Are 3-D Printed Custom Tools the Future of the Culinary Industry?

By Clara Olshansky |
FWX AUXILIARY TOOLS GROUP SHOT

© Gareth Ladley

British designer Gareth Ladley wants to make your kitchen look like something out of a sci-fi movie. His latest project, "Auxiliary Tools: Industrial Gastronomy" is an effort to make custom 3-D printed auxiliary tools the norm, so that chefs can get access to any instrument they need, no matter how specific or specialized. 

Ladley’s auxiliary tools are extensions that all fit on to a powered handle. The goal of all these printed, specialized attachments is to attack the issue of idling technology—wasteful technology that gets very little use compared to what it takes to produce it. Or put another way, no matter how cool you think that automatic egg separator you saw on an infomercial at 2 a.m. is, in reality it will take up a lot of space and rarely get used. Your kitchen setup would be improved greatly if oddly specific pieces like that were interchangeable parts on a single tool.

Because of the high degree of specialization that 3-D printing allows, Ladley's tools can do some pretty amazing things. In the demonstration video, Ladley uses an egg drill, a plate spinner, and a blowtorch to create crème brulee inside an eggshell.  Other tools include a potato lathe for perfectly skinned potatoes and a dremel drill carrot lathe for artfully sculpted carrots.

Ladley describes his vision as a "designer in residence scenario where objects have been produced using soft tooling methods and 3D printing technology." So basically, Ladley sees designers as an essential part of any commercial kitchen. Get ready for a lot of impressive gastronomical creations in the near future. 

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