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Revision as of 16:23, 2 August 2010 by Phae (talk | contribs) (→‎Why?)
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This is a project to create a machine that is capable of taking a pizza specification in some format, and converting it into an actual pizza, before cooking it.

This will be split into a few components:

  • Conveyor system - to move the pizza back and forth during production, and to transport it into and out of the oven
  • Liquid dispenser - for dispensing tomato sauce or other liquid sauces (BBQ sauce, etc)
  • Slicing dispenser - for dispensing slices of a stick of ingredient (salami, sausage, pepperoni)
  • Cup dispenser - for dispensing small quantities of loose ingredients (grated cheese, mushrooms, onions, peppers, etc)
  • Dispenser mount - for mounting one or more dispensers on, to provide movement across the width of the pizza on the conveyor
  • Oven - to cook the pizza
  • Controller - to talk to all the above as needed and orchestrate pizza creation given a set of instructions for what the end result should be

System Planning


The conveyor needs to be accurate, bidirectional and heat-resistant (part of it will be parked in an oven for the cooking stage).

Initial proposal: 2 or more steel wires pulled tight around 2 or more metal rollers, motorized by a stepper motor on one of the rollers. The motor roller may need to be rubberized to get enough traction, but this can be done on the 'cold' end of the system without issue.

Structure would be easy enough to fabricate using box section steel or similar.

  • Would these be affordable enough? --Nigle 16:19, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

Liquid dispensers

The liquid dispensers need to be able to dispense a controlled quantity of liquid from a decent-sized feeder tank- preferably taking up liquid via a short hose.

  • Perstaltic pumps? Commonly used in bio-medical applications, only requires cleaning and sterilisation of tube internals.
    • Only ones I could find were ludicrously expensive, but I'm sure it could either be home-made cheaper or I'm not looking in the right places. --James Harrison 15:54, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
    • They can be very expensive, but they are extremely controllable and have been calibrated etc. We could probably knock together something much cruder that'll be good enough. The point is the design is good for food (and medicine) because only the internals have to be cleaned rather than pump internals. -- Ciarán

Slicing dispensers

The slicing dispensers need to be able to carry and slice a stick of ingredient (stick of salami, smoked sausage, etc) and dispense the slice onto the pizza.

  • Possibly easiest to get an off-the-shelf meat slicer, and modify it for automatic feeding. --James Harrison 15:54, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

Cup dispensers

The cup dispensers need to be able to dump a controlled amount of loose ingredients onto the pizza, preferably not all in one heap, like grated cheese or diced peppers. The ingredients will be fed into the top of the dispenser loose, and should have enough for ~10 dumps in the storage compartment.

Dispenser mounts

The mounts will have to support a decent amount of weight and be able to move that weight across the width of the conveyor so that dispensers mounted on the mounts can be accurately (ish) positioned.

There will need to be at least 3 of these mounts - one for tomato, one for cheese, one for pepperoni - to get a 'complex' pizza cooked.


Should be doable with cheap ovens from Lidl, maybe toaster heater elements, to create a pizza-sized box of heat with two open sides.

Bonus points for heat containment with flappy doors on each side, maybe even servo-operated doors.



  • Pizza is delicious!
  • Potential extra source of income for the space - £15 to print a pizza is on a par with Dominos, ingredients are cheaper by far, users get nice pizza made on-site and fresh with the added bonus of being able to watch robots building and cooking their pizza
    • If you're selling it, there's a duty of care, so need to avoid food poisoning --Ms7821 14:34, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
      • This shouldn't be a big deal, really - you load it with ingredients before cooking, back in the fridge afterwards - so long as we keep track of use-by dates it should be fine. Maybe get some gloves for food handling to avoid contamination. --James Harrison 15:49, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
        • Have the ingredient containers removable from the machine, no need to directly handle the food once filled up, just shove the container back in the fridge. Or build that part of the machine inside a fridge??? --Nigle 16:01, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
    • Would the machine be automagically cleaned between pizza types (where people have allergies, aversion to eating items that have dealt with meat products)? Phae 16:23, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Improves health and safety in the space by encouraging people not to hack on an empty stomach
  • I'll say that again: robots building and cooking pizzas
  • Possible tie-in with local health clubs for people to work off the calories added?