This week’s selection is the Automated Pringles Can by Dylan Mandelbaum.
This over-engineered project solves a rather common problem encountered by first-world folks: an inability to get chips out of a Pringles can.
Pringles are those ubiquitous potato chips (or “crisps” for some folks), but unlike “natural” chips, Pringles are all identical, having been pressed out of a giant chip machine somewhere and stacked in the space-saving cylindrical can.
The chip and can are a wondrous design: almost 100% of the available volume is occupied by chips. An equivalent amount of chips in a traditional bag would be much larger, and much more fragile.
However, with all those amazing benefits, the Pringles design has a notable flaw: after chowing down the first few chips, they become notably more challenging to extract from the can. Because the chips precisely fit the can’s shape you cannot squeeze your fingers around the next chip, and the usual solution is to tip the can over.
But about half the time you end up with ALL the chips in your lap, plus a pile of crumbs.
If only there were a way to solve this difficult problem!
Now, there is, thanks to Mandelbaum’s massively over-engineered solution. Let’s watch it in action:
The solution includes a twin-threaded rod elevation mechanism, powered by manual rotation of the lower ring. The speed of chip delivery is moderated by the speed of ring rotation, providing good tactile feedback.
It’s a great mechanical design, although the utility might be questioned by some readers. After all, it is possible to extract chips from a Pringles can manually.
Some may say the project is vastly over-engineered.
And they’d be correct.
Some may say the project is useless.
And they’d also be correct.
On Instagram, the official Pringles account said:
“Genius. Next thing to solve: teleportation”
But I say its lack of utility shows the power of 3D printing. When the ability to make anything is in your hands, that’s exactly what happens: you make “anything”. Including a machine to solve a problem in the most complex manner possible.
But what does designer Mandelbaum have to say about this project?
Reddit contributor asked, “ok but how do you stop [eating]?” To which Mandelbaum replied:
“I have eaten so many Pringles in the last few days I came close to rendering this project useless (well, more useless).”