3D printed dispenser flings treats at your pets


If you’re stuck in the virtual world like [Kevin Flynn] you can still make sure your pup is rewarded for good behavior. Just follow [Jwarp's] design for this Internet connect dog treat dispenser.

We were actually a bit surprised by the demo video. It shows that the compact unit is more than capable of reliably dispensing one treat at a time. It started as a wood prototype which allowed him to tweak how the servo motors worked before laying out all of the 3D parts in Sketch Up. Two motors cooperate to get the job done. The first allows one treat to exit that shoot coming from the center of the hopper. The other stirs the remaining inventory to both position the next treat and loosen any jams.

The base of the hopper serves as an enclosure of the Arduino UNO and an Ethernet Shield. A simple website is polled continuously. When it is found to contain the dispense command the hardware goes into action. The link above leads to the build photos, but there’s a bit of background info included in the Reddit thread.

This will go nicely with that automatic feeder you’ve been meaning to tackle.


  1. Doug says:

    “The first allows one treat to exit that shoot …”
    It’s called a chute, not shoot.

  2. Jeremy Cook says:

    That is one confused dog! You’re right, it looks quite reliable for a “hack.”

  3. biomed says:

    You’ll shoot ‘yer eye out kid!

  4. az1324 says:

    How long before the dog hacks it by tipping it over?

  5. macona says:

    OK, something pretty petty has been bugging me. Please use the term RC Servos instead of servo motors. I keep getting disappointed when I see cheap RC servos billed as servo motors. Yeah, they technically are, but still… That would be like calling a printer a stepper motor because it has one in it.

    • wernicke says:

      good… I’m not the only one. I design with $1000-$2000 industrial servomotors everyday at my day job, and these just aren’t the same. To me, it’s like calling an arduino a computer.

      • Mike Szczys says:

        Teach me Obi Wan. One of you guys needs to publish a guide on the differences. Send the link to tips@hackaday.com and I’ll see if we can clear things up. I can’t be the only one who doesn’t know the difference

        • Jim says:

          From wikipedia “Servomechanism, or servo, a device used to provide control of a desired operation through the use of feedback”

          I typically think of a servo as an electric motor with positional feedback from either a quadrature encoder or a resolver, and sometimes a tachogenerator for velocity feedback powered from some sort of a servo amplifier, which is controlled by some form of a computer. Some servo drives take step/direction inputs like a stepper setup, but most I’m familiar with have an analog input that is +/- 10v. The motors I’m familiar with are 1-2Kw servos on CNC machine tools.

          An RC servo is a motor, controller, and feedback all put into one little ready to go package. I’s input is in the form of a pwm signal and the amount of energy it can exert is very small and it’s abilities are very limited compared to the big servo setups

      • macona says:

        I also work with CNC machines, mostly FANUC based but a few with Mitsubishi controls. Heck, even all my home CNC stuff has Mitsubishi servos in it.

    • Sven says:

      I think that’s fair, since it is an RC servo or model servo, it should be billed as such to avoid confusion. Using the term “servo” would be fine as well, but “servo motor” is kind of a strange label. Like how a car can be called a “motor”, but calling it a “car motor” would give strange associations.

      Your regular arduino home hacker would probably be just as disappointed if he ordered a “servo” and received an industrial servo motor that he had no way to drive or get feedback from.

  6. the dog says:

    I’ve been good if I eat one treat…I’ve been great if I tip the box over!

  7. No Name says:

    Stupid dog. Mine would take the goodies directly out of the machine…

  8. dog doggy dog says:

    Tipping is a factor to deal with, obviously. But smart placement of the unit can solve that (e.g. secure it to a shelf and add a lid). Another issue is that the chute is right above the Arduino. Cat/Dog food pebbles shed grease/dust particles that accumulate over time. The Arduino might not play well with that. A protective plastic sheet cover over the Arduino would do it. Another risk is pet paws/claws doing damage to the electronics. (“Hey, food comes from that hole there, I’ll poke it and see if more comes”).

  9. Anonymous says:

    It’s a nice project, but I don’t see why it had to be 3D printed. It looks like it’s made of simple flat parts screwed together, which could be just about any material. I think it would look really nice with a wood base and clear acrylic hopper.

    This must be how the Arduino groaners must feel…

    • Philip says:

      As an individual with open access to a Dimension RP machine as well as a machine shop, I agree.

      There are details which could need to be RP’d (the chute, for example), but the majority of the parts might have been card stock, foam board, wood, or any other flat and easily worked material.

      Neat thingy all the same.

  10. Hattr says:

    I dont know if its based of this project or not but ben heck did a 3 part video build of an internet connected dog treat dispenser back in may.

  11. echodelta says:

    Flings and shoot both imply that the kibble doesn’t fall out of the hopper chute. Read check. The dog will run to the machine when it makes noise and await the very predictable delivery of said treat. Flinging would be far more interesting for the dog. Oh! Zing, boink where did it go sniff sniff sniff…oh here it is yum!
    Hopper gets a F+ for unformed ends. Bin at dollar store, cheap. Bin with four cracks and no top printer time and filament, $$$.

  12. clin23 says:

    I think my dog would just destroy the machine and eat the treats inside(and probably eat some of the parts of the machine too).

  13. kajer says:

    I’d be more worried about the dog seeking me out when I am working with servos elsewhere in the house; Now that there is a sound assosication between plastic gear reduction and food.

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