Yes, it's possibly the most boring AMA in existence, ask a programmer all you ever wanted to know about printing pancakes, or other stuff! :D

It is done! Thank you and happy new year all! I suppose I've answered pretty much every single question over the course of the last 6 hours. I live here so I won't really stop answering questions, but I will go ahead and get some sleep. There's some gems hidden in some of these Q & A's so read up, and thanks for having me. Zoidberg says (/) (°,,°) (/) Contribute to Open Source Software!

My short bio: I'm 33, been programming for 20 something years, son to creator of the almost world famous Underground Comix Company RipOff Press. Got into web development heavily around 2003, fell into programming for robots when my eldest child built a watercolor painting robot and needed software for it. We then took it around the world, even showed it to Obama. Got noticed by an awesome maker who said he wanted me to make the PancakeBot software, and I said sure! So I made PancakePainter open source using open web technologies. Fun stuff.

Oh, and I posted that Adam Savage metaphoto post back in may. Good times XD

My Proof: Twitter Post - Keybase Proof that I own both twitter and Reddit accounts.

Also check out ninjanode, a fun crappy game I made in a week a few years ago.

Comments: 272 • Responses: 88  • Date: 

dasbiggin311 karma

How do you feel knowing that you are the only AMA I've ever caught on time?

techninja42147 karma

Well.. I am just a boring guy without needing to do anything else tonight. Likely would have been on Reddit or programming crap anyways. I always miss em too! Glad I made it for this one!

dasbiggin35 karma

Serious question time, what is the one piece of "sci-fi tech" you'd love to see come to life in your life time and why?

techninja4254 karma

Um. Hmm. Holodeck probably. We're damn close to reasonably usable walking VR without wires. I think everyone would be fit after playing through Half Life 3 VR running around and ducking with a weighted backpack. ALSO being on other planets and impossible places and situations... it could enhance everything about education hands on... blah blah, we all know it'd be awesome.

dasbiggin4 karma

Or the holodeck from Jason X? Right?

techninja4228 karma

Nothing like virtual premarital fornication and slaughter to further the human race! Really though art is going to become vastly more important as we phase out jobs to robots that I program. Of course the two bots I use on a regular basis make art so.. I suppose we're just plain screwed? 😆

headphun2 karma

Is there an open source or non profit project working on art in the digital age? I have a music idea I'm currently trying to conceptualize but i also have a very crude understanding of the current realities of [engineering/tech/ everything else haha].

techninja423 karma

There probably is! Actually there's probably a bunch of them around.. though I have yet to meet or know directly of them. Google is your friend and you might just get lucky.

LiberatedCapsicum14 karma

Sort out those confidence issues m8. You're a special pancake printing sparkle and u r interesting.

Ur one in a million and I love you.

Seriously I love you.

Wats ur address.

I want ur pancakes.

techninja427 karma

These cakes of pan, they are taken. But thank you for the offer. You can make it up by joining NinjaNode space battle here with me and a few other devs. :D

techninja42137 karma

Mr Techninja, first time commenter, long time listener. I hear you're the most boring AMA ever, but in reality you're actually slightly interesting considering how much you seem to pander with all those links in the description. Is it true that true == 'true' but [] !== []? Thanks in advance for the gold.

techninja42103 karma

false. Except on Thursdays. I could never get the hang of Thursdays....

augustus_lifts28 karma

¿Whut?

techninja42132 karma

No idea, this guy is crazy.

petitio_principii69 karma

Thanks for making your software open source!

What is your favorite pancake topping?

What's your favorite programming language and why?

techninja4260 karma

Fav Programming language:

  • I love lisp for the purity (not for practicality or libraries)
  • I love JavaScript for the good parts™, for the community, and the practical ubiquity and ease of entry (not for the type friction or boolean matching).
  • I love PHP for its ubiquity, backend freedom, the built in native function for every goddamn thing you can imagine and at least half you can't. Hate it for the same reasons too.

It's important to not stick yourself in any one thing for too long. Get out of your comfort zone and build something, even if only once, you'll have a better more universal look at every project you do afterwards.

