Hack a Cake

What’s a hacker going to do with an oven? Reflow solder? Dry out 3D printing filament? If you are [Alicia Gibb] you’d be baking a cake. While complaining that projects aren’t a hack seems to be a favorite past time for Hackaday commentators, we think [Alicia] will be in the clear. Why? Because these cakes have Arduinos, LEDs, and motorized candles among other gizmos.

The Game Boy cake is undeniably cool, although we have to admit the cake that screams when cut got our attention (see video below), even if it would unnerve guests.

As you might expect, you can’t bake the electronics directly into the cake. [Alicia] uses Tupperware or parchment paper to create cavities for the electronics. Connections and other solder joints get professional grade Saran wrap to keep the lead and other awful chemicals out of the cake.

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Coffee Straight From The Tap

Do you love coffee? Of course you do. Do you sometimes wish you could drink coffee instead of water? Do you want to void the warranty on your hot water heater? Yes? Well, then we have the hack for you!

A Norweigan science show called Ikke gjør dette hjemme (Do Not Try This at Home) decided it would be fun to see what would happen if you turned your hot water heater into a giant coffee machine. They didn’t put much effort into the conversion, in fact, they just opened up the tank and poured copious amounts of instant coffee into the tank. But they did it, and that saves us from wondering if it’s possible. Spoiler: It is.

Stick around after the break to see the water run brown — in a good way.

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Your Steaks Sleep with the Fishes in this Giant Sous Vide Aquarium

A small engineering company in Germany called [Nerdindustries] decided to throw a party, and in doing so, wanted to squash some rumors that nerds only eat pizza and take out. We’d say they successfully one-uped their friends while proving they too can make gourmet food. The gathering included a massive sous vide cooker out of an old 240L aquarium. Be warned, their website presentation is rather annoying but worth it.

sousvide aquarium thumbnailThey got the aquarium off eBay for $40, and started the project by resealing the aquarium with some silicone. Water adding some aluminium extrusion they mounted six immersion heaters. Three to heat it to temperature, and another three running off a PID control loop with waterproof temperature sensors to maintain it within a degree or so. Of course that wouldn’t get you very far unless you completed the build by filling the aquarium with water.
To make it a bit fancier for the party, they also threw a projector above it to display some simple visuals in the water. For their big night, they cooked steaks at 60C for about an hour and a half, and then finished in a pan to sear before serving — they were a hit. There’s a video on the site, but we can’t embed it here, so you’ll have to go check it out!

Is Sous Vide still a hot topic with hackers? There was a flurry of activity a few years back (Sous Vadar obviously one of our favorites) but we haven’t seen nearly as many projects lately. Actually we recently saw a Sous Vide repurposed for brewing instead of cooking.

Apple Cider Press is Just In Time for Fall

Do you like hacking? Do you like apple cider? Do you like ceiling fans? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then boy do we have the project for you! [Lou Wozniak] has an awesome tutorial for building an apple cider press using a ceiling fan motor and a handful of items available at your local hardware store.

The build is pretty simple in concept but complex in execution, and [Lou] does a fantastic job of covering every step in detail in his two project videos. The project has two main components: the grinder to decimate the apples and create a juicy, pulpy soup, and the press to extract the juice. The grinder is powered by the fan motor, while the press uses a screw-drive connected to a power drill, and then a ratchet to squeeze out every last drop.

Eager for more ceiling fan motor goodness? You’re in luck! Apparently [Lou] is a master of repurposing fan motors, and we featured a pottery wheel he made with one a while back.

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Cake Knife Tessellates Cake

Rectangles? Squares? Pie slices? Who says dessert has to come in that shape? Why not triangles, circles, or even hexagons? Master of all things woodworking [Matthias Wandel] decided to solve this problem, and delved into a bit of metal working.

Using a strip of 26 gauge stainless steel, [Matthias] threw together some wood clamps in order to bend the metal into funky looking blade. He then put slits into a nice wooden handle and assembled the whole thing with a very slight positive curve, allowing you to roll the knife as you cut your confectionery.

As you can see in the following video, it works pretty well — and always, it’s a pleasure to see this man work.

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Cooking with Shop Tools: Most Dangerous Breakfast

In a rather comical video, [Dom] and [Chris] of [ExplosiveDischarge] show us how to make a full English breakfast — without the use of a kitchen.

We’re talking eggs, bacon, ham, hash browns, and baked beans. Without the use of a single cooking element. Some of the methods were expected, like using a clothes iron as a portable grill — which is a great life hack by the way, especially when you’re at a hotel and just happen to have a package of bacon and nowhere to cook it… Or using a blow torch to flame-broil a perfect sausage — with the clever use of a drill-powered rotisserie using a variable power supply to adjust the speed!

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Vintage Vinyl Laser-Etched on a Tortilla

[UpgradeTech] had a proof-of-concept itch they needed to scratch: making a playable record out of a tortilla using a laser cutter. The idea was spawned from the goofy “tortilla vinyl” YouTube video.

Uncooked flour tortillas were used. Corn tortillas were too lumpy while cooked tortillas shredded on the record player. To get the recording onto the tortilla, Audacity was used to modify a stereo WAV file. Using the RIAA equalization standard is a great choice here as it was originally adopted to prevent excess wear and tear on record grooves as the needle passed through. A Python script generated the files for the laser cutter, creating a text file with the sound data which was then processed into a vector PDF of the grooves. For each record it takes 30 minutes for the laser cutter to turn a simple flour tortilla into the musical variety.

Each tortilla can play 30-40 seconds of music at 45 or 78 RPM, but they start to warp once they dry out. Time to build a humidor around the record player! There is background noise that can make certain songs harder to hear, but there is unarguably audible music. There is plenty of room for optimizing the sound file, grooves, and cutting. We hope this project inspires others to make their own musical tortilla. Playing with your food has taken on a whole new meaning!

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