www.dvd3000.ca : txt : lycee : the pancooker
Alright, if you think back to your time in school, when was the last time you cut up and taped together a cardboard box that does nothing, for a school project? Well, the last time for me was Grade 7, when I made a cardboard magnet claw game for a "homemade arcade" project that our class did. The claw machine was kinda cool, I used ropes and pulleys (string and tape loops) and left the strings down the side so people could pull them to control the claw, even though most people cheated and just moved the claw around with their hands because there was no glass or anything on my claw machine. Anyways, that was the last time... or so I thought. In French class, we had to create a presentation on a product we made up, and then it'd get Dragons Den'ed in front of the class. So we had to make a product. But well, I was sick on the "brainstorming" day, so I missed whatever great events led up to the creation of the idea that my group came up with. Somehow, they came up with... a machine that creates and cooks pancakes... and they called it "The Pancake Pooper" (are we that immature?)
So, in theory, you'd put the batter in the hopper in the top, it'd drop it onto a conveyor belt, and then 2 heating elements will somehow get hot enough to just COOK it. One of the people in my group drew a picture of what it would look like, and I think I saw some expectations VS reality when we built the real thing.
We cut up a cardboard box, taped a bowl to the top to represent the funnel... it doesn't actually do anything but for decoration..? So we needed a conveyor belt. Of course we could have just made it a cardboard tube and said it was a conveyor, as this would get the idea across, but somehow we decided to make it a real working conveyor. So I went to the house of my friend who was in the group, and the 3 of us started looking for the LEGO Mindstorms box. Yeah, my friend actually had Mindstorms growing up, and I wanted one so bad but they were SUPER expensive, closest thing I had was I taped batteries to this motor and taped it to a lego wheel to make a "car". Anyways... We eventually found the box under his brother's bed (go figure), so we dug through the box and found motors, buttons, the controller.. but not really a conveyor.
So we found 2 dozer tracks, and used some frame pieces to put them together into one long track- that was 1 inch wide. We'd joked about just making the smallest pancake ever and calling it a day, but we just went and cut up a Mini Wheats box and taped the slats to the tracks, and amazingly it actually didn't collapse on itself. Of course as you would expect, you can't put anything on it, and I knew that would happen, in fact I thought it would fall under its own weight, but it actually works, as long as you LOOK only, and it looks kinda cool. So we cut up the box to make it look cool, and we were gonna hot glue it together, but the hot glue gun only had 1 half-used stick in it, and that was all we had. So we decided to just make the best of it, and we plugged it in and left it to heat up.. and we left it so long, that when we remembered it was there, there was steam coming off of it and it was like crackling and stuff-
I'm like "you know this is how house fires start" so yeah it's hot enough, so I unplug it, and start gluing this box together, and when I squeeze the trigger, the glue POURS out the end and it's BOILING- there's steam coming off of it and it's bubbling. As we were running out of glue, we didn't have another glue stick to push the other stick through, so I dug through my bag and found a broken in half pen that fit, so we jammed it in and more glue poured out the back and front, but that still gave us enough to glue the heater together. Yeah, we could have just sharpied on cardboard to represent the heaters that would theoretically cook the pancakes, we actually used real heating elements that were leftover from his dads heated mattress project, yeah great idea! We kept using that dangerous burning hot glue gun so we could glue real heating elements onto cardboard, which we powered with an adjustable power supply. I said that we might as well just use the hot glue gun as the heater with what it's doing right now, turn that box into an easy bake oven, and then it burns down in front of the class and we have to do a calm, single file emergency fire exit. Ok so we have a bunch of electronics that make heat and stuff, glued into a cardboard box. And never in a million years would this ever cook a pancake, but half of the things in this box actually do things, we didn't just use cardboard to pretend that it did things. Well, at least the teacher should be impressed right? Especially since actually making the product was an optional part of the project. The main part is the actual presentation, and nobody else in the class was cutting up and gluing together cardboard boxes, so here we are in Grade 11, laughing our asses off over a piece of cardboard, and everyone else is like "what are u guys doing" but we put so much into this box that we totally had to win.
Ok so we had to make the actual part of the project now, the presentation. The time where we write a powerpoint about our project and pretend that it actually does all this stuff. So I was put in charge of writing the introduction for this, and had to show how much time you'll save by using this thing, until I realised that this product literally just does the easiest part for you. The part where you throw the pancake batter that you just spent the past hour making onto the hot plate. This thing is just a glorified hot plate, you still have to make the batter which is 99% of the time spent making pancakes.
So I figured -change of plan- after you buy this $400 pancake cooking conveyor powered hot plate, you can also spend money on the pancake batter bags that you can probably buy at the grocery store for a year until PanCook goes out of business, and then I started joking about the Juicero, and said that at this point we pretty much made a Juicero and that the pancake bags would have QR codes on them that the machine will scan and connect through your phone for external server verification to ensure that it is an official PanCook bag, and if it's not it'll refuse to COOK it. And when it got to that point, that's when I mentioned.. "hey doesn't this already exist but way better... yeah, Eggo pancakes you guys!"... "but eggos are waffles"... "well they make pancakes too"...... "shh." so ignoring the fact that in real life this product would be useless, we made the presentation anyways hoping that nobody would ask any questions. Here we are, imagine the real Dragons Den comes in here, "ok we have no market plan, no budget, no future projections, we made a box that cooks stuff it has a conveyor belt." So we actually needed to come up with some money related stuff for the project- I don't know anything about that, I just know where to cut costs cause I'm a thousandaire saver, so my friend here goes "china made product"... "your basement made product". We're gonna cut so many corners that you're gonna buy this thing on Amazon, you're gonna open the box and -what- it's another amazon box inside, but wait a minute that's the PanCook!
brought to you by stories from schools past
written by dvd3000