HoggLord17 karma

This is interesting coming from a programmer with such accolades. I say this because people consider php as a language for noobs.

techninja4228 karma

Accolades? HA! I'm just a run of the mill contractor. I have no awards or speaking engagements. Just show up and do the thing. The reason these languages are newb languages is because the barrier for entry is so small. This means LOTS of people know enough to do something, so it gets popular. They're just tools. Sometimes weird or hard tools to use, doesn't mean they're bad for that sake. Great things are happening in PHP7 to correct many of the faults, just as with JavaScript. These are living languages that everyone should have a hand in learning and not be afraid to just get out there and build something. Use a boring stack and build something is better than the latest and greatest. The idea is what matters, not exactly how it's implemented.

headphun2 karma

What do you think is the most efficient way for the average tech illiterate American (native English speaker with <=15Mb Internet connection) to learn all the things that make a competent programmer?

What programming language /methodology would be best to start with? For these Americans that don't have a reason (yet) to learn?

techninja4211 karma

I learned everythign I know about programming from the internet. Never had a formal college education and it's totally doable. The important thing to do is to just start with something. Try to code something from some elses work, change little things, tweak it till it works. Find someone crazy enough to hire you to do a little of this and the sky's the limit.

HoggLord1 karma

Yes, i like php also. I played your game for a short moment, before it became full.

techninja423 karma

It's not a great game.. But it works well enough as a proof of concept. It's written in NodeJS serverside.

rangelfinal3 karma

You should take a look at /r/lolphp/
They have a really strong opinion about PHP

techninja429 karma

I'm sure they do, and rightfully so at times. WAY too easy to make a security vulnerable application.. of course it still runs things like Facebook.

rangelfinal8 karma

Yeah, but Facebook is a massive giant pile of spaghetti at this point and isn't the ideal example for how PHP is actually a good language They even use a custom engine
But PHP is still a amazing language when you need to do something fast and without hassle
And I'm sorry if I'm intelligible I'm drunk and english isn't my first language
You're a amazing person and a incredible inspiration even if your favorite programming language is kinda garbage <3

techninja4210 karma

Ha! That's fine. They're all just tools to build stuff. Once you get old enough to see that Mac/PC/Linux are all just tools for us to do stuff, you stop caring so much about who has the best of anything and just make stuff go.

Ace_Emerald2 karma

If you like lisp but also like practicality, ever tried Clojure or ClojureScript?

techninja423 karma

I have not! Though it's discussed all the time on HackerNews. If I had any free time these days I'd probably spend a weekend getting into it.

Ace_Emerald2 karma

Well if you get some time, I recommend it! Its my favorite blend of elegance and practicality.

techninja425 karma

I'll make time for it, thank you again for the personal recommendation.

MattBSG1 karma

Leaving us in suspense for the first question huh?

techninja422 karma

I think I answered that twice now elsewhere :)

techninja4227 karma

In the process of building the software I've had to make literally pounds of pancakes... so I've found that even the cheap pancakes have enough sugar in them to not need any toppings at all. Though I am pretty partial to blueberry syrup. Whip cream and fresh berries (strawberry or blueberries are great too).

FeelsLikeFire_57 karma

[deleted]

techninja4267 karma

"Oh my god... I can't even flip pancakes."

Damn_Lochness_Monsta45 karma

Do you have a strong internal struggle seeing that your code allows for the creation of fancy pancakes, but you're really a Belgian waffle guy at heart?

techninja4253 karma

It's true. Damn pancakes taking over the world and I sit here letting them just take over. Don't you worry pancakes, you'll get your just desserts.

Lucidge21 karma

What was it like meeting Obama and Adam? Also, I can't help but think of the Butter-bot from Rick and Morty when I look at this PancakeBot, awesome work!

techninja4241 karma

Thank you. The PancakeBot is awesome hard work done by Miguel Valenzuela and his family. I'm sure when he gets up tomorrow he'll join in here and answer any more hardware specific questions, though this all started as a lego maker project and went through the whole Kickstarter thing. Really great to see products that seem so useless actually have something of a user base enough to make them a reality.

Obama: Nice guy, firm handshake. Can't wait to buy a plain white shirt from him in Hawaii.

Adam Savage: Nicest maker guy in the world, a pure nerd and model maker at the very core, talented enough that if we never heard from him again he's sure to build himself an empire of awesome crap without us.

