Tag Archives: PancakeBot

Rewind: 15 mind-blowing machines from 2015

… that are NOT your typical 3D printer.

Although 3D printers have received most of the buzz in recent months, these next-gen machines are doing much more than just spitting out ABS and PLA objects. In fact, you can expect to find one of the following 15 gadgets on your workbench, desktop, kitchen counter or inside your man cave in the not too distant future.


A big hit at this year’s World Maker Faire, the Glowforge is a revolutionary 3D laser printer that uses subtractive technology rather than additive methods. With one press of a button, the device cuts and engraves a variety of materials — including wood, fabric, leather, paper, cardboard, food and acrylic — instead of constructing items layer by layer. During its crowdfunding campaign, the team impressively garnered a record-setting $27M in 30 days.


With X-Carve, Inventables offers several new elements to the 3D carving kit concept which they’ve been associated with over the past few years. This customizable piece of equipment is ideal for the workshop, and can create precision parts from plastic, wood and metal. It comes in two sizes, 500mm and 1000mm rails, which provide a 12″ x 12″ and a 31″ x 31″ work area, respectively.


Zippy Robotics’ Prometheus is a milling machine that rapidly produces prototype PCBs from your desk in minutes, so you no longer have to wait weeks for a delivery truck. It works by carving through the copper layer of a standard copper-clad board (FR-4 or FR-1), as well as drilling holes and routing the shape of the board itself if it needs to fit a specific enclosure. Prometheus boasts an extremely low runout error that cuts traces down to .007 inches in diameter, meaning you can design with pretty much any surface mount component.

Voltera V-One

Born out of their own frustrations with traditional fabrication processes, Voltera has come up with a unique way to reduce development time from months to days. Winner of both TechCrunch’s Hardware Battlefield and the 2015 James Dyson Award, the V-One can print out circuit boards, dispense solder paste and reflow.


Voxel8, in partnership with Autodesk, introduced the world’s first 3D printer for electronics ranging from fully-functional drones to hearing aids. Designers and engineers will now be able to actualize three-dimensional parts with embedded circuitry for the first time.

The PancakeBot

A perfect example of an idea that has gone from the ‘MakerSpace to MarketPlace,’ the PanakeBot is exactly what it sounds like: an automated appliance that can whip up pancakes in virtually any shape you can imagine.


A team of MIT researchers has opened up a new frontier in 3D printing: the ability to build optically transparent glass objects. The G3DP consists of two heated chambers. The upper chamber is a crucible kiln that operates at a temperature of around 1900°F, and funnels the molten material through an alumina-zircon-silica nozzle, while the bottom chamber works to anneal the structures.


There are 3D printers. There are engravers. There are CNC mills. However, BoXZY is different — it’s all three. Hoping to usher in a new age of ‘modular manufacturing,’ this triple-threat mini FabLab empowers Makers to alternate between the tools with quick-change heads. Oh, and did we mention that Justin and Joel Johnson raised more than $1.1M on Kickstarter?


Instead of having to run out to your local package store or brewery, Pico allows you to craft fresh, personalized beer right from home. One notable feature of the coffeemaker-sized appliance is its new PicoPak system, which includes conveniently pre-packaged ingredient combinations.


A finalist in this year’s Hackaday Prize, FarmBot is an open source CNC farming machine capable of weeding, seeding, feeding and watering crops. What’s more, its web-based application lets growers graphically design their farm or garden to meet desired specifications. This makes the process as simple as playing a game of FarmVille.

Ripple Maker

The Ripple Maker leverages 3D printing and inkjet technologies to adorn the top of your morning latte with complex artwork that could take the form of someone’s name, their face, or even a personalized message to the customer behind you. The unit itself is rather small, measuring just 8.5″ by 10.5″, and connects via Wi-Fi to a library of designs. Users have the option to choose from a menu of themes and text to stamp onto the milky foam canvas with natural coffee extract.


Bistrobot wants you to bid farewell to long lines and wrong orders, and say hello to an automated assembly line that can make peanut butter sandwiches on white bread with your choice of honey, blackberry jam, sweet chili, chocolate sauce and Nutella.


What if you could design ready-to-wear garments straight from your desktop? Thanks to Electroloom, you can. The team’s electrospinning process makes it possible for anyone with a small bit of CAD ability to create seamless fabric items on demand.

Circular Knitic

The artist duo of Varvara Guljajeva and Mar Canet has devised an open source, automated circular knitter dubbed Circular Knitic. In true Maker fashion, the idea was brought to life with 3D printing, laser cutting, MakerBeam and Arduino.


Like a Keurig for cocktails, the Bartesian is a capsule-based gadget that enables anyone to expertly fix their favorite alcoholic beverages in a matter of seconds.

