Ice Cream 3D Printing via Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)

Technology #17297

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Professor John Hart
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
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Donghyun Kim
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
Kyle Hounsell
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT
Jamison Go
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
Kristine Bunker
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
Managed By
Jim Freedman
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Chemicals, Instruments, Consumer Products
Patent Protection

Fused Deposition Model Cold Slurry Printer

US Patent Pending 2016-0324206


This invention can be applied to produce custom geometry in ice cream or similar cold slurry substances.

Problem Addressed

Conventional 3D printers utilizing FDM technology typically maintain elevated print bed and/or print chamber temperatures. This limits them to processing materials with melting points above room temperature. This invention describes a novel method of fused deposition modelling utilizing a cooled chamber and a cryogenic shield gas that expands the range of 3D-printable materials.


The main components of the ice cream, or cold slurry, 3D printer described by the Inventors are a cooled print chamber, a heated extruder, a movable print bed, and cryogenic shield gas system. Completely thawing and refreezing ice cream often has a detrimental effect on its texture. Therefore, the described system maintains the reservoir of ice cream in a frozen state at approximately 10 ℉. In operation, this frozen ice cream is pumped onto the print bed through an extruder which is locally heated to prevent clogging. The extruded ice cream is rapidly cooled and solidified by an array of liquid nitrogen jets arranged around the extruder. Through laboratory tests, the Inventors determined a set of values for print parameters such as layer height, traverse velocity, and extruder diameter that enabled successful printing of single serving-sized 2.5D ice cream structures within 15 minutes.


  • Extends FDM to materials with melting points below room temperature