PancakeBot aims to make pancakes for fun and biz impressions

PancakeBot aims to make pancakes for fun and biz impressions
Prototype in action

Don't play with your food. In the 3D printing era, parents may want to modify that traditional admonishment because a creative thinker and maker has devised a way for children to experience creative thinking and the use of modern technology in making pancakes. Miguel Valenzuela, creator of a pancake-making machine, has taken to crowdfunding to push his pancake-maker through. He is offering, after all, a way to not merely make pancakes but to creatively create them.

Kickstarting breakfast with PancakeBot goes like this: You draw your favorite character or image, import it into special software which is included in the system, trace over it, go back and fill it in, and PancakeBot will draw the figure on to the griddle. Apart from family fun, Valenzuela had other uses in mind, for professionals to leave lasting impressions and enhance their brand—whether the user manages a restaurant, party event, amusement park, or small cafe. Once the user has traced the image, the files can be stored on an SD card.

He developed a special vacuum and pressure system which controls the flow of batter. By a combination of compressed air and vacuum, the PancakeBot is in charge of where the batter is dispensed. Onboard control can fine-tune the dispensing as the batter glides over the griddle. "There are many recipes for pancake batter out there. Everything ranging from clumpy pancakes to gluten free," he said. "The main difference is typically batter viscosity." In order to address this, he provided adjustments so that one can change the air pressure in the dispenser to fine-tune batter dispensing. The dispenser is detachable for cleaning.

Batter is not included. The system does include preloaded pancake designs, SD card slot for custom designs, a Pause/Resume function, software compatible for Mac and Windows, and access to video tutorials and downloadable files ready for printing. The approximate print size is16.0" x 8.3" (430mm x 210mm).

Lee Mathews of Geek.com summed up the creation: "It's basically a 3D printer that's been retooled for your kitchen. Instead of feeding PLA or ABS filament into a heated extruder, it has a dispenser that squeezes out pancake batter. Designs are printed on to an integrated griddle—which is a lot like a printer's heated printbed, really." Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch reporter, elaborated on the process: "This version of the PancakeBot will include Mac and Windows software that lets users load designs into the bot, via SD card, after retracing lines in the order they want them printed. The first lines that get laid down by the bot will spend longer on the griddle and thus come up darker in the design."

It appears that he has whetted some appetites, as $70,085 has been pledged out of the $50,000 goal with 30 days still to go at the time of this writing. A pledge of $179 is listed at the time of this writing for the PancakeBot, with estimated delivery in July.

Valenzuela, a civil engineer living in Norway, partnered with New York-based company Storebound to bring a refined version to market this year. (Storebound focuses on product innovation and works with inventors.) The funding will help bring PancakeBot to final stage and complete certifications.

More information: www.kickstarter.com/projects/1 … irst-pancake-printer

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