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:


50 Comments so far
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[…] im Netz gefunden, weiss nicht obs hier schon bekannt ist, wollte es euch aber nicht vorenthalten: Latte Art Printing Machine – how to build one! Oleksiy Pikalo Invents __________________ – Life is too short to drink bad coffee Faema Star, Demoka M203, CBR-101 und […]

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Die Zubereitung einer guten Latte Art setzt einiges vorraus: Eine passende Maschine, den perfekten Milchschaum, ein gutes Milchkännchen, ein ruhiges Händchen und natürlich viel, viel Übung. Oleksiy Pikalo hat es sich einfacher gemacht und das ganze…

Trackback by cyberdan's home

This is super cool! There are so many different food things you could plot on! Cookies, Cakes, Beer!

Comment by Mark

[…] Oleksiy Pikalo har laget en printer for å printe latte art. En slik printer kan du lage av en plotter og litt god oppfinsomhet og vips så har du en printer som kan printe huskelapper i kaffen din om morgenen. Video av maskinen i drift er lengre nede i posten. [via] link. […]

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[…] can you make coffee more interesting? You could print fancy designs on it. I am not sure how practical this is but WOW does it ever look […]

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[…] как делают украшения для кофе латте. Так вот, некто Олексий Пикало автоматизировал процесс создания картинок на кофе и […]

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[…] Coffee Printer Mar.17, 2008 By RussGadgets, How To Crafty fellows make a printer that prints on the top of your foamed coffee (latte).  Watch the video here and if you decide you are up for the challenge here is the DIY link. […]

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Sometime last year David Schomer, famous barista trainer, wrote an article in Barista Magazine predicting that automated machines will eventually be able to perfectly extract espresso more consistently than trained humans, leaving latte art the last pr…

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Vor einiger Zeit berichtete ich über die beeindruckende Fähigkeit, mit Milch kleine Bildchen auf den Cappuchino zu malen. Doch wie so häufig – jetzt löst die Technik das (alte) Handwerk ab. Oleksiy Pikalo hat sich einen Drucker geba…

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Kaffee, Kaffee, Kaffee……

Ein Drucker der Muster auf einen Latte-Macchiato druckt… Faszinierende Idee! Gerade neulich hab ich auch daran gedacht, dass es sowas eigentlich geben müsste… Erfunden hats ein Student (wer sonst) und das Video dazu sieht so aus:

Trackback by 85m² - WG-Weblog

That’s pretty amazing! We need more of these kind of unnecessary little inventions that make the world more interesting as opposed to more practical.

Comment by cstair

Hi there, i work at starbucks and i had a similar idea of doing this, its great seeing this in action although by the time its finished the foam can deterierate, maybe you need to speed the process up a little to make it viable, i would really like to see one done in color, if you use coffee for the ink you should put a little milk in it to make sure the taste stays good, you probably already know this though, add a little mark to the edge of your mug and make a detector so you dont have to align the cup everytime, im interested in more information about this please give me an email!!!

Comment by Robbie

Your concept is both brilliant and *wrong*. That is, the idea of using for coffee art is… fraught with missing the beauty of a latte, poured by hand into patterns. The art in the foam on a latte is a hallmark, a way to show the perfect relationship of foam density (satiny and smooth) and espresso, and the way the liquids have been blended in the pour so that no stirring is necessary to get a delicious first sip.

Your machine is clever, nevertheless. A faster model might even have applications other than as a curiousity.

Comment by Buttterflydreaming

Listen, I don’t drink latte usually, but I could drink a lot of latte with drawings I like!
Man, you’ll be a rich guy very soon!

Comment by Gustavo

Your business is in the Look at the Future (http://lookatthefuture2.blogspot.com/) because we believe that’s a good business idea. If you want, you can leave a comment.
Best wishes for your success.

Comment by Nuno

I think this is an incredibly cool concept, but I agree with those who say this isn’t a Starbucks idea. Starbucks is a fast food concept: quick service and market saturation. Market it to restaurants and local coffee shops.

Comment by Jason

Awesome idea but I think your promotion is a bit off. Starbucks is nice and all, however for this type of machine I would go more high-end on the spectrum of restaurants. Some thing more sit down and 6-10$ for a cup. As soon as your patient is through I would do self promotion in the form of live demos, and brochures. Trade shows are also a plus if you can save up money for a table.

Comment by Lisa L

This is a great invention, but not for Starbucks or any other coffee house. There is NO need for customizable latte logos. If they wanted to imprint logos on latte foam, all they need is a single metal “die” through which to push sugar liquid, or powdered cinnamon through in one shot, creating an image. That method would be cheap and take 5 seconds to use. Your method is what’s called “over engineering”. Great thing to geek out over, but not practical.

Comment by Arby

loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i need one of those! ur a genious ^^,

Comment by kletova

Wow, im really impressed. You was in german television yesterday. Amazing idea!

Comment by Philipp

Do you sell the machine?
I want to buy it. Please contact me.

Comment by Henny

[…] kunnen nerds toch mooi dingen maken. Neem nou de Latte Art Printing Machine, gemaakt van een oude plotter, die met voedingskleurstof in plaats van inkt, figuren print op een […]

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Wow! This is so cool, I wanna try! Of course, it takes a while to use that, so I’m not sure of it’s practical use, but it sure would be fun! 🙂

Comment by Liz

This opens up unlimited possibilities for latte art! I blogged about your invention today:

Comment by HawaiiVacationGifts

[…] apple or rosetta in your crema. Inventor Oleksiy Pikalo is taking it all to a new level, with his DIY Latte Art Printing Machine. I was a little surprised that someone with such an enterprising mind would already be trying to […]

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Looks wonderful, but by the time the printing is done, my latte will be cold?

Comment by Mariana

This is good news, Im really looking forward to playing around with it once the beta opens up.,

Comment by Julie

What fun……..might take a bit longer than the standard poor, but your creativity and innovation if first rate. Congrats on the idea……

Comment by Jeff Burgess

*lol* niiiice 🙂

Comment by Dieter

Great Art, fantastic – love it…..

Comment by remo

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