Mechanical engineer creates ingenious Easy Cheese 3D Printer
Every once in awhile, somebody comes by with a completely ingenious idea that utilizes everything we’ve come to love about additive manufacturing...however doesn’t actually operate by any traditional rules. Previously, we’ve seen this with a maker who created g-code for being able to play the Jurassic Park theme songusing his 3D printer as well as somebody who hacked their 3D printer to be able to be controlled with an old-school NES video game controller.
Now, we can add canned Easy Cheese to that growing group of 3D printer hacks.
According to his website, mechanical engineer Andrew Maxwell-Parish simply “make(s) things work!” when managing the Hybrid Lab at California College of the Arts. The multidisciplinary, creative technology and interactive electronics lab that’s open to all students at the Oakland, California school sees over a hundred students every semester who come in to create any number of different kinds of projects. In his role as manager of the lab, Maxwell-Parish guides the students through conceptualization, construction, fabrication, and “endless amounts of troubleshooting” for bringing wild ideas to life.
Perhaps it comes with little surprise then, that Maxwell-Parish’s most recent personal project is far from traditional itself. Using an existing 3D printer and some self-made, 3D printed modification parts, Maxwell-Parish created the world’s first (known) Easy Cheese 3D Printer.
Also known as Squeeze Cheese, Aerosol Cheese and Cheese in a Can, the processed cracker spread has been a popular snack item since it was first introduced in 1965. Currently, it is available in a wide variety of flavors including Cheddar, Sharp Cheddar, Cheddar 'n Bacon, and American Flavor.
The design of the 3D printer consists of an automated lever that pulls on the can’s dispensing nozzle to release the cheese ‘filament’ in tandem with the pre-programmed movements along the XYZ axis. Of course, the fact that the cheese is aerosol-based means that any air in the can would compromise any layered structures in the case that there isn't a constant stream of cheese. Despite this shortcoming and although the structures shown in the initial test video are relatively short, the ability to create custom Easy Cheese designs using a 3D printer is nothing short of amazing and Maxwell-Parish is a true genius.