Hershey's to make 3-D chocolate printer

Hershey's to make 3-D chocolate printer

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(CNNMoney) Because apparently Americans don't have easy enough access to junk food, soon getting a candy bar could be as easy as hitting "print."

3D Systems announced a deal with Hershey's Thursday to collaborate on developing a 3-D printer that makes chocolate and other edible products.

In a statement, 3D Systems said making printers that print chocolate is a good way to help the relatively new technology go mainstream. Hershey sees it as a great delivery system for its products.

"Whether it's creating a whole new form of candy or developing a new way to produce it, we embrace new technologies such as 3-D printing as a way to keep moving our timeless confectionery treats into the future," said William Papa, head of research and development at Hershey, in a statement.

There is no word as to when the magical device might be available or how much it might cost.

3-D printing allows people to print actual, tangible products instead of words on a page. It's usually done by adding the raw material -- plastic, metal, or, in this case, chocolate -- to the printer instead of ink and building the product layer by layer.

At the consumer level, most 3-D printing is done by hobbyists, who print everything from toys to clothes to musical instruments. Consumer 3-D printers start at about $1,000.

But at the industrial level they are used to make manufacturing operations more efficient, making mostly high end products for the aerospace, medical or automotive sectors.

Some think 3-D printing could soon revolutionize the manufacturing sector, cutting out the need for expensive transportation and making the whole concept of outsourcing seem so 20th century.

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