Shapeoko 3

The Shapeoko 3 is an affordable, heavy duty, three-axis CNC machine designed to “do real work, out of real materials.”


Geared towards everyone from the DIY community to the industrial-savvy crowd, Evo-One is a sleek desktop CNC mill that can engrave, carve and cut complex shapes with incredible accuracy.

Rewind: 50 gizmos and gadgets that made us say ‘wow’

2015 was quite the year. Here are just some of the awesome devices with mainstream appeal that caught our eye over the last 12 months. 


The first social robot that connects, protects and interacts with each member of your family.


If you give this automated machine $2, it will craft a peanut butter sandwich on white bread with your choice of honey, blackberry jam, sweet chili or chocolate sauce.


Finally, there’s an open source ergonomic keyboard that gives your overworked pinkies a break and puts your thumbs to work.

Voltera V-One

Tired of delays and unnecessary expenses? Then you’ll love this laptop-sized printer that can turn design files into prototype circuit boards in minutes.


Design, print and eat your own pancakes.

PicoBrew Pico

Why head out to the package store when you can brew your own fresh, personalized craft beer right at home?

Forever 21 Thread Screen

The team of BREAKFAST and Forever 21 developed a massive, one-ton machine that turns your Instagram photos into thread artwork.


From hip-hop to dubstep, this wearable kit lets you play music right from your body using 100+ sounds and 300+ music applications.


While it may look like a 3D printer, this PCB milling machine enables you to prototype circuit boards right from your desk.

Tech Tats

Chaotic Moon Studios have devised a cutting-edge tattoo kit, which allows for the monitoring of your own body activity.

Layered Fabric 3D Printer

Who needs a toy store when you can 3D print your own soft and deformable stuffed animals from layers of off-the-shelf fabric?


Sand castles are so 2014. This turtlish autonomous robot can create large scale art on the beach.

OpenROV Trident

Whereas most drones are made for the sky, this remote-controlled, camera-equipped ROV is meant for underwater exploration.

Reality Editor

What if reprogramming your devices was as simple as drawing lines between them? Thanks to MIT’s Fluid Interfaces Group, it may soon be.


Sorry selfie sticks, your days are numbered. This palm-sized drone features GPS auto-following and a high-res camera.

BeON Home

There are smart lights, then there are out-smart lights. This system will make having a safer, smarter home as simple as screwing in a bulb.

PowerUp FPV

Your old-school paper airplane just got a whole heck of a lot cooler with a live-streaming camera.


A revolutionary pen that turns the world around you into a notepad.

The Things Network

Make your city smart with this global, crowdsourced and decentralized IoT network.

Ripple Maker

A 3D printing-inspired device that can etch art on the foam of your coffee.


Grow my gosh! This 2015 Hackaday Prize entry is the world’s first open source CNC farming machine.

Alpha 2

Could this humanoid robot become the newest addition to your family?


By tapping into the human sensor, this intelligent technology can significantly improve decision-making for anyone’s health and well-being.


Replace your keys with your smartphone in just seconds.


Like OnStar for seniors, this all-in-one, voice-controlled wearable will help keep the elderly independent, active and safe.


The most adaptable shoes you’ll ever own, customized straight from your smartphone.


A wireless button that can control your favorite smart functions.


A $9 computer. ‘nuff said.

DrinkMate Mini

Have you had a couple of drinks? Don’t worry, this tiny iPhone breathalyzer has got your BAC!


Love nugget ice? Hate buying bags? This affordable gadget is for you.


This high-precision, Arduino-based desktop robotic arm can do pretty much anything.


BYOD: Build your own device! Piece together your own phone and give inanimate objects the power of cellular communication.


Based on the Arduino and Raspberry Pi, this open source A.I. system plays media, controls lights and more.

Spinn Coffee

This appliance can whip up anything from drip coffee to espresso, depending on how fast the brewer spins.


Who needs weather apps when you can recreate the forecast from right inside your living room?


A complete personal fabrication system crammed into a single, sleek robotic arm for your desk.

Fibonacci Clock

Think reading an analog clock is tough? Tell time using glowing lights and the Fibonacci sequence.


Design and create seamless, ready-to-wear garments based on custom 3D geometries.


Could this soccer ball-shaped drone be the safest flying bot to date?


A drone that can fly and swim.


Sharp unveiled a new smartphone in the form of an adorable robot.

Dancing Paper

Bet you’ve never seen a bunch of origami bust a move.


A portable guitar that teaches you to play and lets you jam on the go.


This modular case for your smartphone gives you the ability to add and remove physical modules whenever necessary.


A new breed of instruments that can drop the beat at home, in the studio or live on stage.


What if you could play a handpan like an electronic musical instrument?


The world’s first olfactory alarm clock wakes you up with your favorite scents instead of sound.


