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3D printer-salvage pancakes

We have a growing dataset of gadgets that are dead on arrival at our Restart Parties – it’s a good measure of what is dead at people’s homes. Until now, we’ve concentrated on what we can repair.

But recently we’ve been talking with neighbour business 2052 Props about a reuse project – where we would pull parts from commonly failing electronics and repurpose them creatively into new products, sometimes involving 3D printing. We would document in a way that inspires others. Our idea has a working title of “Reuse Cookbook” – inspired by our urban mining session at OKFN last summer.

As we are currently working on our survival – trading and fundraising – this project was just a shared folder on the cloud until this morning.

3D printers break, especially with intensive use. Paul of 2052 had scavenged two heated beds from faulty Ultimaker2 printers, and he’d joked that we could make paninis on it. (The heated bed apparently reaches temperatures of 100 degrees. Covered by glass, it’s where the filament is deposited during printing.)

We thought, why not pancakes for Pancake Day? (For international readers, Pancake Day is as close as the UK comes to Carnaval or Mardi Gras.) We invited our trustee, pancake maker and tinkerer Carolina Vallejo.


Our biggest challenge was to find an appropriate power supply. The 24V needed to power the heated bed is not that common. We dug through our rather scary box of power supplies and could only find a standard 19.5V laptop power supply. It would have to do. Carolina lopped off the plug and began to attach it to the bed, insulating it with some Sugru.

We plugged it in via an RCD for added safety and switched it on. We were kind of expecting to singe off our eyelashes given what Paul told us about the potential of these heated beds.

The butter began to melt and our mouths started watering.


Sadly the 19.5V were not enough to bring the heated plate to temperature and brown the pancakes, so we did have slightly undercooked pancakes for all. And everybody knows, the first pancake is always the test.


The next ones, we promise, will be lovely. And we will fully document this reuse idea with adequate safety disclaimers. This served as a really inspiring and unexpected start to our reuse project. Get in touch if you’d like to help write the Cookbook with us.

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