3D printing enables the production of personalized designs that are desirable in the medical industry for applications including orthopedics, tissue engineering, and personalized nutrition. Currently, the design process relies on trial-and-error approaches, especially for biomaterial development, and there is a need for methodologies to streamline the design process to facilitate automation. Here, we investigate a design methodology for printing foods by mixing novel biomaterial combinations informed by rheological measurements that indicate printability. The process consists of first printing basic designs with chocolate, marzipan, and potato biomaterials known to print consistently. Rheological measurements are collected for these materials and compared to a novel pumpkin biomaterial. The pumpkin had a higher complex modulus and lower mechanical loss tangent than all other biomaterials, therefore motivating the addition of rheological agents to reach more favorable properties. Varied concentrations of corn starch and guar gum were added to the pumpkin to improve printability while altering the nutrient distribution. A 4% inclusion of guar gum provided the most consistent pumpkin prints. A complex 3D object was fabricated with the 4% guar gum pumpkin material, therefore demonstrating the merits in using rheological properties to inform printability for use in design automation routines. The design approach enabled comparisons of relative nutrition and printability trade-offs to demonstrate a proof-of-concept user interface for design automation to facilitate customized food production. Further research to develop a complete design methodology for linking rheological properties to printability would promote consistent prediction of print quality for novel formulations to support design automation, with potential generalizability for diverse biomaterials.

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