This smart lamp learns your habits, syncs to your body clock and keeps you healthy through natural lighting patterns.

CMYK 4.0

If you’re looking to make your commute from home to the office a bit more efficient, then this foldable electric bike may be for you.


The world’s first artificially intelligent companion bot, designed to engage and grow with you.


This shape-changing soft robot can be a phone, a wristwatch, a keyboard, a lamp and more.

Cord UIs

Imagine if you could control your gadgetry using cords and cables.


There’s finally an automated smart trashcan that not only opens with a wave of a hand but vacuums up dust and restocks itself.


These smart socks will pause your binge-watching session when you fall asleep.


Goodbye, shaky hands! Transform your smartphone into a 3D scanner.


Rewind: Atmel @ World Maker Faire 2015

Maker Faire New York, Maker Faire New York — a show (and tell) so good we had to say it twice.

Ah, Maker Faire. The only place that can you find everything from a 30-foot-tall, flame-throwing robot and a life-sized game of Mousetrap to a pancake printing machine and a floating head choir that sings when you press their keys.

Over the weekend of September 26th and 27th, tinkerers, modders and hackers of all ages flocked a jam-packed Atmel booth housed inside the always popular Maker Pavilion. There, we showcased a number of gizmos and gadgets that have successfully made its way “From the MakerSpace to the MarketPlace.” Meaning, this particular batch of startups have demonstrated what it takes to bring an idea from mere prototype to full-blown product, many by way of crowdfunding. Among those on display included the Kickstarter sensation and wrist-friendly Keyboardio, the credit-card sized gaming system Arduboy, 14-year-old Quin Etnyre and his Qduino Mini, former Pixar engineer Erin Thompson’s Modulo boards, Microduino’s super LEGO-like modules, and Zippy Robotics’ soon-to-launch Prometheus PCB milling machine. Oh, and who could forget big names like Bosch, Arduino and the one-and-only Massimo Banzi, too?

When it came to projects driven by our mighty AVR and Atmel | SMART MCUs, it didn’t stop at our booth either. In fact, countless others throughout the fairegrounds proudly showed off their embedded creations, with some of them even paying a special visit to our tent like PancakeBot, Zymbit, Dr.Duino and eight-year-old CEO Omkar Govil-Nair with his Arduino-based O Watch, to name just a few. On top of all that, several Atmel team members — Bob Martin, Henrik Flodell, Sander Arts and Artie Beavis — took the World Maker Faire stage to talk prototyping, Arduino, debugging, STEM and how to take your product mainstream.

So with another incredible event in the books, let’s take one last look back before flipping the page to Rome!































11 projects we saw and loved at MakerCon

Here’s a look at some of the impressive projects from MakerCon 2015.

Maker Week is well underway and safe to say that MakerCon kicked things off with a bang. There, we had the chance to engage in several lively discussions, listen to industry thought-leaders and visionaries, as well as receive hands-on demonstrations from some of today’s rising startups. As we walked through the historic Palace of Fine Arts during the two-day event, we couldn’t help but note the collection of innovative gizmos and gadgets on display at MakerCon Showcase — which is essentially a mini Maker Faire in itself. From a pancake printer to a smart aquaponics system, the showcase had it all. Here’s a handful of the impressive projects we had a chance to get up close and personal with… (For the rest of you, we’ll be sure to catch up with you at Maker Faire!)



Currently live on Kickstarter, Modulo was founded by former Pixar engineer Erin Tomson as a way to take the hassle out of building electronics. The set includes a series of tiny chips, each equipped with its own little processor (ATtiny841) responsible for the operation and communication with a controller board (ATmega32U4). These modules easily slide right into a Modulo Base that securely holds them in place and electrically links the devices without the usual tangle of wires.



As its name would suggest, PancakeBot allows Makers to print out flapjacks into just about any design one can imagine. Not only developed to inspire, entertain and bring out the creativity at home, the machine has some serious commercial appeal for brands wanting to make a lasting impression. The ATmega2560 based breakfast bot uses a proprietary system to extrude the ingredients as it glides over the griddle, while the combination of compressed air, a special vacuum and an on-board interface helps control batter flow.



Santa Barbara startup Zymbit debuted the first three products within its evolving Internet of Things suite: the Zymbit Orange edge device, the Zymbit Iris interactive display and Zymbit Connect software. The platform is being billed as the first pre-configured hardware and software solution that is a finished, secure, out-of-the-box-ready product for seriously creative Makers and developers looking to get their connected prototypes off their desk and into the market in days, not months.

