NASA-Funded 3D Printer Can Print a Real Pizza in 4 Minutes!

Three years ago NASA funded a research program aimed at finding a tasty alternative to the problem of hungry astronauts who spend months in space with only boring pre-packaged meals to eat. The goal of the program was to create food using a 3D printer that could be used on a subsequent Mission to Mars. And you know what? They did it!

Unfortunately, their funding was cut off before they could improve the printer, but with the first portion of the funding they successfully created a 3D printer that could create the world’s first printed pizza.

After the funding was stopped, Anjan Contractor and his team of researchers decided to form a private company called BeeHex and use the technology to make and serve food at concession stands at sporting events and amusement parks.

How Does the 3D Pizza Printer Work?

The unit was originally designed to take flour, oil, water and so on, keeping the limitations of space travel and the nutritional needs of individual astronauts in mind. The modified printers from BeeHex, however, are loaded with pre-prepared ingredients like pizza dough, sauce and cheese, which come out of multiple nozzles when the pizza is being “made.”


The best part about it is the visual experience as people literally watch the pizza being printed out one layer at a time. Great for amusement parks, but such “theatrics” could well be the reason that funding was cut for the program. According to, which reported the story, “Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) was among the lawmakers who criticized the initial $125,000 grant, including the pizza printer in his annual “wastebook”.

Waste or not, BeeHex is already experimenting with other forms of food such as chocolate and cake icing. The technology is already there; it just has to be modified for various types of food.

What Does This Mean?

The art of cooking isn’t going to be disrupted in any way by 3D printer foods. Cuisine is something that people cherish, and traditional foods that are rich in flavor, chockfull of ingredients or have specific methods of preparation can’t be printed that easily. I’m not saying it’s merely a fad – although many would disagree; all I’m saying is that it’s not going to replace traditional ways of making food.

Your grandma’s never going to use one, for example!

But the applications in the fast food industry are tremendous. Since these printers are self-cleaning, they can pretty much take care of the whole process once they have a regular diet of the right ingredients. BeeHex is looking at the convenience as well as novelty angles, and says that a 3D pizza can be made in 4 minutes compared to the 9 minute that it takes a human chef.

That saves a lot of time at concession stands where half-time is a bottleneck that they struggle to deal with. The BeeHex 3D pizza printer takes orders from a mobile app where people can check in and order, and then pick it up a few minutes later. This could be a game-changer.


Think about the possible applications of this technology: fully automated fresh food vending machines, a portable version for backpackers, cars with pre-fitted food printers and so on…the only limit would be your imagination.

I’m not going to write this off as a novelty just yet because I just don’t know where it’s going to go, to be honest.

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