Many in the 3D printing industry will remember BeeHex, a startup that in 2016 and 2017 made many headlines for developing a method for 3D printing pizza. Though we haven’t heard much from BeeHex since 2017, when it raised $1 million to launch the Chef 3D pizza printer, it has now buzzed back onto our radar for a different, sweeter take on food 3D printing.
The company is reportedly behind a new bakery in Columbus, Ohio that is selling cakes and cookies decorated using the Sugr-Bot Bakery 3D printer. The system is simple: the operator places the cooked cake or cookie inside the printer, and it extrudes frosting and icing onto the surface in custom designs. The hands-off technology could be particularly interesting in times such as these, where people are wary of their food and belongings being touched by others.
The Sugr-Bot bakery was up and running this past weekend, accepting orders for pickup and home delivery. The team says it produced 25 orders, and it hopes to ramp up its customizable bakes to 100-200 orders per week. From the customer side, it’s a relatively straightforward process: you order your cakes and cookies online, choosing the cake flavor and a design from a catalogue. From there, the details are sent to the Sugr-Bot machine which decorates the cake and has it ready within two hours. The only time a human interacts with the baked good is when it is placed into the printer and then into a box. For novelty’s sake, each customized cake also comes with a video of the printing process.
BeeHex was founded as a NASA spin-off and specializes in 3D printed food prep using a patented technology that automates food personalization for food producers. After finding acclaim for its pizza printing technology, the company announced the development of a cake decorating machine, which was finally unveiled in May 2020 under the brand name DecoPod. It seems the Sugr-Bot is a special edition of the DecoPod specifically for the newly opened bakery.