Flutter Wireless


Born out of his own frustration of wirelessly connecting two Arduino boards, Taylor Alexander went on to invent Flutter Wireless, which not only gained enormous popularity among the DIY crowd but garnered over $150,000 on Kickstarter back in 2013. The $36 wireless Arduino with a half-mile range lets users develop mesh networking protocols and smart devices in an efficient yet inexpensive manner. It’s perfect for robotics, consumer electronics, wireless sensor networks, and educational platforms. Flutter is packed with a powerful Atmel | SMART SAM3S Cortex-M3 processor, while an ATSHA204 crypto engine keeps it protected from digital intruders.



The brainchild of Shenzhen startup EVOL, uArm is a desktop 4-axis parallel-mechanism arm, modeled after the ABB industrial PalletPack robot. The project is comprised of laser cut acrylic or wood parts, powered by standard RC hobby servos and controlled by an ATmega328 embedded custom board.

Kijani Grows


Kijani Grows produces and installs smart aquaponics gardens for homes, schools and corporate settings. The latest version of its garden kit is driven by a Linux/Arduino controller board (Atheros AR9331 and ATmega2560) that enables the system to remotely detect and respond to physical environments.



Makers Jesse Vincent and Kaia Dekker are looking to revolutionize the traditional QWERTY layout with their butterfly-shaped keyboard that places a greater emphasis on the thumb, lessens the stress on your pinkies, and offers a more natural position for the hand and wrist — something that may prove to be a lifesaver for those suffering from carpal tunnel or arthritis. Keyboardio puts keys such as control, alt, delete, shift and a new ‘function’ button under the typists’ palms, all within easy reach of the thumbs. What’s more, the gadget is Bluetooth-enabled permitting users to switch between devices and carry it from one meeting to the next.



Jason Huggins built a robotic contraption capable of mimicking the human touch as way to test and automate new software applications on mobile devices. Programmed with Node.js, Johnny-Five and Arduino, Tapster is entirely open-source and can be configured specifically to a user’s liking.

Future Make Technology


While many of today’s 3D printing products rely on a feed of ABS/PLA plastic that is heated and extruded through a hot nozzle, the Future Make crew seeking to change that with the launch of their 3D pen Polyes Q1. Unlike other devices on the market, photo-polymer ink is spit out of a cool nozzle and immediately solidified when exposed to blue LED light. What this means is no more nasty smells or burns!



Gigabot, re:3D’s flagship technology, gives Makers the ability to 3D print industrial strength, extremely large objects at an affordable price point. With a build envelope of 24” x 24” x 24” and a robust aluminum frame, the machine can construct objects up to 30 times larger than competing desktop models.



In an effort to revolutionize the boombox, one South Carolina startup has digitally fabricated an open-source, Arduino-compatible Bluetooth speaker kit for Makers.

16 smart crowdfunding campaigns you may want to back this week

Every Friday, we’re taking a look at some of the smartest, most innovative projects that have caught our attention on Kickstarter and Indiegogo over the last seven days. 



This wireless, re-stickable camera can turn any surface into a photo booth. Podo is currently seeking $50,000 on Kickstarter.



This solution simply snaps over a standard switch, pairs with a mobile device and automates your lights in seconds. Switchmate is currently seeking $50,000 on Indiegogo.

The Monolith


The first and only skateboard to be outfitted with motors in the wheels is also embedded with Bluetooth Low Energy. Inboard Action Sports is currently seeking $100,000 on Kickstarter.



This pair of devices allows users to tailor their teleworking needs in both a flexible and secure manner through zero-configuration hardware VPN. LowoTec is currently seeking €120,000 on Indiegogo.



The world’s first smartwatch for kids not only teaches life lessons, it keeps them safe. Ambit Networks is currently seeking $50,000 on Indiegogo.



This smart can connects to your smartphone to help monitor your flowers and let you know when it’s time to water them. Freiya is currently seeking $48,000 on Kickstarter.



This first-of-its-kind machine lets users design and print out custom pancakes. PancakeBot is currently seeking $50,000 on Kickstarter.



This device enables runners to accurately measure power levels across any type of terrain using the sports watches and mobile devices they already wear. Stryd is currently seeking $50,000 on Kickstarter.



This keyboard that lets you learn, play and create music using LED lights and gestures. Opho is currently seeking $50,000 on Indiegogo.



This touch-sensive digital fretboard can be played like a guitar, piano, violin, drum machine and lots of other instruments. Artiphon is currently seeking $75,000 on Kickstarter.

iSensor HD Patio


This weather-resistant, remote-controlled outdoor camera you monitor the outside of your home from anywhere in the world. Amaryllo is currently seeking $1,000 on Indiegogo.



This tiny device brings Bluetooth functionality and high-resolution audio to any speaker. Plugzee is currently seeking $10,000 on Indiegogo.

