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Pancake Maker -Box Of Junk Contest

Documentation of how Make Labs made Pancake Maker, their entry to the Ithacka Box Of Junk contest.

Pancake Maker -Box Of Junk Contest

When we opened our box of junk from American Science & Surplus, we decided that it was properly named. It was a box of junk!

The ideas we had of using the junk included some sort of musical instrument and a waffle maker. Having not eaten anything, we all decided to try to make an automatic waffle machine. That quickly evolved into a pancake machine since we didn’t have any tools to machine our own grills.

This project is a documentary of our making of the Pancake Maker but not a step-by-step guide. Although we don’t have all the steps to making your own pancake machine, hopefully, this will give a general idea of what to do and not do.

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Steps

Step #1: Our box

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Here are all the parts that came in our box of junk (as listed in the materials list above).

Step #2:

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  • Here's our first idea of what the pancake machine should have.
  • We originally wanted to make a conveyor system but realized that it was too much work for little reward. We quickly switched to the chain drive as you see now.
  • Our original motor was a lot less powerful.

Step #3: Making the frame

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  • Nick clamps the aluminum angle and square together.
  • He drills and tap the aluminum to screw them together.

Step #4:

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Screwed together to make the frame.

Step #5:

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Mostly finished frame.

Step #6: Making the funnel for the mixer

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We used our laser cutter a lot for this project. Here we have an acrylic funnel made by stacking expanding rings of acrylic.

Step #7: Gluing the pieces together

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  • Here's Brian!
  • It looks like he's building in the dark but that's just the flash from the camera.

Step #8: The mixer

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  • Brian glued the funnel onto a PVC tube. It can hold the mix and water now.
  • On the top we made a lid and attached a motor to it. The parts were laser cut again.

Step #9: The valve on the mixer

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  • The valve is made by an acrylic sheet with a hole on one end. It's attached to a solenoid that's anchored to the platform for holding the mixer.
  • When the solenoid is disengaged, the sheet covers the hole of the funnel, preventing the mix from escaping.
  • When the solenoid is activated, it pulls the sheet in and its hole lines up with the hole of the funnel, allowing the mix to pour out.

Step #10:

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Pancake Maker -Box Of Junk Contest

The hooks make great mixers!

Step #11: Here's Nick!

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  • Drawing a part in Inventor.
  • He's cutting the hole for the mixer platform.

Step #12: Caption contest?

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Pancake Maker -Box Of Junk Contest

Step #13: Heating elements

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  • The heating elements were made by zigzagging 18 gauge nichrome wire across ceramic tiles. The wire is connected in series.
  • The bottom plate got so hot that it cracked.

Step #14: Chain driven

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  • We used a Banebots motor and sprockets from a copy machine to move the tray back and forth.
  • We just happened to have a #25 chain hanging out in the lab so we used it!

Step #15:

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  • We attached the chain to the tray using master links.
  • Since we didn't have any keys nor the time to make them for securing the sprockets, we discovered that screwing a screw into the slot of the sprocket forms a very secure lock onto the shaft.

Step #16: View from the tray

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  • This is probably the view if you were a pancake in our machine.
  • We used the suction hooks to hold down the mixer.
  • Bearings allow the tray to slide freely across the frame.

Step #17:

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Pancake Maker -Box Of Junk Contest

The wooden rings make good wire holders.

Step #18:

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  • We used a Variac (a variable transformer) to power our heating elements.
  • It required about 100V AC to get the heating elements hot enough.

Step #19: 1, 2, skip a few- oh we're done!

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Pancake Maker -Box Of Junk Contest

Watch our demo video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmn6G6nG7... and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ9bXk04o...


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