Printing a castle, gun or jet engine is quite an achievement, but inventor Miguel Valenzuela has a bigger dream – a dream in which any man, woman, or child can simply print pancakes in whatever novelty two-dimensional shape they can think of. He's now turned to Kickstarter in the hope of turning that dream into reality.
PancakeBot came about when Valenzuela read about another pancake pioneer's quest to make a pancake-stamping machine from Lego. Egged on by his young daughters, Valenzuela set about building his own similar device. It's not a 3D printer as such (nor is it marketed as one), as it doesn't allow you to scale your pancakes up vertically, but you can still get pretty creative and print out shapes like the Eiffel Tower, for example.
PancakeBot includes an SD card with example pancake shapes, and is also bundled with Mac and PC-compatible tracing software that enables you to design your own. You copy your design onto the SD card, then insert that card into the PancakeBot to get started. The device uses a combination of compressed air and a vacuum to print out batter to a maximum pancake size of roughly 43 x 21 cm (16 x 8.3 in), and features controls to alter the extrusion rate.
You'll need to be a tad careful with your choice of batter, as particularly lumpy stuff mixed with chocolate or berries might clog the device, though Valenzuela provides a Martha Stewart recipe that he says works. PancakeBot also won't flip the pancake for you, so it's not a completely hands-off process.
As of writing, the cheapest remaining pledge point to hopefully secure yourself a PancakeBot is US$179. Valenzuela aims to ship the completed product in July 2015, assuming all goes according to plan. That should allow plenty of time for early adopters to come up with novel pancake designs for Pancake Day 2016.
The pitch video below provides some more information on PancakeBot.