Splash Drone


This waterproof UAV features a live video feed, payload release mechanism, emergency flare system and camera stabilization gimbal. Splash Drone is currently seeking $17,500 on Kickstarter.



This wearable device attaches to your upper calf and stimulates your brain’s natural opiates to relieve chronic pain. Quell is currently seeking $100,000 on Indiegogo.

Baby Check


This wearable monitor can track a baby’s temperature, body position, sleep and medicine administration using a companion mobile app. DK Tek Innovations is currently seeking $35,000 on Kickstarter.



This integrated system will make your bike “unstealable,” along with soon-to-be added Bluetooth connectivity that’ll give you the ability control its lock from your smartphone. Yerka is currently seeking $50,000 on Indiegogo.

Did you happen to miss last week’s notable campaigns? If so, you can check them out here.

Print out breakfast with the newest version of PancakeBot

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, Maker’s man. Print me a pancake as fast as you can. 

The very first version of the open source PancakeBot was designed way back in 2010 by Miguel Valenzuela. At the time, Valenzuela was inspired by a MAKE: Magazine feature on a British designer who devised a Pancake Stamping Machine using LEGO. Since then, the machine has become a Maker sensation, claiming the hearts and stomachs of everyone.


The original bot was simply a CNC machine for a kitchen table, comprised of LEGO bricks, Mindstorms and a pair of ketchup bottles for the batter. As you can imagine with any automated device whipping up tasty treats, the initial video of Valenzuela’s PancakeBot 1.0 went viral, which encouraged the Maker to continue tinkering with the design.

The next iteration of the platform – which debuted at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014 – consisted of an acrylic body packed with Adafruit motor shields, an Arduino Mega (ATmega1280), two stepper motors, a pair of belt drives and a vacuum pump. The improved PancakeBot could be programmed to draw out any flapjack design, ranging from an Eiffel Tower to a portrait of the U.S. President. The printer simply squirted batter onto a hotplate so that, once the pancakes are done extruding, they’re ready to eat.


Though wildly-popular among Makers, earlier models were never made available for sale. However, the PancakeBot team has now partnered with StoreBound to bring the robotic contraption to market via Kickstarter.

How it works is pretty straightforward: Simply think of a design and trace the image. The artwork files are stored on an SD card and loaded onto the machine. Upon hitting print, the PancakeBot begins to dispense the flapjack by drawing its outline first, followed by filling in the rest. Those not artistically-gifted can take comfort in knowing that the device also comes preprogrammed with a number of pictures.

The ATmega2560 based breakfast bot uses a proprietary system to extrude the ingredients as it glides over the griddle, while the combination of compressed air, a special vacuum and an onboard interface helps control batter flow.


“Our included user-friendly software allows you to design your own pancake by tracing any image right on your computer. From your favorite piece of art or character, a child’s drawing, a product image or your company or team logo, the software creates the file and the PancakeBot does the rest. As the artist, you control what lines are drawn first, which in turn lets you determine the shading of the pancake.

Not only for in-home fun, Valenzuela notes that hotels, theme parks, restaurants and other dining establishments can benefit tremendously from PancakeBot as well. Through some creatively-branded breakfast food, businesses can leave a lasting impression on customers, while satisfying their appetites along the way. Who knows? Perhaps Disney will one day complement its Mickey waffles with some Goofy pancakes…

Interested in an on-demand pancake printer for your home? Hurry over to its official Kickstarter page, where PancakeBot is currently seeking $50,000. Delivery is expected to begin in July 2015. Need some syrup? Well, if previous Maker Faires serve as any indication, a corresponding automated maple syrup dispenser may not be too far away! Want to see what kind of impressive designs Makers have made for breakfast? Find an entire breakdown here!

Print out your own breakfast this National Pancake Day!

Breakfast in bed? How about an elaborately designed breakfast instead?

Tuesday, March 3 is the 10th anniversary of National Pancake Day and to celebrate, IHOP restaurants across the country are giving away free short stacks of their renowned buttermilk pancakes.


Like they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So, shouldn’t you start it off right? Why have a boring bowl of cereal or an Eggo waffle when you could have customized pancakes that would impress the likes of the Yoda, Stan Lee or even President Obama himself? Norway-based breakfast food enthusiast and Maker Miguel Valenzuela has done just that using his open-source PancakeBot.

As previously featured on Bits & Pieces, the latest iteration of the machine is comprised of an acrylic body packed with Adafruit motor shields, an Arduino Mega (ATmega1280), two stepper motors, a pair of belt drives and a vacuum pump. The improved PancakeBot could be programmed to whip up any elaborate design, whether that’s a rocket ship, a Spider Man mask, the Maker Faire robot, or a self-portrait. The printer simply squirts batter onto a hotplate so that, once the pancakes are done extruding, they’re ready to eat.


