Introducing the world's first Pancake Printer! We are a group of high school students working on a project that can print pancakes out in shapes drawn by users on a touchscreen. The Pancake Printer started as an idea at lunch in the fall of 2013, and we began working on the project in late 2013. In December of 2014, we finished a fully functioning prototype that was revealed and displayed at a breakfast for our classmates put on by the school's PA. Our classmates were able to draw their pancakes on a touchscreen laptop, and when they pressed Print, the drawing was sent through a program we developed using the Python programming language through a serial port and into the machine's 'brain', which is written in the Spin language. The project in its current state (as shown in the 1st picture and the video) is fully capable of moving with decent precision and drawing the shapes sent to it. (The video shows a testing session where the printer printed "hi" in cursive using an expo marker taped to the nozzle rather than real pancake batter. Unfortunately we didn't get any videos of the printer working at the breakfast with real pancake batter.) The problem we now face is making the printer more precise. Right now it is constructed using wood and screws, and this hurts its ability to place the pancake batter onto the griddle beneath with the precision we need. Our plan is to use the funds we earn through Kickstarter to submit the 3D model we are designing (shown in the 2nd picture) for 3D printing so we can construct the final version with the exact dimensions and precision we need to print some pretty awesome pancake designs. We hope you'll support our endeavors! Visit www.thepancakeprinter.tk to see the official website.
Risks and challenges
We encountered many challenges with this project. First of all was our funding, and we had a budget of around $20 for motors and chips, leaving just enough for wood from Lowe's to build a sturdy yet imprecise and poorly balanced structure. Our next challenge was learning the Spin language. We knew Python from last year in a Computer Science class, but Spin proved much more difficult and outdated, leaving little reference material to help us program the machine's 'brain'. We also had to do a lot of conversion between an imaginary unit system designed for the printer and the steps each motor moves per unit of time. Overall, our biggest challenge was, surprisingly, getting the Python program to communicate with the Spin program. We had months of trouble with our serial port and transferring data between the programs, and this consumed most of our time. The challenge we now face is funding to move to the final stage and get the printer 3D printed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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