We have a weakness for automated pancake machines here at Hackaday, but in terms of complete pancake machines rather than CNC batter printers we’re surprised to see more from the rest of the world than we do from the USA. Perhaps this has something to do with differences in opinion on what constitutes a pancake, whether the moniker should be applied to a large and thin disk of cooked batter, or to a smaller, thicker, and fluffier variety. For Europeans only the former will do, while for Americans anything but the latter is simply crêpe. To restore American honour in the world of automated pancakes then, a team of students from Kennesaw State University in Georgia, USA, have built a pancake vending machine for fluffy American-style pancakes as part of their coursework.
Sadly for the team the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to their lab work and stopped them making a fully functional vending machine, but the important part of robotic pancake making is something they’ve completely nailed. In the video below the break we see them testing various batter mixes before developing their mixer and batter delivery system, and finally a robotic flipper that cooks the pancakes on a griddle and delivers them to a plate. It also has the unexpected benefit of stacking pancakes.
We’re sure that without the pandemic they would have made a fully-functional vending machine for lucky Georgia students to sate their appetites upon. Meanwhile for pancake-crazy readers, here are complete pancake making machines from South Africa, and from France.
Continue reading “Automated Pancake Making For Devotees Of Fluffy Pancakes” →
Some ideas are real head-scratchers from a design standpoint: Why in the world would you do it that way? For many of us, answering that question often requires a teardown, which is what [Ben Katz] did when this PCB motor-powered weed whacker came across his bench. The results are instructive on what it takes to succeed in the marketplace, or in this case, how to fail.
The unit in question comes from an outfit called CORE Outdoor Power. The line trimmer was powered by a big lithium-ion battery pack, but [Ben] concentrated on the unique motor for his teardown. After a problematic entry into the very sturdy case at the far end of the trimmer’s shaft, he found what looks like a souped-up version of [Carl Bugeja]’s PCB brushless motors. The rotors, each with eight large magnets embedded, are sandwiched on either side of a very thick four-layer PCB with intricately etched heavy copper traces. The PCB forms the stator, with four flat coils. The designer pulled a neat trick with the Hall-effect sensors needed for feedback; rather than go with surface-mount sensors, which would add to the thickness of the board, they used through-hole packages soldered to surface pads, with the body of the sensor nestled in a hole in the board. The whole design is very innovative, but sadly, [Ben]’s analysis shows that it has poor performance for its size and weight.
Google around a bit and you’ll see that CORE was purchased some years back by MTD, a big player in the internal combustion engine outdoor power market. They don’t appear to be a going concern anymore, and it looks as though [Ben] has discovered why.
[Jozef] tipped us off to this one. Thanks!
You can store arbitrary data encoded in binary as a pattern of zeros and ones. What you do to get those zeros and ones is up to you. If you’re in a particularly strange mood, you could even store them as strips of chocolate on Swedish pancakes.
Oddly enough, the possibility of the pancake as digital storage medium was what originally prompted [Michael Kohn] to undertake his similar 2013 project where he encoded his name on a paper wheel. Perhaps wisely, he prototyped on a simpler medium. With that perfected, four years later, it was time to step up to Modified Swedish Pancake Technology (MSPT).
Highlights of the build include trying to optimize the brightness difference between chocolate and pancake. Reducing the amount of sugar in the recipe helps increase contrast by reducing caramelization, naturally. And cotton balls placed under the spinning cardboard platform can help stabilize the spinning breakfast / storage product.
Even so, [Michael] reports that it took multiple tries to get the sixteen bytes (bites?) of success in the video below. The data is stenciled onto the pancake and to our eye is quite distinct. Improvement seems to be more of an issue with better edge detection for the reflectance sensor.
Continue reading “Pancake-ROM: Eat-only Memory?” →
In case you didn’t know it, pancake art is a thing. People are turning out incredible edible artwork using squeeze bottles and pancake batter. But even if you’re not terribly artistic, you can still amaze your breakfast buddies with this robotic pancake printer.
At its simplest – and in our opinion its most impressive – pancake art involves making patterns with thin batter on a hot griddle. The longer the batter is cooked, the darker it becomes, and art happens. To capitalize on this, [Trent], [Kevin], [Sunny] and [Isaac] built a 2-axis gantry with a working area the size of an electric griddle. A bottle is pressurized with a small air pump and controlled by a solenoid valve to serve as a batter extruder, and an Arduino controls everything. Custom pancake design software lets you plan your next masterpiece before committing it to batter.
Sadly, the video below shows us that the team didn’t include an automatic flipper for the pancake, but no matter – that’ll make a great feature for the next version. Maybe something like this?
Continue reading “Edible Art From A Robot Pancake Printer” →
With a name like that how could we possibly pass up featuring this one? Truly a hack, this pancake making robot was built in under 24 hours. [Carter Hurd], [Ryan Niemo], and [David Frank] won the 2015 Ohio State University Makethon with the project.
The gantry runs on drawer sliders using belts from a RepRap. The motors themselves are DC with encoders. [Carter] tells us that since most 3D Printers are build on stepper motors this meant they had to scratch-build the control software but luckily were able to reuse PID software for the rest. Get this, the pump driving the pancake batter was pulled from a Keurig and a servo motor is used to kink the tubing, halting the flow. We are amused by the use of a Sriracha bottle as the nozzle.
It wasn’t just the printer being hacked together. The team also built an iPhone app that lets you draw your desired pattern and push it to the machine via WiFi.
Inspired yet? We are! If you’re anywhere near New York City you need to bring this kind of game to our Hackathon on May 2-3. One night, lots of fun, lots of food, and plenty of hardware. What can you accomplish?
Continue reading “Robottermilk Pancakes” →
[Petar and Sylvain] are teaching this robot to flip pancakes. It starts with some kinesthetic learning; a human operator moves the robot arm to flip a pancake while the robot records the motion. Next, motion tracking is used so that the robot can improve during its learning process. It eventually gets the hang of it, as you can see after the break, but we wonder how this will work with real batter. This is a simulated pancake so the weight and amount at of force necessary to unstick it from the pan is always the same. Still, we loved the robotic pizza maker and if they get this to work it’ll earn a special place in our hearts.
Continue reading “Flipping Pancakes” →