Automated cat feeder and large plastic screws

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We’ve seen automated food dispensers for pets, but none that go so far as to build large plastic screws for dispensing kibble.

This isn’t [Mathieu]‘s first automatic cat feeder; an earlier version used a wheel to dispense cat food in excessively large version. To improve upon his first build, [Mathiu] decided to use an Archimedean screw to dispense food in 5 gram increments. There was a problem, though: a proper industrial screw cost about $1500 and the ‘consumer’ versions of what he wanted were trash. He though about casting one in epoxy but didn’t want to poison his cat with strange chemicals. He ended up using PolyMorph for his screw, a plastic that melts at 60º C and is also used in medical devices.

The electronics of the build are an Arduino, a  DS1307 real-time clock, LCD display, and a relay board powering an electric screwdriver motor. From the video demo below, we’re going to say [Mathieu] put together a pretty nice automated cat feeder.

Comments

  1. wretch says:

    The cat doesn’t look too happy with the new design. I think it prefers the previous version that dispensed larger quantities of cat food goodness. (c:

  2. Hirudinea says:

    Now I don’t speak French but I believe the bowl says “Feed me like a normal cat!”

  3. st2000 says:

    This can’t be right. Near as I can tell the bowl says: “hair cell that I love fish”.

  4. Error_user_unknown says:

    Categorical proof cat’s will out live us all ??

    Now add a ultrasonic range finder to cheek the level of the food and automatically purchase it from home delivery.

  5. vonskippy says:

    How big is the cat? That’s a lot of food. Plus the cat is probably intimidated by the ginormous “hacking up a hairball” sound the thing makes.

    • andres says:

      cats are incapable of feeling any emotion other than contempt

      • Eirinn says:

        And pleasure. Often contempt and pleasure at the same time!

        Joking aside, I have two persian cats and we leave the food out all the time – it seems to work fine :)

        • mgrenonville says:

          My cats eat everything in 5 minutes, and puke if there is a lot of food :(

          • Michael Tibballs says:

            That’s often a sign that they weren’t fed properly/regularly when they were young. Cat’s are natural hunters so they tend to only eat what they want when they’re hungry, unlike dogs who tend to be scavengers and if you leave food they’ll eat until they’re sick, in fact some will eat themselves to death.

            The best way to get your cat to stop doing it, is to try and feed them at around the same times everyday (also can try 2 or 3 smaller meals instead of 1 larger one) also put a little dry food down after they’ve finished eating and left the room, eventually they’ll learn that there is going to be food there for them and the don’t need to worry about going hungry.

            Hope that helps. :D

          • What kind of cat food are you feeding the cat?

            It is unfortunate but some manufacturers add flavoring to their food that will entice pets to eat more than they should. End result is more money spent on pet food and a sick pet. You should research the specific food you are feeding your cat and find out if other pet owners have the same over eating problem.

          • mgrenonville says:

            Our cats come from the local ASPCA, so, maybe they weren’t properly fed. One was found in garbage bag at 2 month and the other was diyng of coriza (don’t know the exact term in english, sorry, now, he sneeze a lot) !

            I tryed everything, pipolino, feeding at same time every day (including 6 month with pet feeder), and I will try 24 times a day with smaller dose.

            I use Royal Canin Light 40, but i will try to find if they add flavoring ;) Thanks a lot !

  6. Jan says:

    I’ve also built an automatic internet enabled catfeeder with the Arduino – if you’re interested please have a look at my project page (English version will follow): http://www.klomp.de/index.php/catfeeder

  7. echodelta says:

    Some cats are messy, some dispensers are too.
    Fire off bits of kibble at random intervals. Should stop the puking if they have to work for the food, and can’t bolt it down.

  8. Velli says:

    http://66.228.96.131/uploads/pdf/PEG_2314_0911CTFlex_AugerEM%281%29.pdf

    See the shape of the screw? Bendy!
    Can’t wait to see version three.

  9. tekym says:

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Automatic-fish-feeder-1/

    This seems like a much simpler method. Just a $10 hardware store augur bit, rather than a complicated plastic bidirectional screw. Couple it with a kitchen scale to measure the weight in the bowl in order to know when to stop and you’re done.

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