Toast Printer Prints Tasty Images And Weather Forecasts

Electrical Engineering degrees usually focus on teaching you useful things, like how to make electronic devices that actually work and that won’t kill you. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have some fun on the way. Which is what Cornell students [Michael Xiao] and [Katie Bradford] decided to do with T.O.A.S.T: The Original Artistic Solution for Toast. In case the name didn’t give it away, this is a toast printer. The user supplies an image and a bit of bread, and the T.O.A.S.T prints the image onto the toast. Alternatively, the printer can show you the weather by printing a forecast onto your daily bread.

[Xiao] and [Bradford] programmed a Raspberry Pi W to handle most of the heavy lifting, converting the image or the weather forecast into a 10 by 10 matrix, which is then sent to the PIC32. This drives two motors that move a heat gun. To turn a 1 in this matrix into a toasted spot, the motors pause over one spot of the bread, creating a nice toasty spot. The whole thing is mounted onto a laser-cut frame, with a 3D printed holder for the heat gun. There is, unfortunately, no butter or jam dispenser, but if you were to combine this with the Toast-Bot, you might get the finished product. That might be a postgraduate level build, though.




32 thoughts on “Toast Printer Prints Tasty Images And Weather Forecasts

    1. It works fantastic. I have some great results with engraving at a lower power level. However, if you’re doing it in the same laser cutter that you use for all your acrylic, it won’t taste great.

    2. I did have the idea some time ago of using a laser (and a laser scanner assembly) to ‘laser print’ an image on toast. Connect it to a camera and/or a Wifi/Bluetooth to get an image (ex: a selfie) to print. However, I have yet to be able to attempt the project.

    3. I tried laser cutting Brioche, and it really tastes aweful.
      The reason is that you literally burn to evaporation you Brioche (bread/ food/ whatever).
      And even if the burnt area is small (the cut side of your food), the fumes impregnate the item and makes the whole thing uneatable.

      As for this project, doing it with laser cutter is, well, a strange choice.
      I mean, look at their pignon/ rack system!
      Plus, putting hot air close to your plastic structure is neither good for the structure, nor for your food.
      The worst being that the toast will be cold when done and probably not enjoyable to eat.

  1. My stereotypical biased opinion is bad: my first thought was ‘great clickbait, has all it needs; bread and printer in the title and a picture of a pretty lady with some measurement devices’.

    Can’t decide now, is it a good article or ‘just another xyz’ because I’m unsure about my perception.

    1. well I watched some of the other videos on Bruce Land’s channel and must point out: whenever the group had someone female in it, the projects were more interesting and/or creative. Which is good. More women in tech please.

    1. I saw those stencil-toasters as promotional giveaways.
      They are around for quite some time.
      You see them in catalogues for giveaway-items with printed on logos like lighters, baseball-caps and coffee mugs. They cost less than $20 iirc.

    2. the sanrio Hello Kitty (image) toaster came out in 1999. it toasts all of the bread except the kitty face logo. that was/is just a stencil-based product, whereas your link is to a project and nicer.

  2. I hope they continue to work on it, instead of “dot matrix”, it needs scan lines and it needs to toast the whole slice, not just where it puts the image. I don’t see a robotic mechanism to flip the slice either.

    1. Years ago (maybe 10 or more?), I saw a Food Network program about the kitchen of the future. It showed a Pop Tart with nutritional information being laser etched onto the back.

      In my memory, the laser was moved in a raster scan pattern. I think MIT was involved, but I can’t find evidence online with a quick search.

    1. I can understand the attraction to the idea of using laser cutters for this, but look at the simple math: a 40-watt laser cutter can only put out 40 Watts of power, and if you scan it fast enough that it doesn’t char the bread, it’s only going to toast the outermost millimeter or so. A heat gun of the size shown here is going to be somewhere in the 400-1200 Watt range, and it will actually TOAST the bread.

      1. The point (shouldn’t be) to have the laser toast the bread, because it can only go so deep as you note. The laser is just to place the image. Thus, the normal hot air method used by current toasters should be employed, thus the toast still comes out hot.

    1. The point (shouldn’t be) to have the laser toast the bread, because it can only go so deep. The laser is just to place the image. Thus, the normal hot air method used by current toasters should be employed, thus the toast still comes out hot.

  3. I always wanted the hello kitty toaster, This is even neater, but it got me to thinking I wonder if I can make toast in my laser cutter? I don’t see why not. If it will engrave in oak, it should be able to mark bread.

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