use sugar to print their works. They alternate strands of the sweet stuff with layers of a water and alcohol solution that wets and hardens the sugar. “If you’ve ever made frosting and left the mixing bowl in the sink overnight, you know that moistened sugar gets quite hard. That’s the underlying concept of 3-D printing with sugar.”