Project image
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AU$ 587
pledged of AU$ 85,000pledged of AU$ 85,000 goal
6
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, September 18 2015 3:52 AM UTC +00:00
AU$ 587
pledged of AU$ 85,000pledged of AU$ 85,000 goal
6
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, September 18 2015 3:52 AM UTC +00:00

About

Introducing the Dough Cannon

The Dough Cannon is a small, plastic bodied pump that is driven by two computer controlled motors and mounts on a 3D printer positioning system that we can supply. It has two internal rotors similar to an industrial lobe pump, which is widely used in the food industry to pump pastes and slurries, including bread dough, pasta and molten chocolate. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobe_pump  

The Dough Cannon is a computer controlled food extruder capable of pumping thick pastes, like custard, jams, pizza toppings and, of course, dough. It is small enough to mount on a 3D printer and with our interface electronics it is controlled by regular 3D printer software.

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Just about anything you can imagine can be 3D printed. Imagine baking at tray of intricate cookies, or cakes printed with the Dough Cannon. You could print an edible Eiffel Tower, or a whole pizza, or pasta - all customised you your specific requirements.  

The video above shows the current capabilities of the Dough Cannon.  We are still working on its development and this project will help us to decide what to do next.

Computer animation showing Dough Cannon lobes
Computer animation showing Dough Cannon lobes

Decision time for the Dough Cannon  

We have built three working prototypes and are really close to having the Dough Cannon operate just the way we want it to.  We are still working on the connection between model 3 and the 3D printer, and still need a week or so before everything is finalised, 

Now we should talk to you, the group of people out there who might also want to print food.

We would like to create a community of food printers, and backers can actually help with the development of the Dough Cannon by donating a recipe or geometric shape for printed food. The development team can then test that the Dough Cannon works properly and if you back the project we can make a Dough Cannon for you.  We will also publish the recipe and geometry collection as an on-line resource for the whole food printing community. 

We have years of engineering experience and have no doubts we will have a fully functioning Dough Cannon 3D printer very soon.  If this project gets backing then your Dough Cannon will be mass produced in food safe, smooth plastic.  It will then operate even better than our 3D printed prototype!

So what do you think, "Do you need a Dough Cannon?"  

Please become a backer to let us know if you are at least interested in 3D printing food.  

Interested in 3D printing food?
Interested in 3D printing food?
Extruding cookie dough
Extruding cookie dough
Our first 3D printed cookie.
Our first 3D printed cookie.

How has the Dough Cannon developed?

I got the idea for the Dough Cannon when we were making éclairs with choux pastry, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89clair. The dough is quite thick and our piping bag was quite small. As an experienced engineer and foodie, I thought it would be cool to design an electric pump so we could continuously feed dough - kind of like those cans of whipped cream.  It did not take too long before the first prototype Dough Cannon was printed with our 3D printer.

Assembled Dough Cannon mark 1
Assembled Dough Cannon mark 1

It was really satisfying seeing the Dough Cannon mark 1 come together.  The front and back panels are actually identical, and I made the inlet section quite long so you could not poke your finger into the moving lobes.  I designed it to be easy to clean and re-assemble. I have also made it 3D printable.

Inside the Dough Cannon mark 1
Inside the Dough Cannon mark 1

I designed the Dough Canon to be powered by two stepper motors, based on our experience with extruders on 3D printers and my experience a range of industrial slurry pumps. Our first prototype control circuit worked well with one motor, but did not drive both motors reliably,  

First prototype control circuit
First prototype control circuit

The design team were very enthusiastic about the Dough Cannon and thought it would be amazing to mount it on the positioning system of a 3D printer. While the controller was being re-designed I gave the matter some thought and did a couple of things: 

Firstly I identified a commercially available 3D printer that we could easily modify, and secondly designed and built a prototype of a mini Dough Cannon. Dough Cannon mark 2 has both motors mounted on the same side so it is easier to attach to the 3D printer. I selected to modify a 3D printer with a cartesian cantilever positioning system because I think it will be easier to keep clean than a Reprap Mendel style 3D printer. The prototype circuit board for the revised controller worked very well with the new Dough Cannon.

