What does a cappuccino have in common with a 3D printer?
The UK-wide lockdown has allowed me to get to a new level of boredom. I spent 3 hours developing a way to enhance my cappuccino-drinking experience.
Imagine that you’ve decided to finally arrange that long-overdue catch-up with a close friend or family member. You’ve probably chosen to take them to your local coffee house. Perhaps it (like most local coffee shops) is renowned for its organically sourced beans, selection of vegan flapjacks and array of lifeless vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, fruitarian, breatharian, octogenarian, fun-free “milk” substitutes.
You sit down on a turned-over fruit crate opposite your loved one, resting on a table that resembles the one your grandmother threw away ten years ago. To add to the modern, 21st century experience, you are serenaded by the sound of alternative indie music with glass bottles of clear and sparkling water to cleanse your palate with.
You order a regular cappuccino for yourself (sprinkle-free of course, because you’re an intellectual) and an organic lychee, rhubarb, goat's saliva and avocado fruit smoothie for your loved one. After a five minute wait, a barista brings your beverage over to you. You expect a delicate coffee, topped with an aesthetically pleasing love heart pattern. But what you’re actually greeted with is the coffee house’s most insulting guess as to what your penis might look like – not too dissimilar from the image above.
That scenario is the exact reason why I never applied for a job at Costa. The more I willed my mind’s eye to imagine the tulip or love heart I wanted to make, the more grotesque and unsuitable the resulting genitalia would become. It’s not too dissimilar to somebody saying to you “Don’t think about elephants”. Naturally the resulting thought process is that of an elephant-themed catwalk, featuring a whole variety of elephants just waiting to be thought about again and again.
However, during one of my recent lock-down-inspired adventures of aimlessly wandering between the kitchen and the bedroom, I had a fairly bland idea. Perhaps I could subdue the intellectual snob within me and cover my obscene coffee art with chocolate sprinkles – just until I had learned to pour my steamed milk more wholesomely (or chop off my right arm).
However, as I passed a fellow lockdown prisoner (my disillusioned father) entertaining himself by banging his head repeatedly against his desk, only stopping intermittently to sip one of my “penis-coffees”, I heard the sound of his 3D-printer, purchased a few years ago on eBay for about £100.
My first 3D-printed stencil
As an engineering student, I have naturally found it very frustrating over the past to deal with the swathes of imaginary women trying to seduce me, so I decided to devote 100% of my spare time to learning about 3D-printing software. Hence, it didn’t take me too long to create a family-friendly stencil that I could 3D print in a matter of minutes.
So now, I can satisfy the intellectual snob within me by decorating all my coffees with chocolate sprinkles that serve a purpose – whether it be to show a piece of Dora Maar artwork or an evolutionary biologist’s impression of the first walking primate. One thing’s for sure, with my new stencil-making ability, the coffee consumer will remain oblivious to the obscene imagery that lurks beneath.
My first attempt at using my newly printed stencil.