The 3D Printing Company Wasp are Printing Food


The Italian 3D printing company 'WASP' were recently the technical sponsors to a noteworthy new project entitled ‘Feel The Peel.’ Italian studio Carlo Ratti Associati developed and funded an orange juice bar that turns the waste fruit peel into 3D-printed bio plastic cups to drink the insides from, as an example of the circular economy in practice.


Circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy. This would be where the process follows the steps of being produced, used and then subsequently disposed of. With circular economy there is a strong sense of environmental benefit because it is a process in which all the resources are keep in use for as long as possible. This is so that we can extract the maximum value from them whilst they are in use and then recover and regenerate products or materials at the end of each service life.


Established for the international energy company Eni, Feel the Peel is a prototype orange-squeezing machine that intends to bring circular design into everyday life. The video below demostrates the process and depicts the outcome of this project.



The 3.10-metre-tall experimental juice bar is obscured by a circular dome which is filled with 1,500 oranges. When someone orders the juice, the oranges slide down into the squeezer where they are then sliced in half and subsequently juiced. Once being juiced, the leftover orange peel drops into a see-through compartment at the bottom of the machine. The accumulated skins are later dried and crushed to make "orange dust", which is mixed with polylactic acid (PLA) to create a bioplastic material.


Visitors can watch the printing process as it builds up concentric layers of the filament, before using the finished product to drink the freshly-squeezed juice. The cup can then be recycled after usage, with the material continually breaking down and being remade into further cups in theory. The move to a circular economy – which involves designing out waste and pollution from both the production and consumption process and regenerating natural systems – is being encouraged by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and others.



WASP are once again confirming their innovative and Avant-Garde place as a company with these experimental and ground-breaking ideas. "The principle of circularity can be an inspiration for tomorrow’s everyday life objects”, says Carlo Ratti, founding partner at CRA and director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Working with Eni, we played around a machine that helps us to understand how oranges can be used well beyond their juice. In the next iterations of these projects, we might add new functions, such as printing fabric for clothing”.


Last month, MacArthur launched an initiative to persuade 20 million designers to shift from linear to circular principles in their work. The Circular Juice Bar was inaugurated at the Singularity University Summit in Milan from 8 to 9 October 2019, then it was decided it should tour around Italy in the following months in a bid to "demonstrate a new approach to environmental circularity in daily life". Feel the Peel is not the first collaboration between Carlo Ratti Associati and Eni that explores the concept of circular design. The pair formerly teamed up to introduce a series of arched architectural structures made from mushroom mycelium at Milan Design Week 2019. Grown from a fungus material, the structures were shredded and returned to the soil as compost after the design festival, in a fully circular fashion.



The bioplastic is heated and melted and used to feed a Delta Wasp 2040 Industrial 4.0 3D printer incorporated in the system to produce sustainable cups, which in turn can be used to drink orange juice. This is one of the new 3D printers that will debut on the Daemon 3D Print website in the new year. In the new year there will be several new Delta Wasp products coming to the Daemon 3D website. These products include the new Delta Wasp Industrial 4.0 line of 3D printers. The new Wasp Industrial 4.0 line includes the 2040 Industrial 4.0, the 4070 Industrial 4.0 and the 3MT Industrial.


Gluten Free Corner 


WASP had already printed food in 2017 and now they have tried to create food which is gluten free, and this project is called ‘Gluten Free Corner.’ They have attempted a new project in which the aim is to print food for those with Celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease and It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. This indicates that this project is something necessary and worthwhile because there is a large quantity of people that this project has the potential to help. From the previous work done on printing food they are aware of the complexity of printing with this material (bioplastic).


With Gluten Free Corner it will be possible to print 3D foods in specific caloric portions, so that the celiac has the control over selecting foods. This has the benefit that they are able to adjust to any personalized diet and to every daily nutritional need without the problem of food wastage.


An important factor in 3D printing in food applications is that it allows for a new interpretation of nutrition. It is ground-breaking because it is creating new ways to produce food and changes the way food production is seen.