Dough Cannon mark 2 mounted on the 3D printer
Dough Cannon mark 2 mounted on the 3D printer

Dough Cannon mark 2 was designed to deliver dough rapidly through a standard sized piping bag coupler.  This means that the standard range of cake decorating nozzles will fit directly onto the Dough Canon. This provides a versatile system because small diameter nozzles could be used to pipe icing onto cakes or apply sauces to plates or pizzas, in a similar way to the commercially available syringe-based food printers.  The Dough Cannon could also use larger diameter nozzles to more quickly extrude dough to form real food shapes, such as donuts, pizza bases, pretzels and, of course, éclairs.  

Dough Cannon mark 2 with prototype controller.  Note the sleek red rotor and standard piping coupler and nozzle.
Dough Cannon mark 2 with prototype controller. Note the sleek red rotor and standard piping coupler and nozzle.

Despite our design and dry testing, the stepper motors slipped when actually pumping dough.  We have just received our new geared motors which are about 10 times more powerful and should not slip. Here is a video of the Dough Cannon mark 2 trying very hard to feed choux pastry:

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What next for the Dough Cannon?

Now that we have done some thorough testing of the current Dough Cannon it is time to decide what to do next, and that really depends on you.  The purpose of this Kickstarter project is to find out if any of you want to help us create this new thing and build a community around this creative project. 

Our dream is to pump really thick dough quickly, so you can rapidly 3D print really interesting things, like an edible Eiffel Tower.  Since this project went live we have assembled and tested the Dough Cannon mark 3.   

Lobe size comparison:  mark 1 (left), mark2 (centre) and mark 3 (right).
Lobe size comparison: mark 1 (left), mark2 (centre) and mark 3 (right).
Dough Cannon mark 3 has stronger motors and is easier to feed.
Dough Cannon mark 3 has stronger motors and is easier to feed.
Model 3 Dough Cannon
Model 3 Dough Cannon
Dual geared motors on model 3
Dual geared motors on model 3


Have you ever thought about 3D printing food? Would you or anyone you know like to become a backer and make a pledge to support this project?

Inside the model 3 Dough Cannon
Inside the model 3 Dough Cannon
New lobes handling very firm dough
New lobes handling very firm dough

Why order during this Kickstarter project?

  • Primarily we want to know if the world wants a Dough Cannon. We need to identify a community that wants to 3D print food, and then introduce them to the Dough Cannon. (If you have read this far then there is a good chance you are part of this community.  Welcome!)

  • If you choose to back us then we can mass produce the Dough Cannon for you in smooth, food safe material. We have set our funding goal so that we can build molds to injection mold the Dough Cannon, which means it would have fewer components than the 3D printed version.  For example we could incorporate the fine piping coupler thread in the actual body of the Dough Cannon. A wider range of options would also be available for attaching the Dough Cannon to the 3D printer positioning system if the body is injection molded.
  • You will be able to help us develop the Dough Cannon design. Our backers are invited to submit their dough recipes and food geometries for testing. We will do our best to make sure the Dough Cannon can handle your requirement, and your inputs will be compiled and made available on-line for the whole community.

What we have learned from this project

The purpose of this Kickstarter project has always been to find out if any of you want to help us create this new thing and build a community around this creative project.

This project has allowed us to make some fantastic contacts and we hope to stay in touch as new thing is created.

Our dream is still to pump really thick dough quickly, so you can rapidly 3D print really interesting things, like an edible Eiffel Tower.

The mark 3 Dough Cannon has proven to be quite capable, but will be further developed to allow up to continuously pump really thick dough and we will be concentrating on integrating the feeder with the 3D positioning system.

Thank your everyone for supporting the project  so far.  We now know that the world wants a Dough Cannon 3D printer.

Our next campaign will be a little different to this one, where we asked for your input in the development of the Dough Cannon.  Next time we will show you all the great things that Dough Cannon can do!  

For our backers

Pledge $15

  • Support us by joining our food printing community. You have the option of receiving our email newsletter to keep you informed on the Dough Cannon developments.

Pledge $45

  • Support the food printing community by contributing recipes to our shared on-line recipe book, which we will establish if we meet our funding goal.  We may also use your recipe to test in the Dough Cannon during its development.

Pledge $45

  • Support the food printing community by contributing geometry files to our shared on-line food geometry manual, which we will establish if we meet our funding goal. We may also use your geometry to test the Dough Cannon 3D printer during its development.

Pledge $215

  • Order a complete set of injection molded Dough Cannon components.  This is a limited opportunity for the first 100 Early Bird backers to support the project.  This price does not include freight or local taxes, which you will have to pay additionally.  We will keep you informed on the Dough Cannon development and provide you with various freight options for delivery.

