We got the assignment from the university to make something innovative with a delta robot. This could be anything as long as it was not a simple pick and place robot. After quite some brainstorming we figured it would be a cool idea to make a robot that could print various shapes with pancake batter. The idea originated from videos where people draw with different colored batter on a cooking plate and when flipping over the pancake, it would reveal Barack Obama or Mario.
Delta robots are robots that use three arms simulteneously to move a platform in a 3D space (X, Y and Z). By writing smart programs it is possible to move the platform to very specific locations within this 3D space. When attaching a claw or electromagnet to this platform, it is possible to pick up stuff and place them somewhere else in the 3D space. These robots are used alot in factories where PCBs (Printed Circuit Board) are made and assembled or in factories where unsorted batches of stuff have to be sorted.
It took about 8 weeks (of which 2 fulltime) to finalize the pancake printer. The printer was capable to print a regular pancake, a square pancake and a star pancake. As WOW factor we added a wireless controller so pancakes could be made manually over a distance of about 20 meters.