Wednesday, September 6, 2017

3D Printed packaging equipment

I always have several different odd projects going on, one of which is something I do not write about much here.  That is food and re-creating normally purchased food items at home.

Over the last couple years, thru trial and error, I have developed a hot sauce, chili oil, and gourmet vinegar recipes.

I use a lot of hot sauce in the house, and the gold standard is Tabasco, Franks, and some of the Mexican brands, depending on the food.

However living in SE Asia on a Island, presents itself with a bit of a difficulty in finding it at a reasonable price.  I can purchase local brands, but they are really low quality and consist of a lot of food coloring, corn starch, paprika, xanthan gum, sugar and chili powder.

So thru trial and error, I developed a recipe of hot sauce using 4 different chiles, vinegar, salt, and a couple other ingredients to get a near perfect replica of Tabasco.

Along the way, I also came up with a hot chile oil recipe as the store bought stuff is very expensive.

My vinegar was just a experiment as vinegar locally is very cheap, but its either super processed, without much flavor, or of uncertain quality and not known if produced in a sanitary facility.

I have a new project starting up that will bring in some money, and I am looking at diversifying things into making a gift pack of chili oil, vinegar, and hot sauce, in a nice laser engraved wood box and sell near where the local tourists go to Church.  There is a mall next door and quite frankly the quality of souvenirs is just shit.  So I was thinking of putting up a nice folksy wood mall kiosk with these fancy wood boxes and hot sauce.

The issue is the start up costs and packaging equipment.

I grew up working in the family food processing plant.  We usually did between 1/2 to one semi truck load of product a week and the production was semi automated.

So I got to thinking as to how I can build my own bottling machine using 3D printed parts.

It came to me that a perlistatic pump will work quite well if driven by a stepper motor.  

These little pumps are $75USD on Ali Express plus shipping or about $4 in plastic and $4 in roller bearings.

Combined with a Arduino 3D printer electronic kit ($35) I can create a g code to dispense a measured amount, control 2 heaters and I have 6 end stops all driven from a SD card and LCD screen.

What do you think?

1 comment:

Phil said...

Sounds cheap enough.
Ya lost me with the electronics and such but it doesn't sound like it would take up too much room either.
I take it you don't have to worry about the government kicking down your door and throwing you in jail for these kinds of things like they do here now if you aren't giving them a cut by buying a license and getting inspected and all the other horse shit they come up with.