FeelsLikeFire_20 karma

[deleted]

techninja4252 karma

Pancakes are about 6-7 months away from gaining enough intelligence to take over the blogosphere... luckily they may never reach that goal as they can only manage it at room temperature, and they're usually eaten or get moldy before then. We're safe from Pancake Skynet... for now

SemiAnonymousUser15 karma

Will there be restrictions on penis shaped pancakes?

techninja4224 karma

Certainly not in in the privacy of your own 4 star restaurant! Though I caution against feeding pancake phallus' to unwilling participants.

SemiAnonymousUser9 karma

Lol, on a serious note though, would that be possible?

techninja4217 karma

Pancake Phallus'? Absolutely. Would be amazed to learn they haven't been done already. Human being love drawing that shape.

SemiAnonymousUser4 karma

I know it's possible, I meant would it be possible for someone to set a restriction where some sort of ai could detect if someone wanted to make a pancake like that

techninja4210 karma

Actually... Yes! Using the power of neural networks trained to recognize pr0n!

SemiAnonymousUser2 karma

Damn, so since you're a programmer, and I'm assuming you know multiple languages which would you say is the best to learn first that would be pretty easy?

techninja423 karma

Likely JavaScript cause it's everywhere (though not always easy), and for non-code, I'd say try out Scratch from MIT. Helps you learn how programming concepts work with blocks!

JARDPERSON12 karma

How many Pepe pancakes have you printed yet?

Edit: Changed "made" to "printed"

techninja4224 karma

Zero. The PancakePepe is too dank for a newb such as I.

averagejones6 karma

Have you used your software to make a pancake? If so, what did you make?

techninja4214 karma

Made TONS of pancakes. Usually cartoon characters, random tests for line width, filling, etc. My favorite were likely the Simpsons, Steven Universe (shoutout to /r/stevenuniverse !). Making art with batter and a 2mm nozzle with variable speed and pressure is still an art, even with a robot handling the X/Y coordinates for you. Also I'd never done this before and built the software entirely from scratch over the course of about a month and a half. It's still not perfect, but it's getting better all the time.

coadyj2 karma

I've been looking into the software from the kickstarter video.

If I'm honest it looks a little basic, I don't like having to trace the picture, did you play around with any grayscale vector mapping to make the process a bit more user friendly?

techninja427 karma

The software is definitely simple, and not exactly what I would have wanted, but that's what their limited budget allowed for the first iteration. I admit making people draw everything with limited tools is a bit barbaric, so we've got a completely automatic trace functionality coming soon this month to take logos and cartoons and such and turn them straight into printable designs. Soon! :)

Zan_H6 karma

What are your thoughts on oatmeal cookies?

techninja4212 karma

Best if done soft baked, extra butter, with dried black cherries. The raisin conspiracy led by the graplluminati has gone too far in ruining their reputation as the evillest cookie.

Mr-Hatchet5 karma

Some people might think this product is ridiculous, but I think it's brilliant. What are you currently/planning to work on next?

techninja427 karma

Working a version of the software that will take any logo or cartoon from the internet and make it printable without much extra work. Also probably going to work on the next book in my kid's series.

trustanni4 karma

Are there any design patterns you use to implement the software? I know nothing about 3d printing, but find it's very intriguing.

techninja429 karma

I really wish I had a better idea about design patterns. I think when workign with a team having clean code and a really solid method for creating brand new software are incredibly important. Usually I work with frameworks like Drupal or React for big projects. For PancakePainter and RoboPaint, they were built quickly and completely on my own to get the job done, so they shifted and changed and grew from crazy ideas I had as I learned the language more and more. Programming is like painting in that to represent an idea there's a million different ways to do it. I think it's incredibly important that people can learn from (and build off of your work), so I strive for readability and cleanliness, usually above frameworks, new code styles or even "good" structure. I'll be first to admit I've got a lot to learn still, but I know enough to get the job done, and get myself in trouble.

