McDonalds Uses 3D Printing to Perfect Shamrock Shake Experience

The shamrock shake is legendary. It’s perfectly smooth mint flavored texture arrives just in time for St. Patrick’s Day every year and then it vanishes from McDonald’s menu until the same time next year.

However, the team at Micky D’s had a problem. Ahead of their release of the chocolate shamrock shake this year, their generic straws simply weren’t pulling their weight!

They wanted to make absolutely sure that customers were getting the perfect balance of chocolate and shamrock when it releases the chocolate shamrock shake this St. Patty’s Day.

So, they employed a team that leveraged 3d printing to make sure you get a 50/50 split of the mint flavored shamrock shake at the top of the cup, and the chocolate that sits at the bottom of the cup.

“It’s one of those things that seems so simple, but as we got into it there were a lot more issues exposed,” said Seth Newburg at NK Labs, which managed this project. “It turned out to present quite a few engineering and scientific challenges.”

Since the team had completed projects for Google, Apple and NASA, it’s no surprise they were able to perfect the sipping process for the chocolate shamrock.

“At some points when you’re drinking it, you can get an exact 50–50 mix of the flavors,” Newburg said. “But with the different conditions: Full cup, nearly empty cup, depending how much it melted, you could get some slight variations. But we made sure that you’re still getting both flavors all the way through.”

The newly engineered straw is j-shaped with multiple holes that allows for proper balance and will be coupled with this year’s chocolate shamrock shake in 80 cities as we approach St. Patrick’s Day.

Thank the lord!

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