Pledge $250

  • Order a complete set of injection molded Dough Cannon components. This price does not include freight or local taxes, which you will have to pay additionally. We will keep you informed on the Dough Cannon development and provide you with various freight options for delivery.

Pledge $300

  • Order a complete Dough Cannon kit, including a set of injection molded components, motors, controller and hardware. This is a limited opportunity for the first 100 Early Bird backers to support the project. This price does not include freight or local taxes, which you will have to pay additionally. We will keep you informed on the Dough Cannon development and provide you with various freight options for delivery.

Pledge $350

  • Order a complete Dough Cannon kit, including a set of injection molded components, motors, controller and hardware. This price does not include freight or local taxes, which you will have to pay additionally. We will keep you informed on the Dough Cannon development and provide you with various freight options for delivery.

Pledge $750

  • Order a complete Dough Cannon kit and 3D printer positioning system kit. This is a limited opportunity for the first 100 Early Bird backers to support the project. This price does not include freight or local taxes, which you will have to pay additionally. We will keep you informed on the Dough Cannon development and provide you with various freight options for delivery.

Pledge $800

  • Order a complete Dough Cannon kit and 3D printer positioning system kit. This price does not include freight or local taxes, which you will have to pay additionally. We will keep you informed on the Dough Cannon development and provide you with various freight options for delivery.

Pledge $1000

  • Order a complete, fully assembled Dough Cannon 3D printer. This price does not include freight or local taxes, which you will have to pay additionally. We will keep you informed on the Dough Cannon development and provide you with various freight options for delivery.

Pledge $1200

  • Order a complete, fully assembled Dough Cannon 3D printer and we will provide you with a 90 minute training session at our office. This price does not include freight or local taxes, which you will have to pay additionally. We will keep you informed on the Dough Cannon development and provide you with various freight options for delivery.  We are also happy to deliver the Dough Cannon 3D printer to you and provide on-site training if you pay our travel costs.


Project Time Line

19/8/2015 - Launch Kickstarter project.

9/18/2015 - Fully funded Kickstarter project.  (We are allowed to dream out loud, in technicolor!!)

10/31/2015 - Establish Backer-only mailing list for all backers. ($15 Pledge reward)

12/31/2015 - Last submission date for food printing community recipe book.  ($45 Pledge so we can test the recipe in the Dough Cannon.)

1/31/2016 - Last submission date for food printing community food geometry manual. ($45 Pledge so we can test the geometry in the Dough Cannon 3D printer.)

2/29/2016 - Finalize Dough Cannon design. (It is time to pass the design over to the tool makers. Just one year since the idea!! Need to send out special newsletter to community.)

6/15/2016 - Finalize delivery instructions. (By now all freight & tax payments received.)

6/29/2016 - Community Recipe Book available on-line. (So the community food manual has recipe for the dough and a range of shapes to print it in. Awesome!!)

6/30/2016 - Deliver Early Bird Cast Components and Early Bird Complete Kits.  ($215 Pledge for cast components,  $300 Pledge for kit,)

7/31/2016 - Deliver remaining Cast Components and Complete Kits. ($250 Pledge for cast components, $350 Pledge for kit.)

6/30/2016 - Deliver Early Bird Complete Kits and 3D Printer Positioning systems. ($750 Pledge.)

7/31/2016 - Deliver remaining Complete Kits and 3D Printer Positioning systems. ($800 Pledge.)

7/31/2016 - Deliver assembled Dough Cannon 3D Printers. ($1000 Pledge.)

7/31/2016 - Deliver assembled Dough Cannon 3D Printers and Training. ($1200 Pledge.)

Risks and challenges

The challenge at the moment with the Dough Cannon is ensuring it will reliably deliver the dough recipe you want. Model 3 with the new motors is being assembled right now and things look very promising, but it could be a risk to say that it can handle any dough.

This project asks the potential food printing community for the recipes they want to print. We intend to test that the Dough Cannon can handle these recipes. We have used our engineering design skills to balance the inventory of dough inside the Dough Cannon with the weight of the motors so that we will be able to mount the system on a 3D printer.

The control circuitry for our new motors is looking very good and interfaces with the 3D printer electronics. After the project is successfully funded we will reduce the size of the circuit board to fit neatly inside the motor cover.