I implore anyone to leave a comment in code on github if you have a question, or submit a pull request just to learn how it works. It's about the community and learning and inclusion first and foremost.

here4_pie_and_punch4 karma

Thanks for sharing :) Does Adam Savage keep knocking on your door every couple of years asking for a photo?

techninja425 karma

Nope, gotta work hard for that! He's an incredibly busy guy. Barely made the last one. I fear that may be the last one for a while considering the negative attention. We'll see how it goes of course.

Tyler112233443 karma

Wait I think I'm out of the loop, what negative attention?

techninja424 karma

The thread for the metaphoto got locked cause the comments got bad enough to have the mods step in.

Tyler112233444 karma

Ohhh the Reddit thread got bad. I thought you meant there was negativity around the actual meeting up every year or something. Thanks for the reply!

techninja423 karma

Yea, nothing like that, though it has certainly been tough to make it all happen. You're welcome!

nt6kt4 karma

The first thing my boyfriend wanted to make with the pancake bot, after I told him it exists, is a penis shaped pancake.

What was the first pancake shape you wanted to make?

Please tell me it's not penis.

techninja429 karma

It's not! I think it was a space ship... or possibly a skyscraper. Oh, wait.. this isn't helping. :D

hephaestus_b3 karma

Great work! As look would have it, someone gave me a pancake printer a few weeks back, but I took a peek at the gcode and immediately gave up. Any plans to support vector imports, specifically Adobe illustrator, or maybe even svgs?

techninja423 karma

Yep, that's in the works. There's a PR for it somewhere, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. The SVG standard just has too much in it to go wrong if not properly handled without cleanup.

camadalipo3 karma

If you could inhabit the body (while maintaining your own consciousness) of anyone in history for 60 minutes, who would it be and why?

techninja4213 karma

Wafflebot, because wafflebot.

Wref3 karma

U got something against waffles? Waffles are the shit!

Sorry I'm drunk

techninja424 karma

Nah, I love waffles, crepes, and pancakes equally.

Wref2 karma

Sweet. What does your family like on/in their pancakes?

techninja422 karma

Ummm... Definitely syrup. Way too much syrup.. And mini marshmallows. :)

OwenKam503 karma

By 3D, do u mean it prints upwards also?

even if not, love your work!

techninja424 karma

Technically pancakes have thickness. Put you can't cook a pancake on a coldish pancake, so you'd have to flip and remove the pancake and cook another one in the same place. Plastic extrusion 3D printers work via cooling the plastic on top of the other plastic, but unless you cooked the batter on top of other batter, it wouldn't work directly. Chocolate and icing are another matter though and can totally work for this. Maybe not with the same hardware though.

boyfoster3 karma

What's the most ridiculous thing you've made with the machine?

techninja428 karma

Probably the time i let the machine cover the entire griddle with 1000 drips to make a bowl full of tiny pancakes for the kids

Spectre24Z3 karma

Are you going to be printing pancake photographs and artwork in color?

techninja424 karma

Colors in the pancakes are (by default anyway) setup to use shades based on cooking temperature over time. The first shades printed are intended to be the darkest as they cook longer than the rest of the print. You can also switch bottles mid-print with colored pancake batter, though you need more bottles and lower cooking temperature. It's a fine mix and a little tricky but totally attainable.

HarmlessKitten2 karma

Do you think you could win Robot Wars? (It's a UK robot fighting competition hosted by the BBC.)

techninja423 karma

Oh, I know what it is! :) There have been a bunch of spin-offs of the same idea including some smaller scale stuff at Robogames here in California. No, unfortunately I lead a family of 6 and cannot fully devote my time or money to making killer robots, but I 'd love to once they all move out and I can begin to rule the world.. Muwahahahahahaha!

HarmlessKitten1 karma

You sound like my kind of mad robo-scientist.

techninja422 karma

I try 🤖

techninja423 karma

Hey now! Nobody wants to peev the wafflebot!

jewdai2 karma

Would you rather have 99 spaces or 1 tab that is 99 spaces wide?

techninja424 karma

All my tabs are 99 spaces wide ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

mrls252 karma

Do you play any games? Idea you do, what's your favorite one?

techninja425 karma

I definitely game a bit, though not as much as I used to. Having kids makes it tough to prioritize these days. Tomb Raider. Half Life, Bro Force, any addicting platformer, adventure games, tons more.

