3D printers have been proven to be extremely versatile machines — and I’m not just talking the wide range of parts they can print. The layout and electronics of a typical Cartesian 3D printer are useful for a wide range of applications, and we’ve seen printers repurposed as everything from CNC mills to pick-and-place machines. If you’ve got a 3D printer, that means you basically have a multi-talented robot at your disposal. Andy Gelme and the Connected Community HackerSpace (CCHS) in Melbourne, Australia have taken advantage of that to create the condiment-dispensing SauceBot.
SauceBot was created as a group project at the hackerspace, and is designed to extrude ketchup — tomato sauce as they’d (wrongly) call it — and mustard onto a “snag.” That’s essentially just Australian slang for a sausage-based hot dog on a piece of white bread, which I definitely had to Google. Two giant arcade buttons let hungry patrons choose between tomato sauce or mustard, and SauceBot will happily dispense the condiments. It even goes so far as to apply the tomato sauce in the official, internationally-recognized zig-zag pattern.
For this build, they appear to have started with a fairly standard Prusa-style 3D printer made from clear acrylic. The usual hot end and extruder have been replaced with a pair of peristaltic pumps that pull the condiments from their respective containers through tubes and out onto the snag. It’s running a modified version of the Marlin firmware, which they’ve made available on GitHub so you can build your own SauceBot. Language barriers aside, this is a fantastic use of a 3D printer.