Fruit-Maker is a conceptual piece of work that explores how 3D printing may be used by the food industry in the future. Prompted by a brief from Frucor Beverages to revitalise their Fresh-Up brand, I designed a promotional event that would allow customers to design their own fantasy fruit, and see it printed out by a rather unconventional vending machine.

This work was recently featured in the “Future Foodstyles” exhibition as part of the Living Kitchen event in Cologne, Germany.

Real fruit contain a variety of textures and flavours that make eating a fruit appealing. Current 3D printed foods are generally created through the layering of a consistently textured paste, making the idea of eating such foods a little unattractive. I speculated that we could use multi-material printing technologies to solve this problem. I also researched molecular gastronomy techniques such as spherification, which makes little bubbles of liquid that burst in your mouth.

These prototypes were made using Victoria University's Connex printer. The white rigid and clear soft materials were then dyed with food colouring. A colour printer could create much more detailed variations of colour, so it is highly possible that in the future we may not be able to distinguish between digitally manufactured and natural fruit.

As part of this system design, I also created a style guide for each kind of fruit. Users would be able to use this machine to select a few of their preferred fruits, and the machine would generate a final fruit based on these combinations.