“PancakeBot is meant to inspire kids to get into technology and learn about programming, and also learn about food manufacturing. That way they have something to eat, right after it’s done. It’s an instant gratification robot,” Valenzuela adds.

Now, the Maker has developed a new version of the printer and has partnered with StoreBound to bring PancakeBot to kitchens throughout the world via Kickstarter. In the meantime, to commemorate the special occasion, we’ve decided to compile some of our favorite 3D-printed flapjacks below.



Boba Fett’s Helmet




NASA Astronaut


NASA Orion Spaceship




President Obama


George Washington


Makey Robot






Eiffel Tower


Penrose Triangle




Breakfast Cowboy

pancake gallop



Scream Mask




Video: PancakeBot prints out out Star Wars flapjacks

The force awakens you for breakfast with some 3D-printed pancakes.

As they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So, shouldn’t you start it off right? Why have a boring bowl of cereal or an Eggo waffle when you could have customized pancakes that would impress the likes of Yoda? Norway-based breakfast food enthusiast and Maker Miguel Valenzuela has now paid homage to two of the most iconic Star Wars characters, Boba Fett and R2-D2, using his incredibly-popular PancakeBot.


As previously featured on Bits & Pieces, the latest iteration of the machine is comprised of an acrylic body packed with Adafruit motor shields, an Arduino Mega (ATmega1280), two stepper motors, a pair of belt drives and a vacuum pump. The improved PancakeBot could be programmed to draw out any flapjack design, whether that’s a rocket ship, a Spider Man mask, the Maker Faire robot, or a portrait of President Obama. The printer simply squirts batter onto a hotplate so that, once the pancakes are done extruding, they’re ready to eat.

Now, Valenzuela has developed a new version of the printer and has partnered with StoreBound to bring PancakeBot to kitchens throughout the world via Kickstarter. Stay tuned for the upcoming campaign! In the meantime, watch some fantastic flapjack magic below.

15 3D printers that will change how you make food

Hungry? Why wait? You may soon be able to print food on-demand right from your kitchen. 

Actually having to cook your meals is about to become so last year. Food may soon find its way onto your plate and into your mouth in a number of ways that never have to boil in a pot, sear in a pan, or bake in the oven. In fact, the emergence of 3D printing may one day allow these desktop machines as ubiquitous as that microwave you have sitting on your counter.

Who recalls during Back to the Future when Marty McFly’s mother pops a four-inch pizza into a hydrator that, in just a matter of seconds, came out the full size of a conventional pizza. And while such a Black & Decker machine, or a Star Trek-like replicator for that matter, have yet to go mainstream, the dream of printing your own on-demand food is inching its way closer, thanks to companies like XYZprinting, Natural Machines and 3D Systems.


More recently, innovators around the world have been exploring various ways to use 3D printers — many of which powered by AVR and Atmel | SMART microcontrollers — in order to craft edible items. Though these efforts have mostly produced chocolate, sugar, pasta and pizza, one day researchers hope that the technology may even lend a helping hand in nutrition and long-term sustainability. Take for instance, easy-to-chew meals for senior citizens who have trouble consuming anything other than things in puree form. New developments in printed food will enable the elderly in retirement and assisted living communities to enjoy tasty melt-in-your-mouth food from fresh ingredients using a 3D printer. Furthermore, these devices will be able to provide customized diet to individuals, giving them the exact dosages of nutrients. Not to mention, scientists hope that 3D-printed fare may revolutionize space travel as well, especially for long duration missions.

These sort of gadgets don’t stray too far from regular 3D printers either. Instead of extruding plastic filaments, these next-gen systems will emit edible ingredients. At the moment, however, a vast majority of these gadgets are only designed to take care of the tedious and time-consuming parts of meal preparation, not so much a “just press the button and magically appear” sort of thing we can all hope for… yet. Future models, though, will likely be able to complete the process so that the extruded items are ready to eat.

“I don’t see this as a novelty. I see it as something that really will become a part of the culinary fabric for years to come,” Liz von Hasseln of 3D Systems summed it up best in a recent interview with the Washington Post. “I think the way that happens really powerfully is when it impacts kind of the cultural ritual of eating which is actually a really powerful part of being a person in the world.”

Here are some of the machines leading the way…

Natural Machines’ Foodini


Designed for both home and professional kitchens, Foodini comes with empty food capsules. Users simply prepare and place fresh, real ingredients inside, which are then dispensed from the machine. Other than being capable of creating complex designs, such as very detailed cake decorations or uniquely-shaped gourmet items, the Foodini can be useful for recipes that require precision and mastery, like homemade pizza or filled pasta. The printer takes on the daunting parts of making meals, therefore streamlining some of cooking’s more repetitive activities.

