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Pet Feeder

by DougCostlow, published

Pet Feeder by DougCostlow Nov 9, 2012
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15934Views 2696Downloads Found in Pets
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Summary

This is my auger based pet feeder inspired by the work of Tunell and kitlaan here on Thingiverse. The design centers on using a PVC plumbing tee and printed parts to build an auger screw conveyor that dispenses pet food. The screw is driven by standard hobby servo which can be controlled by your favorite microcontroller. This means anything can control the pet feeder activation, a simple timer, a smart phone, twitter, your own brain waves or even better your pet's brain waves!

Instructions

I have posted the complete build instructions on Instructables http://www.instructables.com/id/Pet-Feeder/

The pet feeder is design to work with a 2” PVC plumbing tee, a standard size servo modified for continuous rotation and is assembled using 4-40 machine screws and nuts. I used a plastic pitcher as a hopper which is attached with screws to the funnel, but any suitable replacement could be used. Two stands form the base of the feeder and could be cut from most sheet material on a cnc router or laser cutter. I have included the dxf file for the stands.

Its up to you to decide how to control the activation on the feeder but I will note that servo cannot just be driven forward each time you would like to dispense pet food, this will result in jams and a stalled servo. I have found that a pattern of first rotating the screw 60degrees backward and then 120degrees forward clears kibble jams. Just repeat this sequence as needed to dispense the required amount of food.

The parts were inspired by Tunell and kitlaan but I created my own models for everything with Solidworks. My Solidworks files are in the zipped folder which includes the assembly from the picture.

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I like the simplicity of this and agree to the openendedness of how it can be controlled. However not that it is crucial in this application but could you think of a simple way (without additional electronics) to seal off the reservoir of pet food when the system is not dispensing it? Wish I had this in person to take a look myself for a suitable way todo that. Great work.

Nice work!  (Now I want a CNC machine :)

Some notes for your future tinkering:

  • I found I had to add extra weight in my box (5lb).  One day I came back to it moved a few feet away.
  • When we were out for a week, the cats decided they wanted to find out how it worked.  I hadn't closed up the control wiring yet and they had a field day :)
  • One of the cats learned to scoop food from the auger front, so I had to cover the upper portion.
  • As you see associated with my design, I needed a slight lip/spout to help kibble flow to the dish, rather than just free-falling.

Thanks, I'll post a video once I decide how I'm going to control the feeder and do some testing

OK, you just solved a serious problem. My wife isn't sure about the amount I've plonked down on a Makerbot 2 (still to be delivered!), but this will sell it 100%!

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