Oleksiy Pikalo Invents

Latte Art Printing Machine – how to build one!
October 12, 2007, 3:41 pm
Filed under: Patent Pending | Tags: , , ,

Note: Due to the overwhelming response, I have decided to form a company OnLatte, Inc. Our new address is http://onlatte.com

Note: if you are willing to register, you can help me to promote this idea on MyStarbucksIdea site

Long time ago, I saw a great video about “Latte Art”, and figured that I absolutely must build a machine capable of printing the most beautiful art on top of my latte. So I bought a used x-y flatbed plotter (Philips 8155) on eBay and a great book by Matt Gilliland, titled “Inkjet Applications”. I put the two together, to get this nice Latte Art Printing Machine. Here is an brief video my friend Mike took (sorry for poor quality, off topic discussions, and amused laughter of my friends):

In this video I print out Starbucks logo for fun. At the very end of the video, the copyright sign gets printed on the edge of the cup.

So the question is, how can you build a system like this?

You will need:

1) An old flatbed plotter (in my case it was Philips 8155) – make sure it has real x-y translation stage. Your best bet is to perform a search on eBay for flatbed plotter. On a good day, you may get a decent fully working plotter for under 100$. I got mine for 175$ with shipping, because I wanted A3 format for later use, and a bunch of pens.

2) Most old plotters connect through GPIB/Serial interface -mine connected through GPIB interface, so I needed a GPIB card, which I also got on eBay. I got my card for around 30$, because the one I purchased was not a popular kind (LTP1 – GPIB).

3) Matt Gilliland’s book Inkjet Applications. It looks like Parallax has this fabulous kit on 40% sale for 59.95$

4) A small 12V relay (my plotter lowers pen by applying 12V to the solenoid). This relay will enable the stream of ink from the inkjet cartridge.

5 ) Edible ink – preferably brown. You can work with coffee directly instead of ink, but the contrast is not as good as with ink. Again, I got mine on eBay.

Here is another image:
Promote this idea at Starbucks!

The image of the king is taken from David’s Bellot SVG cards site.

Here is another video in high resolution: