Fancy beer pong table cleans your balls

Beer Pong seems to have been around for some time but it only recently exploded in to a universally known game. But one thing has always bothered us. Who wants to drink the beer into which that grimy little ball has fallen? Leave it to the frat boys at MIT to come up with a solution. Their beer pong table automatically cleans your balls.

Of course the table looks great. It’s outfitted with laser cut felt lettering on the apron, and the top features EL wire highlights. But the two features that really set it apart aren’t hard to spot either. First, there are rain gutters along either side to help catch the spillage. Secondly, that blue ring is actually the input nozzle for the ball cleaner. By pushing the ball through the vinyl sleeve it enters a recirculating liquid cleanser, popping out of the portal on the left a second later. That’s about all the details we have on the system, but you can get a closer look at the inner workings in the clip after the break.

The thing to remember is that these guys NEVER run out of ping-pong balls. They’ve got thousands on hand ever since they built this launcher.

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Automated home brewing system has an insanely professional controller

So you know how on Breaking Bad, the chemist [Gale Boetticher] sets up an impressive rig to brew the best cup of coffee? Well what do you think of a group of engineers taking on beer as their side project? This rig, which we do think is pretty insane, is the result of embedded system engineers developing an automated brewing system.

[Ben_B] started from humble beginnings. He built a PID controlled smoker much like the one we saw last Monday. From there he ground out several iterations of brewing hardware, adding a bit of automation at each step along the way. But things really took off when the events department at his company, National Instruments, took notice. They put the team on the task of assembling professional grade control hardware for the unit. And of course while we’re spending the company dime why not chrome those boiling vessels at the same time. The finished project was shown off at a trade show to help promote the company.

The post thread linked at the top has shots of the complicated mounting and wiring that went into the controller. We’re not sure how much intervention is actually necessary during a session. But with all the sensors, pumps, valves, filters, and whatnot we wouldn’t be surprised if all you need to do is pitch some yeast into what comes out of it.

Building a Recirculating Infusion Mash System for your brewing pleasure

If you’re into all-grain brewing a little automation goes a long way. [Tom Hargrave] had his eye on a Recirculating Infusion Mash System (RIMS) but the price tag kept him from pulling the trigger. Recently he bit the bullet and built his own small and inexpensive RIMS for use with the 10 gallon cooler he uses as a mash tun.

Mashing is the part of brewing process that collects sugars from the milled grains. Water needs to move through the grain mash and should be kept within a narrow temperature window. This RIMS hardware does that automatically by combining a pump, the heating element from an electric water heater, and a temperature sensor. The wooden disc fits on the top of the mash tun and tubing lets the pump move the liquids as needed. The one thing missing from this build is the PID controller to automate the process. After the break we’ve embedded a video from a separate project that shows off how the PID control would work with a system like this one.

If you’re into automated home brewing you’ll also like this mini-batch brewing setup.

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Electronic beer pong removes beer from the equation

You can take the guy out of the frat house, but you can’t take the frat house out of the guy. [Evan Flint] proves this with his incessant need to have a beer pong game at all of his parties. But now that he’s growing up, and living in nicer places, he doesn’t necessarily want to have the oft-messy game in his home. So he found an electronic solution to his problem. Electropong is like an electronic dart board for playing beer pong. You won’t find beer in the cups, but you’ll still find plenty of fun.

The game includes the triangle of cups that makes up a traditional playing area. In the bottom of each cup is an RGB LED that will keep track of each player’s hits by lighting the cup in that team’s color. Illuminated buttons provide a way to control the game, with an LED marquee to read out the score.

[Evan] mentions some difficulty in recreating the physics of a cup full of beer. He says he overcame the challenge, but alas, there are no details on how. We’ve asked him to update his post so check back for more info.

5-keg tap system treats your home brew right

One of the biggest expenses when moving to a kegging system for your homebrew beer is finding a way to keep it cold. [Sanchmo] took a traditional route of using a chest freezer, but a bit of extra effort made the ordinary looking appliance into a 5 tap showpiece in his livingroom.

Home brewing is most often done in five gallon batches, so Cornelius kegs (for soda) work perfectly. The chest freezer used here has plenty of room for five of them and a canister of carbon dioxide.  A temperature controller (something along these lines) turns the freezer into a refrigerator. But to make it beautiful [Sanchmo] hit the wood shop pretty hard. He screwed a sheet of plywood to the lid and then trimmed it out, along with a tower to hold the taps. This was further accented with the inclusion of some LEDs for effect.

We did find one word of warning in the Reddit discussion. It’s possible that the original metal housing of the freezer is used as a heat sink which is now covered in wood paneling. We’re not sure if this is true of this particular model or not, but some investigation is warranted if you’re thinking of building your own.

Force carbonating root beer with dry ice

[Paul] is sick and tired of his homemade root beer being flat. He analyzed the problem with his carbonation techniques and ended up with a method of force carbonating beverages using dry ice.

He starts of by discussing the various methods that are used to carbonate beverages. There’s the old yeast and sugar trick that takes place inside of a sealed bottle. But this takes time, and if you don’t calculate the mixture correctly you could have over or under carbonated bottles (or exploding bottles in the case of glass beer bottling). [Paul] himself has tried the dry ice in a cooler full of root beer method. The problem is that the cooler isn’t pressurized so the carbonation level is very low. You need to have cold temperatures, high pressure, and the presence of carbon dioxide all at the same time in order to achieve high levels of carbonation.

His solution is to use a 60 PSI safety valve. He drilled a hole in a plastic bottle cap to receive the valve. He then drops a few chunks of dry ice in and seals it up. The valve will automatically release the gas as the pressure builds past the 60 PSI mark. What he ends up with is a highly carbonated beverage in a matter of minutes.

If you don’t mind spending some cash you can use an adjustable pressure regulator. This way you can carbonate just about anything.

[Thanks Steven]

Kegerator tallies your pints on Untappd while you sit back with a cold one

untappd-auto-checkin

[Jeff] admits that he’s pretty well addicted to Untappd, a site he describes as a Foursquare for beer. Like his fellow beer nerds, he enjoys reporting the pints he’s had, even if they happen to be from his own stash of homebrew kegs. Untappd certainly supports this level of dedication, but it seemed silly to [Jeff] that he needed to grab his phone each time he poured himself a cold one in the comfort of his own home.

He took a look around the room and spied an Arduino doing a whole lot of nothing, so he set off to build a system that would allow him to automatically record his drinking habits without the use of his smartphone. The system is not overly complex, and measures pours using flow sensors, uploading the results to Untappd using their “check-in” API. [Jeff] was sure to include several other useful features into his build, including a lockout timer that prevents multiple check-ins when simply topping off a pint, as well as “neighbor mode” which lets you pour a round for friends without recording the pour.

Be sure to check out the build in its entirety on [Jeff’s] site, and let us know if you’re doing something equally cool with your keg setup at home.