Project Pyra demonstrates the convergence of 3D printing and the Internet of Things.
Pyra is the world’s first 3D-printed smart oven. The brainchild of FATHOM, the convection oven combines the versatility of fused deposition modeling with advanced cloud-based intelligence, ultimately defining the convergence of both direct digital manufacturing and the Internet of Things. Or, as 3DPrintingIndustry.com puts it, “a cross between a tiny ancient Egyptian tomb and an Easy Bake oven.”
As you can see from its 45-degree, self-supporting sides, Pyra is not like your typical oven — it has no flames, no buttons and no switches. Instead, it utilizes forced air convection to evenly heat what lies inside the cooking enclosure. Through an intricate system of air ducts and 3D-printed fans for heat circulation, this ingeniously-shaped machine is able to achieve uniform temperatures up to 375° F inside its entirely plastic chamber.
“From cell incubation to roasting marshmallows and everything in between, the need to heat objects exists across all industries, making the Pyra a transformative device that can serve as anything from a tool in a science laboratory to a grill at your next barbecue. Using professional-grade 3D printers like the FDM-based system from Stratasys at FATHOM used in Project Pyra, this innovative thermal chamber gives a glimpse into the future of how products will look and function.”
As you can imagine, there were a few challenges along the way with regards to heat flow, the geometry of the design, and of course, finding materials that could stand up to extremely high temperatures without melting. This is where Stratasys’ ULTEM 1010 resin came in handy, which not only is durable enough but has a NSF 51 food-contact certification.
Impressively, the team was successfully able to slow cook a dry-rubbed cut of beef — and it looks delicious! While it may be fun to employ Pyra for some BBQ ribs or s’mores, FATHOM points out that the thermal chamber is intended more so for cell culture incubation and a number of other applications, such as lab experiments and thermoforming packages.
According to its creators, the plan is to make the thermal chamber open source so that anyone can download, customize and 3D print their own models. This will enable Makers to adjust the scale, change the pattern texture (to make grill marks or to hold cupcakes), as well as revise the design for outdoor cooking.
Pyra’s physical makeup isn’t the only customizable element; in fact, its accompanying mobile app can be personalized as well to do things other than just control the temperature and heat time. In terms of hardware, the project is based on the combination of a Raspberry Pi and Arduino board, packs a 12-bit digital temperature sensor and features Wi-Fi compatibility to connect to the cloud.
“The Pyra is just one item that benefits from extensive physical and digital customization. In a larger sense, the device serves as a glimpse into the future of how products will be designed, manufactured, and used on both consumer and commercial levels. FATHOM is elated to be a part of this future by making the unmakeable and sharing innovative applications at the forefront of the manufacturing industry.”
Intrigued? Head over to the project’s official page, or watch its team explain more in the video below.