Pancake machine (6/7) – homing the pan

Hendrik-Jan is a student who just started his bachelor studies in electronics September 2019. Hendrik-Jan made us a pancake machine.

Hendrik-Jan made a special PCB for the control panel. The control panel is used to home the pan, see video below.

For the homing of the pan a sensor was used. Hendrik-Jan used an optical switch with a RC propeller to block the light. Although this worked reasonably well, the optical switch appeared vulnerable. Throughout the process of making the machine 4 sensors were broken. It was not clear why this happened. There are a number of other options. Like using a hall-effect sensor with a magnet for example, or he could have gone with a simple micro-switch.

This is the penultimate blog post highlighting the pancake machine.

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3D Andy’s starter kit 3D printer/plotter/CNC – CNC video 2/3

This is a second video showing the CNC based on the content of a starter kit in action.

If you are interested in building this multfunctional device out of MakerBeam profiles you can contact Andy ( He also has files published on Thingiverse ( with more to come.

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Pancake machine (5/7) – electronics

Hendrik-Jan is a student who just started his bachelor studies in electronics September 2019. Hendrik-Jan made us a pancake machine.

An Arduino mega was used as a microcontroller for the machine.

During the process the wiring of the machine really became a mess, see above. Hendrik-Jan decided to make an expansion board for the Arduino mega, see below. This reduced the number of wires and made it all a lot simpler.

Hendrik-Jan also created a PCB with a control display.

Although there were two custom PCBs designed for the machine there still were quite a lot of wires hanging around the machine.

The reason for this was that Hendrik-Jan wanted all the cables to be pluggable. This meant that he had to use 8 separate jumper cables, only to connect the mainboard and interface board together. He recently found out about IDC-connectors which you can easily press onto a flat cable at home without the need of special pliers. He would recommend using these instead of what he did.

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FPV drone

An FPV drone is a drone where the user has a first-person (FPV) view of the environment where the drone flies. Stefan from ConstrAct (Austria) made one and created a MakerBeam and Carbon based self-constructed FPV-Drone.

Stefan wanted to build a stable not to expensive drone to fly with a first person view. The chance to have this first person view from high up was the most exciting reason for him to start the build. He used MakerBeam for the arms and carbon for the frame.

The MakerBeam arms are connected with T-slot nuts to the carbon frame – this is a very strong and reliable connection. It survived a couple of crashes, according to Stefan.

It was created for freestyle flying only. For racing it is too heavy. He already had to remove GPS and other parts.

The carbon was cut on his CNC mill. The body was designed on fusion 360.

The electronic parts are:
– Omnibus F4 flight controller (holds the copter stable in the air)
– M8N GPS module (for return to home and Position hold)
– 4 in one ESC, (drivers for the motors)
– Runcam micro eagle camera and runcam sender (for first person view)
– Taranis receiver
– Inav Software

Team MakerBeam with Stefan Gschroefl from ConstrAct

Pancake machine (4/7) – pan

Hendrik-Jan is a student who just started his bachelor studies in electronics September 2019. He made us a pancake machine.

The aim was to have batter and oil come together in a pan that would be heated to bake the pancake. Then the pan was to automatically tilt so the baked pancake would slide off.
Hendrik-Jan chose to use a small pan and attached an axis to the pan. He created brackets so the axis could be attached to the pan.

He used MakerBeam bearings so the pan could turn. He created a 3D printed housing for the bearing. The design for this bearing housing can be downloaded here: (Thingiverse: DieZijner).

The next step was to add a motor for the rotation of the pan. Hendrik-Jan used a 28byj-48 stepper motor for which he created a motor mount also 3D printed. You can download the design for the motor mount here: (Thingiverse: DieZijner).

At the time this was the only suitable motor he had laying around. Unfortunately the stepper motor was too weak. The pan could not turn around very fast or the motor would start skipping steps. Although the motor is made to be used on 5volts he even gave it 12 volts at one point. In a hope to give it some more power. This indeed worked, but obviously the motor quickly became hot. Next time he would definitely go with a NEMA17 instead, to avoid the challenges the 28byj-48 motor gave him.

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Pancake machine (3/7) – framework

Hendrik-Jan is a student who just started his bachelor studies in electronics September 2019. Hendrik-Jan made us a pancake machine.

For his frame Hendrik-Jan used MakerBeamXL beams with MakerBeam brackets. Click here to go to our shop.
The MakerBeamXL beams are 15x15mm in diameter and available in different lengths (max. 2000mm). MakerBeam aluminium profiles measure 10x10mm in diameter. These beams also are available in different lenghts (max. 1500mm).
In the pictures you can see that the smaller MakerBeam brackets are not covering the MakerBeamXL beams entirely.

Hendrik-Jan also created brackets of his own. The design of these 3D printed tube holders can be found here: The created brackets were used to guide the tubes.

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Pancake machine (2/7) – 3D printed pumps

Hendrik-Jan is a student who just started his bachelor studies in electronics September 2019. Hendrik-Jan made us a pancake machine.

He first concentrated on creating the pumps to get the necessary oil and batter down to the pan. He created two 3D printed peristaltic pumps. Bigger sized versions from what Drmn4ea posted on Thingiverse. (Link: ). The gears and the body were altered, not just in size, but also to fit the tube in the pump. You can see his design here: With a lot of grease added these pumps worked very well. See below for videos and pictures.

In order to fasten the pumps to the framework he created plates that could serve as brackets.

The use of MakerBeam profiles helped to divide all the different parts of the machine in separate projects. This meant Hendrik-Jan could focus on only one item, without really having to worry about the rest of the machine. All the different elements created in the differrent projects could be fastened on the frame anyway.

Here is a video of a test run of a pump.

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Pancake machine (1/7) – drawings

There are usually four steps in making a prototype. The first is to make a sketch. This way you get your idea on paper. The second is creating a virtual prototype. Going through all the stages and thinking some problems through helps the project along. What really helps is the third step, the creation of a physical prototype. The end result greatly benefits from actually building all the elements and solving every problem on the way. The fourth step, locating a manufacturer, is an optimistic one. It takes a lot of time before you get to this stage. Most of this time is dedicated toward prototyping since it normally means making a number of iterations. Not all of them as successful as you would like them to be.

MakerBeam is great to help you in the creation of a physical prototype and all the necessary iterations. The MakerBeam aluminium profiles and related hardware make it easy to create and alter a framework wherein electronics and 3D printed custom made designs can be combined into one.

The first prototype
We asked Hendrik-Jan to create us something using MakerBeam. Hendrik-Jan is a student who just started his bachelor studies in electronics this September. The aim was to create something with MakerBeam. Delivering a machine in working order was not the criterium for failure or success. It was the creation of a prototype we were after, the very first. A lot of prototypes do not make it to the finishline – a working model as input for the manufacturer – but are necessary steps in the process nonetheless. Materials used and problems solved along the way give a lot of valuable information.

Hendrik-Jan made us a pancake machine. The goal was to have a machine in which you put batter and oil with the machine baking a pancake for you and then delivering it on your plate.

Below are his first sketches in render, basically step one and two combined. He sketched the idea he had to see whether it was a realisitic plan, and to have it on paper. The making of his pancake machine will be published in a series of 7 posts. This one being the first.

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