3D Systems’ ChefJet


The ChefJet is an entirely new, kitchen-ready category of 3D printers for food. The first two printers in the series, with expected availability in the second half of the year, are the monochrome, countertop ChefJet 3D printer and the full-color, larger format ChefJet Pro 3D printer. These machines were designed with the professional baker, pastry chef, mixologist and restaurateur in mind, enabling the creation of custom edible geometries for every cake, cocktail and dinner celebration. The printer can also create 3D candies in a variety of flavors such as mint, sour cherry, and vanilla, as well as sugar objects that resemble expensive china.



Designed by four undergraduate students from the Imperial College in London, F3D (pronounced “fed”) is the latest food printing research project that has set out to revolutionize the way we prepare our food. Unlike some of the more commercial-ready devices on this list, the Makers modified existing RepRap 3D printing technology to create a food printer capable of 3D printing and cooking a complete dish. F3D proved its potential by 3D printing an entire pizza – dough, sauce, cheese and all – in under 20 minutes. Beat that Domino’s! Though still in its prototype phase, this student-made project is impressive, nonetheless.

XYZprinting’s Food Printer


The latest machine from XYZprinting allows users to create various 3D shapes out their food. The company says it has worked with a food specialist, and devised a proprietary recipe that can be used in single or triple material versions. The machine is equipped with a touch display that lets home chefs select a pre-set design for the shape of their edible item. Those who rather import their own designs may do so online or via a USB drive. Even more, the printer can output one cookable object at a time, before going ahead and making an entire batch.

NASA-Funded Food Printer


Back in 2013, NASA funded a 3D food printer project by Austin, Texas-based Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC), in an effort to one day offer astronauts some freshly cooked food up in space. Using an open-source RepRap 3D printer, the team of Makers replaced its existing ink cartridges with printable ingredients comprised of powdered bases mixed with oil and water. These were then printed with modified extruder nozzles, while a heated plate as its bed cooked the food as it is printed. Impressively, it only took about 12 minutes to put together the dough, sauce and cheese.

Choc Edge’s Choc Creator


With aspirations of “creating chocolate in style,” the UK-based Choc Edge team has been a notable pioneer in the industry. In fact, the company released the world’s first commercially available chocolate printer back in 2012. At the time, the machine was capable of printing both two- and three-dimensional cocoa creations. Now, it has returned to the chocolatier scene with a new model. This printer boasts an easy-to-use syringe head that allows users to easily install and remove units, as well as refill the syringe with fresh chocolate within 10 minutes. The latest version also boasts a new automatic temperature control system, ensuring optimal flow in the printing process along with a closed compartment to help maintain consistent temperatures.



The very first version of the open-source PancakeBot was designed way back in 2010 by Miguel Valenzuela. At the time, Valenzuela was inspired by a MAKE: Magazine feature on a British Maker who devised a Pancake Stamping Machine using LEGO. Since then, the machine has become a Maker sensation, claiming the hearts and stomachs of everyone — including President Obama himself. The original bot was simply a CNC for a kitchen table, comprised of LEGO Mindstorms, LEGO bricks and a pair of ketchup bottles for the batter. As you can imagine with any automated device whipping up tasty treats, the initial video of Valenzuela’s PancakeBot 1.0 went viral, which encouraged the Maker to continue tinkering with the design. The next iteration of the platform – which debuted at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014 – consisted of an acrylic body packed with Adafruit motor shields, an Arduino Mega (ATmega1280), two stepper motors, a pair of belt drives and a vacuum pump. The improved PancakeBot could be programmed to draw out any flapjack design, ranging from an Eiffel Tower to a self-portrait. The printer simply squirts batter onto a hotplate so that, once the pancakes are done extruding, they’re ready to eat. While earlier models are not available for sale, the PancakeBot team has partnered with StoreBound to bring the robotic contraption to market.

Hershey’s CocoJet


During CES 2015, 3D Systems revealed its latest chocolate printer, the CocoJet, in collaboration with Hershey. The device, which was particularly aimed at candy makers and bakers, dispenses delicious liquid chocolate just as any other 3D printer would extrude filament. Users can choose between dark, milk or white chocolate and between pre-programmed designs or confections of their own creative devising.

Biozoon’s Smoothfood Printer


One German company has produced a 3D printer capable of printing out dozens of different meals, all made of a gelatin base, for senior citizens and others who have difficulties chewing food. Fortunately, this food will literally melt in a person’s mouth. With funding from the EU, the project uses 48 nozzles, liquified food and a gelling agent to recreate the shape and taste of something that would otherwise be difficult to swallow, ranging from chicken to broccoli to lamb. The project, called PERFORMANCE, is intended to give elderly people better access to appealing and nutritious food. Since its inception, Biozoon’s devices have been adopted in over 1,000 care homes throughout the country.

