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A 3D Printer for Chocolate: Fact or Fiction?

3d printer for chocolate

Has 3D printing in chocolate sparked your curiosity? In this article, find out what a 3D printer for chocolate is and how realistic it is for chocolate-making.

In the past decade, 3D printing technologies have advanced in leaps and bounds. Starting out as highly specialist industrial machinery, 3D printers are now commonplace, with electronics stores selling models that even kids can operate. While most utilize plastic or metal, certain models use more novel materials, like chocolate.

If you’ve heard of a 3D printer for chocolate, you’ve probably wondered how serious this technology is. Is it a passing fad, or a glimpse into a fascinating future for craft chocolate? In this article, chocolatier Simon Knott weighs in with his thoughts on 3D printing in chocolate, and how real it is for chocolatiers.

A 3D Printer for Chocolate: Fact or Fiction?

By Simon Knott, Chocolatier

3D printing in chocolate adapts existing 3D food and plastic printing technologies. Tempered chocolate is extruded through the printing head to build up a model on the printer platform. Titled additive manufacturing, subsequent layers of chocolate are added according to the software model in the printer. The printing head moves slowly, so each layer has time to harden before the next is laid on top.

A 3D chocolate printer has three main components:

  • Control platform – the chocolate is extruded onto the platform to form the model.
  • Printing system – the software that controls the movement of the printing head and chocolate flow.
  • Chocolate pump and reservoir – held in a metal tube, the melted chocolate is delivered through a nozzle.
3D printer can produce more intricate designs than chocolate molding
Highly intricate, precise designs are only possible to make by 3D printing in chocolate.

Understanding the Chocolate used in 3D Printing

Compared to more common 3-D plastic printing, 3D chocolate printing is far more complex, where the chocolate needs to be melted and kept in temper, so it sets well. Additionally, the complexity of cocoa mass, cocoa butter, and sugar particles needs careful optimisation for efficient extrusion. These physical limitations require chocolate, which has been formulated with palm or coconut oil for better fluidity. You can learn more about the role of oils in chocolate fluidity here.

The 3D printer for chocolate, the Cocoa Press model, uses refillable chocolate cylinders, which cost $49.00 for a pack of 10. Each weighs 2.5 ounces (70 grams) and they are available as dark, milk, and white chocolate cylinders.

How is 3D Printing in Chocolate Used?

3D printers for chocolate are still mostly limited to small-scale, often one-off applications. Overcoming the slow printing speed to give each layer time to set means that large-scale commercial production isn’t achievable. However, for top-end chocolatiers and pâtissiers, 3D printing in chocolate can be employed to make stunningly intricate creations. Some chocolate wholesalers, such as Barry Callebaut, now offer a bespoke design service where individuals can submit their CAD designs and, in return, receive the models by post.

3D printer for chocolate is still new technology and not widely used

3D Printer for Chocolate Advantages & Disadvantages

The main considerations for home cooks and professionals thinking about buying a 3D printer for chocolate include:


  • Can create new, original, complex chocolate structures and textures.
  • Can create highly intricate models beyond the scope of moulds.
  • Exact replication of a model each time
  • Models can be personalised to the client’s requirements


  • Printing chocolate is a slow process; commercial volume isn’t practical.
  • Software glitches can still halt a print halfway through.
  • 3D chocolate printers are expensive.
3d printing in chocolate can produce exact replicas each time
3D printing in chocolate allows you to create exact replicas of a single complex design.

3D Printer for Chocolate Brands & Models

The Cocoa Press 3D Printer for Chocolate

The Cocoa Press comes as a DIY kit, starting at $1,499 ($2.332 AUD, £1200.00). The electronics and mechanical parts are supplied, but you must print out some of the plastic parts. The ready-built model costs $3,995 ($6,216 AUD, £3206.00). Chocolate contains palm oil. Shipped from the US.

FoodBot S2 Chocolate Food 3D Printer

FoodBot S2 Chocolate Food 3D Printer prints chocolate, candy, and biscuits. Includes a model library or upload your own designs. $2,499 ($3,887 AUD, £2005.00)

MyCusini 3D Chocolate Printer V2

MyCusini 3D Chocolate Printer V2. Includes over 1000 designs. Chocolate contains palm oil. 488 Euro (£417.00) Shipped from Germany.

Final Verdict

When the price of 3D printing applications dropped, it seemed to herald a new dawn for 3D food and chocolate printing. However, despite chocolate formulation innovations and better software, 3D printing in chocolate remains limited to the hobby market. Print speeds remain slow, so larger commercial production isn’t feasible.

Chocolate must be formulated with palm or coconut oil for fluidity, but often with no reference to sustainability. However, for a small market, such as top-end pâtissiers and chocolatiers, 3D chocolate printing enables the creation of individual, intricate works of art in chocolate.

Article Author

  • Simon Knott

    Simon Knott studied a BSc Hons in Catering Management, Food Science, and Nutrition at Oxford Brookes University and started writing in 2006, specialising in food and drink. He worked as Food & Drink Editor for two county magazines, interviewing chefs and local food producers. In 2010 Simon started a company making traditional fudges and chocolate products. The company quickly grew, supplying local outlets and Simon was awarded five Gold Great Taste Awards for his products. Simon recently completed a Diploma in Copywriting, and continues to write about food and drink, business and skiing.

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