Brewing beer or making wine at home isn’t complicated but it does require an attention to detail and a willingness to measure and sanitize things multiple times, particularly when tracking the progress of fermentation. This job has gotten easier thanks to the iSpindel project; an ESP8266 based IoT device intended as a DIY alternative to a costly commercial solution.
Tracking fermentation normally involves a simple yet critical piece of equipment called a hydrometer (shown left), which measures the specific gravity or relative density of a liquid. A hydrometer is used by winemakers and brewers to determine how much sugar remains in a solution, therefore indicating the progress of the fermentation process. Using a hydrometer involves first sanitizing all equipment. Then a sample is taken from the fermenting liquid, put into a tall receptacle, the hydrometer inserted and the result recorded. Then the sample is returned and everything is cleaned. [Editor (and brewer)’s note: The sample is not returned. It’s got all manner of bacteria on/in it. Throw those 20 ml away!] This process is repeated multiple times, sometimes daily. Every time the batch is opened also increases the risk of contamination. Continue reading “IoT Device Pulls Its Weight in Home Brewing”→
Now, over the holiday season there seems to be a predilection towards making merry and bright. As many an engineer and otherwise are sure to note, fine alcohols will facilitate this process. One such warm holiday beverage is mulled wine; there are many traditions on how to make it, but a singular approach to preparing the beverage would be to re-purpose an old PC and a CPU liquid cooling unit into a mulled wine heating station.
Four years ago, [Adam] found himself staring at a pile of mostly obsolete PCs in his IT office and pondering how they could be better used. He selected one that used a power-hungry Pentium 4 — for its high heat output — strapped a liquid cooling block to the CPU and pumped it full of the holiday drink. It takes a few hours to heat three liters of wine up to an ideal 60 Celsius, but that’s just in time for lunch! The Christmastime aroma wafting through the office is nice too.
[Niklas Roy] is at it again. Summer time means beer time and what better way for him to distribute beer at outdoor parties than a with an amazingly agile remote controlled beer crate capable of handling rough backyard terrain. With the controller firmly in hand he could even institute a leave-an-empty, take-a-beer policy to speed clean-ups.
We’ve seen awesome beer dispensing robots with all the bells and whistles in the past, from ones that are moving coolers, decapping the beer before handing it off, to BREWSTER the modified roomba who’ll fetch you a beer from a mini-fridge. [Niklas]’ RC beer crate sits at the simplicity end of the spectrum, reminding us of the no nonsense Star Wars mouse droid that wandered the Death Star’s corridors. The beer crate sits on a low wooden platform with a lip added to it to keep the crate from sliding off. Under the platform are your basics: 2-channel RC receiver from a cheap toy car, H-bridges, two windscreen wiper motors and wheels, a LiPo battery, an on/off switch and two casters. For an arcade feel, the RC controller is a modified Competition Pro offering retro joystick steering.
As you can see from the video after the break (with a party-appropriate Metal soundtrack) it’s incredibly stable, moving rapidly over patio stones, from patios stones to dirt and lawn and even up messy inclines. This one’s sure to add excitement to many parties, while keeping party goers well served.
Say hello to my little friend, lovingly named Flaschen Taschen by the members of Noisebridge in San Francisco. It is a testament to their determination to drink Corona beer get more members involved in building big displays each year for the Bay Area Maker Faire. I pulled aside a couple of the builders for an interview despite their very busy booth. When you have a huge full-color display standing nine feet tall and ten feet wide it’s no surprise the booth was packed with people.
Check out the video and then join me after the break for more specifics on how they pulled this off.
[Luke] brews his own beer. And like all beer brewers, he discovered that the worst part of homebrewing is cleaning out all the bottles. Time for a kegging system! And that means, time for a kegerator to keep the brew cold.
Normal kegerators are just a few holes drilled in an appropriate refrigerator. Most fridges have a step in the back where the compressor lives, which makes kegs an awkward fit, so [Luke] decided to build his own refrigerator.
He used beautiful wood and plenty of insulation. He failed, though, because he succumbed to the lure of the Peltier cooler. If there’s one problem with Peltier projects, it’s building first and looking up the specs second. They never have enough cool-juice. To quote [Luke]:
“… a comment I had seen somewhere on the Internet began to sink in: all projects involving peltier devices ultimately end in disappointment.“
(Bolding and italics from the original.) But at least he learned about defrosting, and he had a nice wood-paneled fridge-box in the basement.
Rather than give up, he found a suitable donor fridge, ripped out its guts, and transplanted them into his homemade box. A beautiful tap head sitting on top completes the look. And of course, there’s an ESP8266 inside logging the temperature and controlling the compressor, with all the data pushed out over WiFi. Try doing that with your Faraday Cage metal fridge!
[Brody Berson] is at it again, but this time he’s hacked the services floating in the aether around him to give him beer on demand. Finally the future we’ve been waiting for.
This hack is not as hacky as his first one, which, at the push of a button, could summon a bad driver straight to his house who would then give him pizza. The first one was done with a modified version of a button used to summon paper towels; because there’s nothing like needing paper towels RIGHT NOW, and then pushing a button to get them a few days later.
Apparently Amazon saw how practically no one was pushing the dish detergent button, but a lot of people were making scary mailboxes and magic pizza apps after ruthlessly scratching the branding off. So they shrugged and decided to sell the buttons as the newly branded (these get more hilarious when you don’t use the acronyms) Amazon, Amazon Web Services Internet of Things Button. Now your button can die along with the internet because Amazon is hosting your Raspberry Pi for a small fee, neat.
Anyway, [Brody] did some research on the best beer delivery services in his area, and went with one called Drizzly because they had a nice API. After integrating this system with Amazon’s, he can now push a button and minutes later, after subtracting some currencies from his account, a bad driver will show up and hand him beer.
There’s just something about having an automatic bartending machine that screams “we’re in the future now” — and it’s a future we approve of. This project is called the Alkomat (Google Translate), and it’s a handy little machine capable of mixing drinks for five people at a time.
Inspired by the RumBot, [Strn] wanted to practice his hand at hardware integration and product development from idea to creation — and just looking at some of the photos of this, he did a damn good job.
On the inside of Alkomat is a recycled inkjet XY carriage which can index on each of the five drinks. A series of four tubes feed up to peristaltic pumps that provide alcohol from the bar rack. Once he had the hardware sorted out and operational, he set out to make the machine look as presentable as possible. Using a mixture of counter-tops and laminated wood panels from furniture, he’s boxed up the whole thing and made it look like something you might actually be able to buy from a store — maybe IKEA?