I have a dark secret that I feel like I need to share with you: I don’t particularly care for ice cream. After working in four — yes, four — different ice cream parlors as a teenager, I got pretty sick of the stuff. But, despite my shameful aversion to the frozen treat, even I’m tempted to recreate this fantastic automated ice cream maker built by Redditor Nrnn.
A typical parlor’s industrial ice cream machine is actually more simple than you’d think. They’re essentially larger chilled versions of the mixer you probably have in your kitchen, and workers just dump in measured quantities of ingredients to be churned. The mixture is then poured into a container and placed in a freezer to solidify. Nrnn’s 3D-printed ice cream maker is much more complex, and actually measures out the ingredients and mixes them automatically.
The two most important ingredients of ice cream are milk and sugar, which Nrnn’s machine feeds into a mixing bowl with a solid feed hopper and a pair of liquid pumps. It then mixes the ingredients at the proper temperature — though flavors need to be added manually. The entire process is handled by an Arduino, so the ingredient quantities and temperature can be precisely controlled. Once everything is thoroughly mixed, it’s put in the freezer, and a few hours later Nrnn has a batch of fresh ice cream!