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.
Step #1: Our boxNext
- Here are all the parts that came in our box of junk (as listed in the materials list above).
Step #2: Next
- 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 frameNext
- Nick clamps the aluminum angle and square together.
- He drills and tap the aluminum to screw them together.
Step #4: Next
- Screwed together to make the frame.
Step #6: Making the funnel for the mixerNext
- 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 togetherNext
- Here's Brian!
- It looks like he's building in the dark but that's just the flash from the camera.
Step #8: The mixerNext
- 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 mixerNext
- 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: Next
- The hooks make great mixers!
Step #11: Here's Nick!Next
- Drawing a part in Inventor.
- He's cutting the hole for the mixer platform.
Step #12: Caption contest?Next
Step #13: Heating elementsNext
- 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 drivenNext
- 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: Next
- 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 trayNext
- 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: Next
- The wooden rings make good wire holders.
Step #18: Next
- 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!
- Watch our demo video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmn6G6nG7... and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZ9bXk04o...