Even made a game a few years back, free for anyone online to play (though note it's pretty awful)

Sittin_on_4_4s2 karma

Can you add nuts or chocolate chips?

techninja422 karma

Yes! But only after the pancake is on the griddle, the 2mm nozzle means you need to sift the batter so it's as smooth and non-clogging as possible.

MyMainIsAThrowaway2 karma

How many pancakes can I print before it breaks?

techninja423 karma

Depends on if you pour batter directly into the vacuum pump or not ;)

On the first version that totally did happen but the company acknowledged it and replaced the units, the 2.0 version has a filter to prevent this now.

Actually the commercial product is pretty darn well built considering. The Griddle is an entirely separate part, and the various moving parts for the X/Y platform are modular and the electronics are even open source and Arduino based. Assuming you didn't forcefully rend the plastic, drop it on concrete, or hit it with a hammer, your biggest problem is simply going to be finely adjusting your batter consistency and temperature. So I hear from the creator, the biggest issue likely in longevity is probably going to be wear and tear on the stepper motors and belts from lack of acceleration control in GCODE rendering. Probably still thousands of pancakes without any real breakdown. The firmware on the bot is still a work in progress (not my work) but it's getting better all the time as well.

MyMainIsAThrowaway2 karma

Also another question. How long does a print for a pancake take?

techninja422 karma

Depends on the size of the pancake, how many details it has, and how many shades. Anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes.

Supervarken_2 karma

What's the coolest pancake you printed?

techninja426 karma

The one that went into the freezer! (☞゚ヮ゚)☞ ☜(゚ヮ゚☜)

Likely The Adventure Time BMO I hand traced. It is unfortunately a Pancake larger than most dinner plates so.. not very handy size, but a fun pancake. It's in my twitter history somewhere....

bh-art1 karma

I'm cooking pancakes right now, what's the best time to flip it?

techninja421 karma

Depends on the temperature. Bubbles are a sure sign of good sealing and browning. They'll start on the edges and come to the center. Some time between edge bubbles and center bubbles is best to get that golden brown finish.

100thusername1 karma

Is this still on? How do you feel doing an AMA on new years? It is sad (like wow I'm a loser I don't have anything better to do), or is it a happy feeling (like crossing it off a bucket list or something)

techninja421 karma

A bit of both. :D

We are nerd partying over here though!

XxImaginati0nxX1 karma

As someone who wants to get into a programming profession what is a tip you have outside of networking?

techninja421 karma

Never stop working on something that challenges you. Share your work and take criticism. Knowing you're never as good as you could be is a perfect first step to working towards becoming more. Sounds stupid, but it's something you can totally apply to your side work all the time :)

jewdai1 karma

VIM or Emacs?

Psychosmurf431 karma

Do you think we may someday see pancake printing with a Z axis? Pancake houses would be cool, but it seems very unlikely.

Happy New Year.

techninja421 karma

Happy new year to you as well! 🎉

Z-axis printing for pancakes does not sound like an easy thing to do because what makes the batter solid is the high temperature. Also you'd need a controllable z-axis (which the PancakeBot does not have). Maybe someday in the future with self-cooking pancake batter :)

oskay1 karma

Once you add the Z axis it becomes a WaffleBot.

techninja421 karma

Wafflebot controls all!

Irouquois_Pliskin1 karma

I have a weird question, I'm a writer by trade, but I'm also a big gamer as well, so for the last year or so I've been looking into making a text based RPG, but while I'm good with writing, I can't code to save my life. So my question is this, what programing language would you recommend for someone who only needs the bare minimum to get by and what service/class/whatever would be good to take to learn the basics? I understand that this might not be something you know a lot about, but I figured I might as well ask because I've always been very intimidated by coding and programming and hearing that you got into it at a young age I thought that you might be able to give some advice on simple and user friendly programing languages that would help someone in my shoes break into coding.

techninja421 karma

There's actually a ton of RPG writing helper apps out there (google is your friend here) that will allow you to write/construct a game without actually coding anything. You take a hit for originality as there's a limit to what you can do outside the pre-determined scope of how the game is set to work, but there's lots of idea people like you that want to get something made but don't have the programming chops.

