JHC Anniversary Building Challenge competitors
Created 15.12.2023
Updated 10.1.2024

Philipp Grube, an ERASMUS student from Germany, studies computer engineering and loves baking – obviously. Grube won the JHC Anniversary Building Challenge with his Wooden Dough Machine (WDM) and was awarded a 1,000-euro prize sponsored by the Association of Finnish Wood Industries.

This is how Grube described the WDM in his competition presentation:

“Homemade dough is delicious, but time consuming and hard on the hands. The WDM is a handy tool for anyone who wants to enjoy the taste of homemade dough-based dishes without the physical strain and mess often associated with the process. It combines traditional craftsmanship with modern design to offer a convenient solution for all your dough making needs.”

Grube says his passion is to build, repair and optimize things himself. With his DIY projects over the past few years, Grube has been able to expand his experience in the processing of various materials.

The prize money Grube will spend on a 3D printer – for rapid prototyping.


The machine

  • is very sustainable, as 100% of its parts are made of wood
  • works with muscle power so it’s eco-friendly
  • is suitable for both kneading and rolling out the dough
  • has an adjustable transmission ratio to control the dough's thickness
  • includes several features, such as a large mixing bowl, measuring vessels and a flour dispenser
  • has an ergonomic crank handle
Wooden dough machine
The Wooden Dough Machine by Philipp Grube.

"A showcase for ambitious and creative wood construction"

The winner was chosen by LUT’s Professor of Practice Jamie Hyneman and Executive Manager Janne Liias of the Association of Finnish Wood Industries. The jury stated that the device was the most complete work, a beautiful and elegant composition, and clearly showed what the intent and utility was. The winning machine was relatively complex – and its complexity was entirely visible. It was also an aesthetic design element, which made it a showcase for ambitious and creative wood construction.

“The maker also utilized several different techniques and different types of wood. The design was done in CAD, both solid wood and plywood were used, and CNC, laser and manual cutting was done. All in all, it was a very well-conceived and executed project, and the builder should be commended for turning out something that is a prototype but approaches a level of an actual manufactured and saleable product,” the jury says.

According to the jury, all the works in the competition showed focus, inventiveness, and a clear understanding of the goal, which was to explore a range of novel applications for sustainable materials.

I'm a big fan of Northern Europe. I've already been to Denmark and Sweden. As an angler and nature lover, Finland is a great place to be. I will remember this time very fondly – the JHC challenge was the perfect way to round it off.
Philipp Grube

Baking experiments will continue

Grube says he’s been experimenting in his kitchen since he started studying in Hanover.

“I love making homemade pasta and dough for wraps or pizza. When I arrived here in Lappeenranta, I bought a huge bowl in my second week to make dough for stick bread, pizza and cinnamon buns. As my new friends liked it, I had to deal with several kilos of dough. Preparing it by hand is difficult and that was the starting point for the WDM.”

The design of the machine’s CAD model (digital version) took him 80 hours over multiple weeks, and the physical model out of wood 60 hours in seven days.

Next, Grube will try to reduce the machine’s friction and make a wooden thread for the positioning of the drive gear. The dough machine also needs finishing touches to make it food safe. Grube intends to present and advance his dough machine back in Germany at MakerLab Hanover at Leibniz University.

“Of course, I’ll use this machine at home to prepare more dough for me and my friends,” he says.

As for the commercializing of the product, Grube thinks that depends on the endurance tests at home.

“Maybe I'll already have the next idea while eating a pizza,” he grins.

Rector Juha-Matti Saksa and competition winner Philipp Grube.
Rector Juha-Matti Saksa met the JHC competition winner Philipp Grube.

J. Hyneman Center

LUT's JHC brings together students, university researchers and companies to create innovations for a sustainable future.

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