With this build, [Andrew]’s goal was to have a portable oven that didn’t sacrifice on performance. Commercial offerings were easy to lug around, but tend to cool down too much after cooking a pie, leading to lengthy waits for the oven to return to temperature. Not content to wait, [Andrew] specified his build with two custom tube burners to heat the floor, with separate jet burners to heat the cavity. When two jets proved too much, he refined the design to just one to improve efficiency and reduce carbon build up.
The Instructable is a great read, covering both the design of the oven as well as the necessary techniques to cook high-quality Neapolitan pizzas in minutes flat – right down to the selection of flour and proper insertion techniques to avoid sticking. The home pizza enthusiast could learn a lot here, and it’s great to see [Andrew] continue to improve on his earlier designs. Video after the break.
Pizza varies all around the world, with several cities having put their own mark on the Italian dish. To make an authentic pie in the Neapolitan style requires extremely high temperatures in order to cook the pizza through in just a couple of minutes. Armed with a beer keg and some ingenuity, [AndrewW1977] got down to work, building a rig that could get the job done.
The build starts by cutting the keg in half. A series of zigzag steel pieces are welded inside, in order to give the refractory cement more surface area to stick to. With the cement poured and set, a handle was welded to the keg for ease of use, as well as a thermometer to monitor internal temperatures.
Initial attempts to cook using the rig used a wood-fired rocket stove design. This had the drawback of taking up to 45 minutes to reach the appropriate temperature, so the build then switched to using God’s Gas, clean burning propane, as a fuel source. With a jet-style burner installed in the base, the oven was ready to start turning out pizzas.
See, this is what happens when pizza lovers follow their dreams. It probably started innocently enough for [phammy57]—he got a pizza stone, then maybe one of those big rocking pizza cutters. Maybe he even learned how to toss the dough high in the air. But every time [phammy57] slid one of those homemade pies into the electric oven, the nagging feeling grew a little stronger. Eventually, he gave in to making pizza the way it’s supposed to be made, and built a wood-fired oven.
The most intriguing thing about this build is also the most important: this pizza preparer pivots on a gym ball, which served as the base for forming the oven. To do this, [phammy57] pushed the ball halfway through a hole in a big piece of plywood, effectively creating the world’s largest Pogo Bal (remember those?). Then he applied plastic wrap to the ball as a mold release, and laid down a thick mixture of vermiculite, cement, and water.
[phammy57] built the base from lightweight blocks, sculpting a nice arch for the top of the wood storage area. Once the dome was fastened to the base with the opening cut and outlined with brick, he cut a vent hole and built the chimney. Finally, it was time to add insulating blanket material, chicken wire, more vermiculite, and coat of plaster to finish. Take a brief look inside after the break.
It’s a long process of building, curing, and burning in, but the end result looks fantastic. We bet it pizzas like a champ, too. Probably gives this 45-second pizza oven a run for its money.
[Ed Note: If you’re still having trouble parsing the title, try it out with “build” as a noun and “exercises” as a verb.]
Perhaps your taste for pizza has never taken you beyond your local fast-food chain or a frozen pizza from the supermarket, but there are some people for whom only the most authentic will do. A wood-fired clay oven and nothing less is their pre-requisite, and lesser methods of pizza preparation simply aren’t good enough.
[Jan] is one of these pizza perfectionists, and his wood-fired oven is an interesting one because it eschews the traditional dome for a cylinder. His very detailed write-up gives us an interesting insight into its construction. He’s taken the bottom half of an oil drum as his base, and built and fired the clay oven itself around a wooden former. We see his early attempts at a former which distorted under the weight of clay, and we hear about how the clay required reinforcement with chicken wire and straw. Finally, we see the structure being dried out, before an impressive display when firing for the first time. The oven receives a coat of Rockwool insulation but [Jan] has a way to go to learn the oven’s characteristics. Still, this is an oven that will last to refine the perfect morsel given a bit of time.
We like the cylindrical design as an alternative to domed ovens, which can be a bit tricky to build. An oven may be a bit low-tech compared to some of Hackaday’s usual fare, but they can be no less difficult to get right. We’re no stranger to novel flame-based cookery, perhaps you might like to also take a look at this rocket grill.
In the future, nobody will have to cook for themselves: the robots will take care of it all for us. And fast! At least if folks like [Avidan Ross] have their way. He gave a talk on his 45-second pizza robot, and other DIY food automations, at the 2016 Hackaday SuperConference, and you’re invited to pretend that you were there by watching this video.
Why would you want to build machines to build food? It’s a serious challenge, and there’s always going to be room to improve and new frontiers to cross. There’s immediate feedback: [Avidan] gets to taste and tweak in a quick feedback cycle. And finally, everybody eats, so it’s not hard to find “test subjects” for his work.
Crystal radios are old news, but great fun. What would happen if a PhD designed a crystal set? By PhD we mean Pizza Hut Deliveryperson and [John Greenlee] (who may not actually be a PhD of either kind; we don’t know) gives us a good idea with his crystal radio in a pizza box.
Pizza boxes aren’t the only food-related material in this radio. [John] makes a tuning capacitor out of cake rounds. Coincidentally, he decorates the tuning capacitor to look like a pizza.
The schematic itself is unremarkable–just a common crystal set. But the construction of the chassis and the capacitor make it an interesting project. If you know a young person that has any interest in radio, a crystal receiver is a rite of passage you shouldn’t deny them and this one is certainly a novelty. The picture of a pizza takes it even one step further than this YouTube build, which is nonetheless a good resource.
The instructions are well done, although some of the parts may be slightly hard to find. Germanium diodes and high-Z earphones are not as plentiful as they used to be, although you can still find them if you look.
Don’t heat up your house this summer, build your own backyard pizza oven instead. We love to using our garden produce, homemade dough, and fresh farmer’s market mozzarella to whip up a tasty pie in the summer. But it can be tricky to cook it on the grill and we hate heating up the oven when it’s hot out. This could be a perfect solution.
The footprint of the oven used to be a flower bed in [Furiousbal’s] yard. He removed the soil and side walls, laid down a bed of pea gravel, then started building the brick base for the oven. The base is insulated by encasing beer bottles in a bed of clay which he harvested locally. Fire brick then makes the floor of the cooking area as well as the arched opening. To support the clay during construction he built a dome of wet sand and covered it with damp newspaper. The clay is built up in layers before removing the sand from the inside. The final step (not shown above) is to build a little shelter to ensure the elements don’t wash away your hard work.