Another option is to go looking for a programmer willing to sink their teeth into a side project for fun. A lot of programmers could make a game like that (even using libraries or tools to shortcut the tough parts), but don't have the story or character writing skills you might have. I don't have links or connections to anyone specifically, but I know they're out there! You just have to go looking.

StainedGlassHouses1 karma

Is it all M and G codes under the hood?

techninja422 karma

That's what drives the bot, yes. It uses modified 3D printer firmware. The application that outputs it is Electron: HTML & JS

networkarchitect1 karma

If you took every line of code you wrote for PancakePrinter and rendered it in batter at a readable resolution, how long would the PancakeBot take to print it all?

techninja424 karma

Ahhhh crape. Um. ~5k lines of my code, probably readable at 2cm tall, factoring in griddle size and minimum overlap, no whitespace and fasted printing speed, no time taken for refilling or removing the pancakes... makes ~44 hours. Yikes.

Gradians1 karma

Pancakes or waffles?

techninja427 karma

A pancake is just a waffle waiting for the right griddle.

TooManyGorillas1 karma

Is there an option to add icing on your pancake?

techninja421 karma

Not yet! Though I hear Miguel is working on the icing attachment.. or something along those lines. I think it'd be nicer to use it for icing already made round cookies that a pancake that's already trying to express itself artistically.

Ehimalright1 karma

What made you want to help make a mPancake printer?

techninja421 karma

I just did the software, the hardware was Miguel's.

BanTheSpeech1 karma

What are your thoughts on suicide?

Also have you seen Danny deckchair, I think you would love it

techninja423 karma

Assisted suicide for the terminally ill is probably not such a bad idea if deemed medically acceptable.

josh_the_misanthrope1 karma

How many neural nets does it take to catch sentience?

techninja423 karma

42

HowToBeAStalker1011 karma

If I buy this, will I get all the girls?

techninja422 karma

Only the ones who love pancakes.

lichorat1 karma

How do I vectorize a rasterized image? Also can I build this for half the cost with an Arduino?

techninja422 karma

Ah yes! Vectorization of raster images is what I'm working on for a release date a few weeks out from now. In short: It's tricky.

The PancakeBot draws lines of ~2mm thick of batter, but this can cook out to anywhere from 3-5mm. This means the small fills generated by most vectorization software end up being unfillable in any reliable sense with current algorithms. Not to mention lines end up as fills as well. The lines/fills algorithm available in Adobe Illustrator with a specified stroke thickness works pretty well in converting most cartoon images into something reasonably close to what could be drawn. Unfortunately I have yet to prioritize the SVG import functionality in a way I can be happy with.

The plan so far is to use mixed centerline and self-destructing inset/offset fills to overlay a fill and line to make something that can reliably print high contrast input raster art. This is a darn tricky problem especially considering how fills need to work with outlines to ensure the pancake cooks properly.

Arduino: Yes! You could totally make this. No, I kind of doubt it would be cheaper. The PancakeBot has tooled forms for strong ABS plastic structure and a decent hardware design to make it all come together. Parts ordered individually (arduino, stepper controller, steppers, vacuum pump, etc) might end up costing the same or maybe $100 less, but then you need some kind of structure. I suspect somewhere on the internet Miguel has plans for the original one made of lego, but even then it's not quite the same. Would be a great and fun project to do though!

Whiskey_Knight1 karma

Could you write code that creates a design based on frequency/character count/upvotes of your AMA ? Letting us all make pancakes with you !

techninja422 karma

I could! Though I'd imagine it would be pretty boring seeing as it's mostly died down now... also I'm out of pancake batter at the moment (A crime! I know.)

thiskid8881 karma

Where did you get the idea to build this?

techninja421 karma

The hardware was built and conceived by Miguel

Silver_Elite1 karma

Happy new year! Any suggestions about what should I do this 2017?

techninja422 karma

Learn to program with an open source project... and acquire a taste for durian fruit!

thoughtfix1 karma

Hello to you and Sylvia! Will you be at MFBA this year? I was a bit sad how overly commercialized last year's was: replacing Maker Shed with a Kickstarter/Indiegogo sales aisle and replacing half Make's first-party space with a damn Barnes and Noble.

techninja422 karma

Yeaaa.. it happens. Outgrew its britches a bit. The family and I will definitely be there, but no Sylvia this year, not directly.

zaranian1 karma

What's the most impressive/complicated design you've made using your PancakeBot so far?

