[Ben Krasnow] Did It All For The (Perfect) Cookie

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[Ben Krasnow] is on a mission. He’s looking for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. To aid him in this noble endeavor, he’s created the cookie perfection machine. From cleaning with plasma, to a DIY CT scanner, to ruby lasers, to LED contact lenses, [Ben] has to be one of the most prolific and versatile hackers out there today. What better way to relax after a hard day of hacking than to enjoy a glass of milk and a perfect chocolate chip cookie?

This is actually an update to the machine we first saw back in 2012. [Ben] has loaded his machine up with ingredients, and has everything under computer control. The machine will now dispense the exact amount of ingredients specified by the computer, measured by a scale. Everything happens one cookie at a time. The only downside is that the machine doesn’t have a mixer yet. [Ben] has to mix a single cookie’s worth of dough for every data point. His experiments have returned some surprising results. Too little flour actually results in a crisper cookie, as the wetter dough spreads out to a thinner layer. [Ben] also found that adding extra brown sugar also doesn’t result in a more chewy cookie. Even though he’s still in the early experimentation phases, [Ben] mentions that since it’s hard to make a bad chocolate cookie, even his failures taste pretty good.

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Bakery automation mixes single cookies

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[Ben Krasnow's] latest project is a delicious one. In the image above he’s showing off the beginnings of his cookie dispenser. No, it’s not another take on a way to eat Oreo cookies. It actually comes much earlier in the production chain. His device is akin to a 3D printer for baked goods in that it will be able to automatically combine raw ingredients to form production runs as small as a single serving of cookie dough.

When we first heard about it we wondered why you would want to bake just one cookie? But of course that’s not the purpose at all. The machine will allow you to bake a full sheet of cookies, but provides the option of making each one of them with a different recipe. As with all baking, combining ingredients in the proper proportions is paramount. In the post linked at the top he’s working on a butter dispenser. But in an earlier post he hacked an electronic scale to help weigh other ingredients. You can watch both video clips after the break.

Imaging a dozen cookies with slightly different amounts of flour in them. A few test sheets and he should be able to dial in the very best recipes.

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Oreo separators Episode 2 chucks food at your face

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Here’s a portable, well-built Oreo separator that still manages to border on ridiculous. Instead of just ditching the creme filling, it dispenses the cookie and the creme separately. Ostensibly the two creators like different things. One enjoys the cookies while the other only likes the creme. Of this division was born the professional-looking snack divider.

Unlike the hatchet-based system shown off in the first episode this machine has a hopper into which several Oreos may be loaded. The demo cookie is like none we’ve seen before because the top portion is pushed off as if it took no effort at all. The creme is then softened with a stream of hot air before the gooey creme is blasted into the other creators face. Some of it may even have entered his mouth. The final step ejects the remaining chocolate cookie by launching it straight up into the air.

Our favorite part of the video after the break is the “DO NOT ATTEMPT” subtitle that flashes on the screen whenever the apparatus is launching food into the guys’ mouths.

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Oreo-creme hater builds Rube Goldberg CNC router to remove the Stuf

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Look, we understand the need to find a project to occupy your time and interest. So we’re not going to ask the wrong question (why?) for this one. This guy hates the creme that connects the chocolate cookies to make an Oreo. So he built a complicated system to separate the cookies and remove the creme. Check out the video after the break for a hardware overview (where we catch a glimpse of an Arduino RBBB) and a complete demonstration.

Although the project is a marketing gimmick for the company, we really love the fun they had making the video and the device actually works! Drop a cookie in the chute and it will be lifted into position for cleaving with a hatchet (we’re unsure what the string mechanism on the hatchet is for). The two pieces are then grabbed by some servo-powered grippers and transferred to a CNC router bed where a Dremel tool removes the residual creme before dumping the cookies out into your hand.

Once again, marketers should take note of this style of advertising. Notice the two main features achieved here: including a product in something we’re genuinely interested in and not being annoying (we’re looking at you Head-On).

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Cookie projector uses that dusty film camera of yours

This hack is not for photographers with weak hearts. We’re going to be talking about destroying the body of a Single-Lens Reflex camera. But out of destruction comes something new. A broken camera paired with a flash and functional optics can be used to project light patterns for picture backgrounds.

The hardware is often referred to as a cookie projector, and a commercial unit can cost several hundred dollars. But if you or someone you know has a non-functional film SLR you’re already half way to making your own. Just snap off the back cover, yank out the mirror and shutter, and the bloody part is over. Slap on a lens with a large aperture, create your own slide with the pattern you’d like to see in your images, and affix a flash to the gaping hole on the back of the camera body. The video after the break shows the diy cookie projector hanging out on the flash stand, synchronized with your DSLR flash to add some pizzazz to the photo shoot.

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Make your own cookie cutters this year

In case you needed another reason to build, borrow, or buy a 3D printer, here’s one way to design and print your own cookie cutters. [Nikolaus Gradwohl] put together a processing app that aims to make the design process a bit easier. So if you’ve never designed a printable object before, but can get your hands on a MakerBot or similar device through a friend or your local hackerspace, this is for you. Check out the video after the break to see the process of making a cutter in the shape of a mushroom, or just download the app and give it a go.

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