The Pancake Bot can seem overwhelming at first glance and you might have a lot of questions. I did at the beginning so I’m here to answer those first questions you might have.
Introducing the Pancake Bot
The Pancake Bot is the worlds first 3D pancake printer designed specifically for breakfast. The machine works by dispensing batter through a bottle that pumps through a tube. It is set on a 2D plane (the griddle) and controls 2 motors allowing movement along the x and y-axis.
Where Do the Designs Come From?
Before you make a pancake a design must first create one on a computer and uploaded to an SD card. Once you upload it to the SD card you insert it into the Pancake Bot and then select the design. Once you select the design the hardware in the Pancake bot draws on the griddle.
Some argue that the Pancake Bot isn’t a 3D printer because it creates 2-D images. Yet, since the pancake has a thickness between 5-10mm we can say that it’s high enough to call it the z-axis.
Assembling the Pancake Bot
The assembly is simple you should have the following items to put together
- Drawing arm
- support leg
- bottle w/ rubber cap
- 2 power cords – 1 for the griddle 1 for the 3D printer
- Start with the frame sitting on a flat surface.
- Set the griddle on top of the frame and line it up with the grooves on the frame.
- Set the drawing arm on top of the frame and use the support leg to hold it upright.
- Plug in the connector coming from the drawing arm to the frame and attach the cover.
- Set the bottle in any of the notches of the drawing arm.
- Put the hose into the hole in the drawing arm and put the other end into the top of the bottle.
- Plug in the cord to both the Pancake Bot and the griddle and plug the other end into an outlet.
Now the Pancake Bot is ready for pancake batter.
Getting the Pancake Painter Software on Your Computer
The first step to making your 3D pancake is to download the pancake painter software here. Download and install the program associated with your operating software on your computer. The file shouldn’t take long to download. Once it’s up and running on your computer you can either create your own design or download a print design from the website. Since creating your own design can be quite difficult I suggest downloading a design for your first pancake.
Installing the application on the Mac can be more difficult than on Windows. (At least in my experience.) There are other options but this is the easiest. After you download the app on the Mac right click on the file in the Finder and click “Show Package Contents”. From there click ‘contents’ > MacOs > Electron .
Opening the ‘Electron’ file should open the Pancake Painter application.
Feel free to mess around with the painter software and make your own pancake design. If you are ready to use the design you downloaded you will not need the software right now.
Insert the SD card into your computer and move the .gcode file from your computer to the SD card. If you are putting many designs on the card be sure to name them sensibly. Be sure to keep the names short (<8 characters) to avoid problems.
Here is where a lot of people run into problems. Once they take the SD card out of the computer they can’t get the Pancake Bot to read their designs on the computer.
The Causes Include:
- Incorrect file format – The SD card must be formatted with the FAT32 file system or else the Pancake Bot won’t read the files.
- SD card with too much memory – SD cards that have 32GB of memory or more cannot format to FAT32, thus, will not work with the Pancake Bot.
- Not formatting correctly – If you do a fast format you may run into problems. Be sure to run a full format for the SD card, this may take longer.
- Outdated Software – Be sure you have the latest software on both your Pancake bot machine and the Pancake Painter.
- Incorrect file – The Pancake bot will ONLY recognize .gcode files. If you clicked the ‘save’ button on the Pancake painter you will get the .psd file. You must click export on the Pancake Painter to get the .gcode file for printing.
- Incorrect FileName – The name of the .gcode file must start with a letter. It cannot start with a number or symbol. It is safest to name is with only letters.
If the files show up after powering on the Pancake Bot you are ready for the next step.
Pancake Mix For The Pancake Bot
There are a lot of questions surrounding the type of pancake mix that is compatible with the pancake bot. You can use any pancake mix as long as the liquid has a certain consistency. The creator of the Pancake Bot has suggested the machine be used for things such as condiments.
Pancake Bot Recommended Recipe:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Pancake Bot Recommended Pancake Mix
The creator of Pancake Bot advocates for Krusteaz pancake mix for store-bought mixes.
“We used Krusteaz at many events and had no issues with it. It will change viscosity over time due to warming from the griddle and the flour absorbing water. But we did 2500 pancakes with Krusteaz at the Bay Area maker fair in 2016.” -Miguel Valenzuela
Be sure to strain the pancake batter after you mix it together. There can be absolutely no lumps in the mix. They will sink to the bottom and clog the bottle almost immediately and leave you frustrated.
- If you are using food coloring set to a lower temperature. If the temperature is too high the sugar will caramelize and the pancakes will brown, affecting the desired color. Cooking slower at a lower temperature will allow the color to pop.
- Be sure to use sugar or stevia in your recipes. If absent, the pancakes will not brown and you will lack contrasting shades in your designs.
- Absolutely no lumps in the batter. If you think that tiny lump in the batter is going to slip through the nozzle it won’t.
- If you’re not satisfied with the contrast in shades of your pancakes. Add a tablespoon of sugar for every cup of dry mix you use. This will help the pancakes brown.
Printing with the Pancake Bot
Once you have the strained pancake batter you are ready to pour it into the bottle. With the rubber cap on the tip of the bottom of the bottle, loosen the top and add the pancake batter. When the batter is up to the fill line you can set the bottle back in the lowest notch of the holder. Now you can attach the top of the bottle with the hose attached to it.
!!!ATTENTION!!! THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT
- Whatever you do, do not tip the bottle in a fashion that will allow the batter to run down through the hose. This allows the batter to run back in through the valves and the pumps. This creates many new problems and potentially making your Pancake Bot useless.
With everything attached and plugged in you may turn the Pancake Bot on. This will pressurize the pump holding the liquid in the bottle in place. Now you may take the rubber cap off of the bottle without losing batter. If there is batter dripping out right now then you have a problem.
- The hose isn’t connected to either the bottle or the drawing arm. This won’t allow the pump to hold the liquid.
- The machine isn’t powered on. There is a light indicating that the machine is on and pressurized, keep an eye on this.
- The pump or valves are plugged or defective. This happened to me. I bought a cheaper PancakeBot used and it didn’t work out of the box. After disassembling it I found that batter had gotten back to one of the valves and hardened. This means valves don’t like they’re supposed to and the pump doesn’t hold the liquid. I recommend exhausting other options before you try to take it apart and look inside.
Once the pan is warm enough you’re ready to give it a try!
Making Adjustment to Your Pancake Bot
It is drawing lines too thick. Adjust your pressure so that the batter comes out at a slower pace. Or thicken your pancake batter and leave the pressure alone.
- No batter is coming out. Either the pressure is too low or the pancake batter is too thick, it’s probably the latter. A general rule is to make the batter thinner than you think it should be, It seems to get thicker over time.
- The batter consistently drips and doesn’t seem to change pressure. Either the hose isn’t connected or there is a problem with the machine’s pumping system.Your drawing doesn’t look like what you drew on the software. The software has an algorithm that decides the drawing order. It will take some practice with the software to perfect.
Once the drawing is complete and the pancake is cooked through you may flip it and cook the other side. After it’s cooked enough on both sides the pancake is done! Scoop it up, put it on a plate and admire it. Then eat it if you’re not too attached to your creation.
Buying Options | Where To Buy
To avoid problems with the hardware don’t buy cheaper versions of the Pancake Bot. There is a chance that something is missing or is not working the way it should. If you’re on a budget and don’t mind a little stress and work, buy a cheaper one. If not, only buy the ones priced at $299.00.
Both of these on Amazon are supplied by the Pancake Bot company.
The $299.00 full price Pancake Bot. HERE
The cheaper version of the Pancake Bot. HERE
If you feel better buying directly through the site the link is here.