Dovetailed’s Fruit Printer


Unlike a number of other projects on this list that focus around sweets, Dovetailed revealed a new approach to 3D-printed food last spring: fruit. Using spherification technology, the Cambridge-based firm combined strawberry flavoring with a sodium rich gel to deposit little balls into a cold calcium chloride solution to create something that resembled the likeness of a raspberry. The device is programmed to print blackberries and was in the process of working on apples and pears as well.

Open Electronics’ 3Drag


As we experienced (and tasted) first-hand back at World Maker Faire 2014, the 3Drag has officially made three-dimensional chocolate shapes a reality. Modified with a real pastry bag for precision bakery work or a heated syringe, 3Drag is suitable for plotting lettering and lines using any type of chocolate like milk, white and dark. All this, with the advantage to design the object or the pastry directly in computer graphic. Based on an ATmega2560, the device is fitted a special extruder (which replaces the one typically used for extruding plastic materials) with a very common 60 ml syringe. A NEMA17 stepper motor drives its piston and a heater to maintain the chocolate contained in the syringe at its appropriate temperature.

Structur3D’s Discov3ry Extruder


Structur3D launched a 3D printer add-on, which could create a paste from all sorts of materials such as plastic, silicone, wood filler, and even Nutella. In fact, at last year’s Maker Faire Bay Area, the startup demonstrated how it could print the Maker Faire logo with the delicious hazelnut spread.

Barilla’s 3D Pasta Printer


One of, if the top, pasta seller in the world is in the process of developing a 3D pasta printer for restaurants. The machine would be able to print 15 to 20 pieces every two minutes, getting a pasta dish to a patron in a matter of minutes. It would also allow for custom-designed pasta shapes, ranging from roses to moons.

Cornell Creative Machine Lab’s Food Printer


One of the earliest on the scene back in 2011, Cornell Creative Machines Lab developed 3D printer that could generate tiny space shuttle-shaped scallop nuggets as well as cakes or cookies that, when cut into, reveal a special message — whether a wedding proposal, someone’s initials or even a logo for a corporate event. Additionally, the CCML team could make a solid hamburger patty, with liquid layers of ketchup and mustard, or a hamburger substitute that’s made from vegan or raw foods.

Zmorph’s Cake and Chocolate Extruder


The ZMorph Personal Fabricator embodies a modular makeup, which enables a user to easily detach and swap out a number of extruders. The various toolheads let Makers to print with everything from pastry to chocolate to marmalade. What’s more, the add-ons can fabricate signs on cakes or their own food design in a matter of minutes.

Mondelez International’s Oreo Printer


And who could forget 3D-printed Oreos? At SXSW 2014, Mondelez International had 3D-printed custom Oreo cookies based on what was trending on Twitter with the hashtag #eatthetweet. Attendees could choose from 12 flavors, ranging from banana to mint to lime, and then select either a chocolate or vanilla base for the cookie. The cookie would then be printed in a couple of minutes.

Selfie toast, anyone?

Let’s face it, the act of taking photos of oneself has never been as ubiquitous as it is today. From mirrors to drones, you’ve probably thought you had seen just about everything when it comes to snapping a quick selfie. Think again.

No strangers to image-burning toasters, Vermont Novelty Toaster Corporation has debuted what they call ’selfie toast.’ Designed using custom toasters that slightly burn a person’s face onto a piece of bread, the news has spread faster than butter on toast. The company starts by transforming the customer’s high resolution photo into a metal plate with the help of Photoshop and a CNC plasma cutter. The plate is then fitted into a special toaster for the final toasting effect.


CEO Galen Dively had always dreamt of making truly customized designs, including one that would send one’s etched face to the breakfast table. Until recently, it was an impractical dream.

So, just how does one go about getting his or her own piece of selfie toast? Mashable breaks down the process:

1. Start by uploading a digital photo onto the Vermont Toaster site.


2. The edited photo goes to CAD, which figures out what cut lines the CNC plasma machine needs to make.


3. The information is then sent to the CNC machine which uses a combination of compressed air and electricity to create high-heat plasma and blaze its way through metal.


4. Vermont Novelty then polishes all the rough edges off the plate with a hand sander.

5. The finished plates are put in custom-designed toasters that feature special rails to support each plate. The toaster makes two slices and each slice gets one selfie face.


Not in the mood for toast? You can always print your pancake with the open-source PancakeBot, which makes elaborate pancake designs, including portraits (like that of President Barack Obama at the White House Maker Faire). The latest iteration of the platform – which debuted at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014 – comprises an acrylic body packed with Adafruit motor shields, an Arduino Mega (ATmega1280 MCU), two stepper motors, a pair of belt drives and a vacuum pump.