Also, are you limited in the complexity of the designs you can print, due to the fact that your canvas is a hot stove and your pancakes will burn if not removed quick enough? Because I saw a video of your bot in action, and it looked like it was a bit slow in getting batter onto the griddle.

techninja423 karma

Video might have been older, you can adjust printing speed quite a bit now, even per shade in GCODe export options. There's SO many variables to pancake printing (temperature over time, viscosity, extrustion pressure/distance, batter brand, atmospheric pressure, etc) that you can likely (with practice) get everything tuned for whatever size print you need. But it's absolutely true that complexity = more time on the plate and darker shades. The temperature of the griddle is entirely up to you during printing time and so I've heard Miguel and Slim say, with a long preheat time to get even temperature, you blast the heat at the start, then pull it down for later shades to ride it out and get very light colors compared to the much darker initial shades.

itssnowinggg1 karma

What was the hardest part about creating the PancakeBot software? Also, the Adam Savage metaphotos are cool, he seems like a super nice guy!

Thank you for taking time to do this AMA!

techninja421 karma

Adam really is a great guy, hope everyone gets a chance to meet him at some point in their lives.

Hardest part about the software has been rebuilding the wheel for drawing a bit. I didn't want to go this route, but it means that we can focus on drawing for pancakes first and foremost, as it's not as straightforward or as diverse as other mediums can be (like painting or pens)

itssnowinggg1 karma

Thank you for replying so quickly! Just curious though, how did you get the chance to meet him? It's been a dream of mine to be able to meet someone like him.

techninja421 karma

He shows up (or has in the past) at bay area Maker Faire. He's also very approachable if given time at the live events he's part of.

Shastamasta1 karma

Any chance you could add smartphone compatibility or ability to print pancakes on demand from my Amazon echo (Alexa) or google home? I want to have pancakes created by voice command!

techninja423 karma

Totally doable! Submit an issue request on the github page and it'll get considered (for real!)

Shastamasta2 karma

That's really awesome! Does the hardware already have networking capabilities? I haven't worked with an arduino before (I think I read this is what controls it).

I can envision making a skill on the Alexa application or using IFTTT. Then I could tell my echo to make my coffee and a pancake. The future is now!

Thank you for your work on this and making it open source!

techninja423 karma

Of course, glad to help. No the hardware doesn't have DIRECT support for wireless just yet, but it is Arduino based so it's totally possible to hack it in there, or just plug it into a computer or Raspberry PI to control it.

ZenEngineer1 karma

Any chance for multi-extruder pancake bots in the future? A Nutella-filled pancake is always good. Or artfully placing blueberries in specific places of the pancake art would be cool.

techninja421 karma

Definitely something like this in the works. The bot already has attachment points for addons, and it's open source if you wanted to hack your own addition.

[deleted]1 karma

[deleted]

techninja421 karma

Answered here

AskMeToPMYouStuff1 karma

I'm trying to learn Python, as my first ever programming language. Are there any resources you would particularly recommend for new programmers, whether for Python or just in general?


Signed,

PiraticalYognaut

techninja423 karma

I do not off the top of my head as I flip between hundreds of questions and fighting people in space ships. Um, I'd say pick something worth experimenting with and try to achieve it. Schuyler and Roger, the JR devs you likely met on ninjanode built a python bot interface for ninjanode over the course of a few weeks. It turned from a proof of concept into a server destroying experiment gone wrong.. but it was a learning experience. Try to build something you have no idea how to even start, and just start paddlign around and grab whatever code gets you closest and bang your head against it till you get closer. Learning how to program is a long slog through garnering as much experience as you can from those who know better, and giving back when you can.

AskMeToPMYouStuff1 karma

Alright, pretty much how I approach most things, then. :)

I have had some experience with coding-like tools before, such as Scratch, where I was able to build some fairly neat stuff. I might see if I can manage something like recreating what I'd built in Python to start off with. Even if it doesn't work, I'm sure it will be fun. In any case, thank you very much for your advice, and happy New Year!

(I do have to go to bed now though, as it is 2AM. I've had a lot of fun playing NinjaNode with you and everyone else, though, so thanks for that. :) )

techninja422 karma

Glad you enjoyed it! Come back anytime.. though the server may be dead ;)

debbywins1 karma

Hey there, you are a part of some cool creations. I'm curious as a programmer myself, what benefits have you found doing open source projects? I would imagine that selling a product requires a financial investment and significantly more time, how do you make it worth your time to do this stuff?

techninja421 karma

Actually yes, my last two jobs have arguably come directly from my Open Source maintainership. Your time is definitely worth something, but if you're not having fun every once in a while, you might be missing the point. I built ninjanode and RoboPaint out of love and have learned a bunch in the process. Not just about creating the systems, but trying brand new operations and libraries. Test yourself with weird project and make them open source. If not for any reason other than it may help someone else or that you enjoy it.

debbywins1 karma

that's actually a good perspective for me to hear as I have been working on a few side projects recently. Thanks and good luck with your future projects!

techninja421 karma

Thank you!

headphun1 karma

I hope I'm not too late but I'm just learning about you and I have a tremendous amount of respect for what you're doing. I don't want to waste your time (happy new years btw) but i would very much appreciate your professional advice. I will try to summarize my questions, which will hopefully include the questions that i don't know i should be asking:

My goal is to work with open source projects that combine technology and education to contribute towards (approximate) egalitarianism, efficiently and sensibly. I have a passion for tech, music, and education but i can't make sense of my skill set. At this point, I'm ready to dedicate the rest of my life to my goal, and I believe it's a goal that can't be actualized fast enough, but I believe it will take me decades to get to a level of contribution comparable to where you are. I'm in the very very beginning stages of learning web development (chapter 1.5 of the odin project) and I want to teach myself as much as possible (just signed up for the learning how to learn coursera course) before attempting to take the CCNA in (hopefully) two years. I'm 25 years old, I'm moving to Boston in June (from Thailand) and I have no money (but, thankfully, less than $1k in debt). What kind of jobs can and should I apply for that might help me efficiently work towards my goal? I'm tuning up my general resume right now while i gear up for a couple months of job applications but i feel I'm already behind in so many ways. I want to work towards my goal, hopefully with people like you, but I also don't want to take>give because that's counterproductive to my imperative of efficiency.

I hope my question makes sense. I'm currently looking through all the links you've shared. I'm starting with the game though 😂

Thank you for taking the time to do this Ama and I hope your 2017 makes your 2016 jealous :D

techninja421 karma

Take as many contract jobs as you can, explore whatever side experiments that interest you. Get hooked into trying to make something basic that makes you feel good. I made ninjanode over the course of a week or so because I loved "SubSpace" and wanted a challenge, and wanted to experiment with open frictionless gaming (and WebSockets which i'd heard about, but knew nothing). Get into stuff you have no idea how to do. Don't be afraid to fail, it's all part of the learning.

Sorry this isn't quite the best response, but for it's my first AMA and I'm battling people in space ships at midnight after a long day and haven't missed a Q yet. Feel free to PM me or bug me later (or hit me up on twitter) and I can get you a better response :)

BobDeBac1 karma

What do you like on your pancakes?

techninja421 karma

Bloobs and cream.

gracefullyanna1 karma

Hi there! I've been wanting to get into programming for quite a while now. Do you have any good tips and recommendations on how to get started?

techninja421 karma

Gave an answer in slightly more detail elsewhere, but would recommend finding a simple project that drives you and choose a language or interface that gets you the closest to it. Try scratch (no code) or JavaScript (Giant open community and runs in every browser)

issadseif1 karma

Please for my knowdledge...what is AMA ?

Thanks

techninja421 karma

"Ask Me Anything" :)

johnty1231 karma

this is somewhat unrelated, but i recently have been playing around with using a 3d printer (well, at least the gantry itself, sans extruder), to draw stuff. i've been making really short 3d models (so its just a single layer), and then slicing it using conventional slicers. but this toolchain is obviously overkill for such an application. your application would make it a lot more user friendly! :D

techninja421 karma

Not necessarily. Right now I'm just doing 2 axis. Though the user interface and speed leaves a bit to be desired.