We have well developed plans to attach the Dough Cannon to the commercial 3D printer. Attachment has been very straight forward and discussion are underway with the enthusiastic commercial 3D printer manufacturer.

When we are happy with performance we will discuss the design with mold making specialists, then send it off to the tool makers for fabrication, ready for injection molding. We know engineering specialists and have identified tool makers and injection molders who have provided indicative quotes to cost the project.

We will also be getting the circuit boards made up for the controller, and have identified suppliers who can do the work.

We will need to finalize the material of construction, but there is a good range to choose from and we do not need to decide yet. It may be possible to offer a choice of colours, and will tell you when we contact you regarding your delivery details and the additional costs for freight and taxes.

We will certainly be keeping you all informed on our progress, and there is a good chance we will be able to deliver ahead of schedule.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 15 or more About $11

    Thanks for supporting us, our vision for 3D printing food and your interest in developing a food printing community!!

    You can also choose to sign up for our backer-only mailing list and stay up-to-date.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 45 or more About $32

    Thanks for your support, specifically by contributing a recipe that we may test with the Dough Cannon and add to the food printing community cook book!!

    Please submit your Dough Cannon related recipe using the survey we email you by the date below so we stay on schedule.

    We intend to acknowledge all backers and suitable recipes will be compiled and published as an on-line resource for the community before we begin shipping the Dough Cannon.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 45 or more About $32

    Thanks for your support, specifically by contributing a design that we may test with the Dough Cannon 3D printer and add to the food printing community cook book!!

    Please submit your Dough Cannon related CAD or STL file using the survey we email you by the date below so we stay on schedule.

    We intend to acknowledge all backers and suitable geometries will be compiled and published as an on-line resource for the community before we begin shipping the Dough Cannon.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 215 or more About $151

    EARLY BIRD CAST COMPONENTS ONLY

    Be the first in the 3D printed food community to receive the cast components for the Dough Cannon.

    We will provide a list of additional components you will need to assemble a complete Dough Cannon.

    When our design is finalized and the production run is complete we will know the size and weight of the final package.

    We will contact you to discuss your additional payment to cover freight to your delivery address and any additional costs, such as local taxes.

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    Pledge AU$ 250 or more About $176

    CAST COMPONENTS ONLY

    We will provide a list of additional components you will need to assemble a complete Dough Cannon.

    We will contact you to discuss your additional payment to cover freight to your delivery address and any additional costs, such as local taxes.

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    Pledge AU$ 300 or more About $211

    EARLY BIRD COMPLETE KIT

    Be the first in the 3D printed food community to receive the Dough Cannon kit.

    We will provide all the components and instructions you will need to assemble a complete Dough Cannon.

    We will contact you to discuss your additional payment to cover freight to your delivery address and any additional costs, such as local taxes.

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    Pledge AU$ 350 or more About $246

    COMPLETE KIT

    We will provide all the components and instructions you will need to assemble a complete Dough Cannon.

    We will contact you to discuss your additional payment to cover freight to your delivery address and any additional costs, such as local taxes.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 750 or more About $527

    EARLY BIRD COMPLETE KIT AND 3D PRINTER POSITIONING SYSTEM KIT

    Be the first in the 3D printed food community to be able to assemble the Dough Cannon kit and 3D printer positioning system kit.

    We will provide all the components and instructions you will need to assemble a complete Dough Cannon mounted on a 3D printer.

    We will contact you to discuss your additional payment to cover freight to your delivery address and any additional costs, such as local taxes.

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    Pledge AU$ 800 or more About $562

    COMPLETE KIT AND 3D PRINTER POSITIONING SYSTEM KIT

    We will provide all the components and instructions you will need to assemble a complete Dough Cannon mounted on a 3D printer.

    We will contact you to discuss your additional payment to cover freight to your delivery address and any additional costs, such as local taxes.

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    Pledge AU$ 1,000 or more About $702

    ASSEMBLED DOUGH CANNON 3D PRINTER

    We will assemble the Dough Cannon 3D printer for you.

    Please note: you will also need to pay additional freight, taxes if you cannot visit us at our office.

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    Pledge AU$ 1,200 or more About $843

    ASSEMBLED DOUGH CANNON 3D PRINTER AND TRAINING

    We will assemble the Dough Cannon 3D printer for you and provide you with a 90 minute training session.

    Please note: you will also need to pay additional freight, taxes and our travelling costs if you cannot visit us at our office.

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Funding period

- (30 days)