Drink Making Unit


3 breast pumps, a Meggy jr RGB (slightly modified) and copious amounts of alcohol. This sounds like a typical weekend at HAD headquarters, but it is in fact the parts list for the Drink Making Unit by Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. Created for the upcoming Barbot 2010 event, this unit is a cocktail mixer. Load 3 liquids in, program the Meggy and you can push a button to dispense. We are pleased to see how much they modified off the shelf components to make this happen. Yes, there could be major improvements like mixing, more liquid reservoirs, and a better cooling system, but we think this thing is pretty slick.

35 thoughts on “Drink Making Unit

  1. The author says: “Amazon sells a pair of these “Evenflo Comfort Select Performance” units for $45. (Try as I might, I could not find a three-pack anywhere.)”

    Slow down for a minute and *think*…how many breasts come standard-equipment on your typical woman? Bingo! There’s your answer!

    If you are looking for a “three-pack” you might try shopping at the Mars colony featured in the movie “Total Recall.” (If you’ve seen the flick you know what I mean.)



  2. So basically it looks like programming only refers to what appears on the Meggy Jr. The buttons are nothing more than over engineered on/off switches. Timing of the shot is by hitting the button a second time when you think you’ve poured enough. He added transistors to them for what reason I’m not sure since just an on/off switch with long wires are all that these buttons seem to function as. This might be impressive if you could actually select a drink, hit go and wait for your nectar of the gods to dispense.

  3. I think ultimately, a rig holding a bottle upside-down for gravity feeding would be best, valve control and scale to measure by weight as Mike mentioned. Would be a nifty project. Maybe integrate a flash card with different mix recipes and choose from a menu.

  4. I feel strangely let down by the false promise this article provided. I expected to see him choose a cocktail from a selection determined by his the liquids ‘in stock’ and press a single button to have the machine do it all for him.

    Right now about the only thing this is good for is people who can’t lift bottles.

    Oh, plus his cream is going to go rancid unless he cools the liquids in their containers rather than when pouring them.

  5. I agree with Chris, I think the soda fountain pumps that pull the syrup out of those syrup bags would’ve been far more effective.

    Also, I hope they plan on making it more automated, otherwise it seems like this is a bit of a waste.

  6. Back in the 1970s, Barron Hilton (head of the hotel chain) presented a paper to the American Astronautical Society describing a future resort in space. In that paper, he described a space-going bar that reminds me of this set-up.

    Hilton’s idea was to have a supply of plain ethanol in a computer controlled dispenser. When an order came in, the computer would mix ethanol and water (for the proper alcohol content) and then add flavor in the form of a tablet (think AlkaSeltzer) or freeze-dried mix. The idea was to at least re-create the flavor and effect of, say, a martini without having to carry a few dozen different kinds of liquor into orbit.

    Alas, like the orbiting Hilton itself, this particular future never materialized.

  7. I agree with previous comments; I expected it at least to pour one drink by itself.
    It’s not bad, but references to EML and “program the Meggy” gave me false hopes!

    Anyway, could a “poor man’s version” be made using gravity instead of pumps?

  8. Most of you seem to be suggesting *more* efficient ways to make a drink.

    That’s kind of missing the point, don’t you think? In nine out of ten drinkbots picking up the bottles and pouring it yourself is more efficient; we’re having some fun with it, and purposefully using equipment that isn’t normally used.

  9. I don’t think it’s missing the point at all. People have other ideas and post them up here, some add on, others come up with better.

    I think you might have missed a point of the message board.

  10. You must realize that this is very much a hacked-together solution, built in a short amount of time for display at the BarBot convention they were invited to. Is it possible to program in some drink recipes? Sure! But I don’t think they ever intended for this machine to be a competitor to bigger, more serious drink mixing robots. It’s just to show what you can do with a few off-the-shelf parts available almost anywhere (aside from the hacked Meggy jr).

  11. @Windell: Was it worth the $90 spent on the breast pumps, plus other costs? If I were spending that much on a project, I’d try and make something usable. Also, no, this isn’t a ‘Rube Goldberg style drinkbot’ (self-reply on his site). I don’t think anyone else will associate this thing with Rube Goldberg either. Let’s see, which is more of a conversation piece? A fully capable and well-designed drinkbot, able to actually serve guests at a small party, or a poorly-designed and completely unusable ‘drinkbot’ with no Rube Goldberg elements in it at all whatsoever? Hmm. I do wonder.

  12. @deathventure
    >I think you might have missed a point of the message board.

    Probably not; I read hackaday daily.

    @ yhalothar
    A Rube Goldberg device is one that does things in a far more complicated way than necessary. The easy way is to just pick up the bottles. Or the obvious “drinkbot” way– three inverted bottles with solenoid valves — has been done zillions of times.

    You can call it “completely unusable” if you want to, but that’s simply not the case. It’s actually quite useable, even though it’s not up to your standards. :)

  13. @Carl – The syrup pumps on fountain machines are C02 powered so it would make it more complicated. Thats what the lazydrinker uses.

    That pump, although food grade, just is effective enough to be practical. They would have been better off using windshield wiper pumps they are cheap but not food grade.

  14. wow- if it automatically turned on and off each ingredient to pour thee PERFECT white russian.. than maybe the drip drip drip would be tolerable. however in its current state.. it seems like a glorified reason to play with a scrolling LED matrix…

  15. good start, but needs work, the only positive thing is that if it’s used in a loud bar, you would never notice the noise this thing puts out; no one would want to wait that long for a drink though. my 13 year old girl walked in while the video was going, she said “that’s really loud”

  16. How do the breast pumps work?
    Is there any way to “over drive” them?
    What I mean is to give the motors more voltage, to make it go faster…without burning it out? Or damaging the pump parts.
    If the flow could be increased this would be a great thing. I’ve been working on and off on a barbot, and beverage pumps are not cheap or simple, and windshield washer pumps aren’t food grade. This seems like a happy medium. But being so slow kills its utility.

  17. @vikki You’re right, you’ll never hear it in a bar. The pumps aren’t really all that loud; it’s mainly that the room was quiet and the camera was about six inches away.

    @ Fallen For this video we’re running one pump at a time to show the process. With all three pumps running full out, the drink can be ready in 30 s.

  18. I have a different approach to dispense alcohol but it involves solenoids and co2. Much faster. Drunk people just don’t want to wait. There is more to my idea which I cant say yet, but I found that gravity is too messy it leaks. Especially when someone is drunk and trying to refill the bottle. Motors go bad when the liquid is too thick.
    So that is why I chose co2. It’s cheaper to make, repair and to clean.

  19. I built an automatic cocktail mixer – one touch and it”d mix a cocktail for you. Only had 3 channels so I got the highschool kids I was working with to get it to mix colours of food dye to indicate how it worked, seeing as you can’t make many drinks with only 3 mixers.

  20. i think i could make the unit safer by having a slot in the front of the unit and a couple angled baffles to make the can drop zig zag into the crusher.

    a child may want to try holding the can and the lid switch while hitting the button.

    this would make it much more difficult for a child to put their hand in the machine.

  21. Very poorly thought out and executed. Watching the ‘cream’ come out of the first pump was nauseating. And the fact that it requires human interaction to activate the three drinks means there is no automation at all, it would be far easier and far more normal/appealing to just pour the drinks out of the bottle. This thing will just scare people away.

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