What started out as a quest to use 3D printing in meaningful ways in the classroom has led to interdisciplinary, authentic inquiry.
Here is the students' request for information:
Dear Ms. Vonhasseln,
We are third graders in Phoenix, AZ. We are working on coming up with a business idea as a school project and am interested in your technology for creating sugar art. We are wondering about what type of machine you use, where and how much the sugar floss costs, and what it would cost to buy a 3D sugar printer. Also, is the process for printing 3D sugar art the same as for printing 3D objects using plastic filament?
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. We look forward to learning from you and hearing back from you soon.
Thanks for your interest in our work! This sounds like an awesome project you're working on!
We use 3D printers made by 3D Systems, called the ChefJet and ChefJet Pro. These printers are only prototypes at this time, but they will both be released to market later this year. Here's the press release. The ChefJet is monochrome (it produces parts the color of the material) and will cost roughly $5,000. The ChefJet Pro is full CMYK color, with a larger build-bed (you can print larger objects, or a larger quantity of smaller objects) and will cost roughly $10,000.
As for the material you use with these printers, it's actually not a filament. The ChefJet printers use a different kind of 3D printing technology than plastic extrusion printers do, but instead use CJP (Color Jet Printing) technology. Unfortunately the pricing for the ChefJet materials has not yet been determined, but for the purposes of your project, you could research the cost of granulated sugar. You would need enough to fill a 10x12x12" bin (ChefJet) or 16x14x10" bin (ChefJet Pro).
You can find a folder of images of our work here, as well as a document with some information about what we do and how we originally got started. I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions!