Totally Useless Coffee Dispenser Is Anything But

Good coffee is nice to have, sure, but frankly, caffeine is caffeine and we’ll take it any way we can get it. That includes freeze-dried, if that’s all you’ve got. We won’t judge anyone for their taste in caffeinated beverages, and to call this coffee dispenser ‘totally useless’ is just patently untrue. It clearly has a use, and even if you don’t like freeze-dried coffee, you could sacrifice one jar worth of Nescafe and fill it with Skittles or anything else that will fit in the little collector basket.

In this machine, the cup is the trigger — the 3D-printed plate underneath activates a micro switch embedded in the scrap wood base, and this triggers a micro:bit around back to actuate the stepper motor that twirls the collector basket around. Although [smogdog] has provided all the files, you’d have to come up with your own connector to suspend the thing over the cup and carve your own base.

We love it when we can see what a machine is doing, so not only is it useful, it’s beautiful. And it worked, at least for a little while. For some reason, it keeps burning out stepper motors. Check it out in proof-of-concept action after the break.

We’ve seen the Micro:bit do a lot, and this pinball machine is among the most fun.

15 thoughts on “Totally Useless Coffee Dispenser Is Anything But

  1. I think maybe that little stepper and driver is undersized for the torque required to turn the dispenser. Either find a beefier motor and driver or try relocating that stepper so it can mesh with a toothed circumference of the dispenser wheel. You’ll have to increase your step rate to get the same dispense time.

    1. Drive current is set too high. Stepper coils should not burn out even if stalled indefinitely. If motor won’t turn unless current is set high, motor is too small. NEMA 34 should work OK.

  2. “Please feel free to serve up some suggestions on how I can improve this build.”

    Consider using food grade materials such as stainless steel instead of random 3D printed materials and polycarbonate.

      1. Fair enough though many people call clear plastic by multiple but inaccurate names. No idea specifically what exactly they used here. PMMA / Acrylic is not typically food grade either though.

        1. That’s where you’re wrong, PMMA is typically food safe and It’s actually fairly common as a transparent material for food display in stores. Plexiglas (or whoever owns it) even advertises it as a material with “no health risks” that is safe for food.

  3. So, he has half of a machine. It still needs to be manually filled water. This is even a flaw in my new, almost 2 cup, 25 oz Mr Coffee. AND I have to empty the grounds and fill it again. I’m just to busy to fix all of this. If I did, miniaturization would become an issue solved only by more time and yet more money. By then, I’d be out of coffee. I mean, I hate refilling my week long pill box, without which I’d not know the day of the week.

    (V seriously, I’d LIVE a watch or clock is even better, that ONLY told me that… the daybof the week. More useful.than “The bar opens at 5,” clocks. Just too busy… you KNOW it would sell like starbux! Too costly and regularly as mocca crap-é.)

    But he has 2 parts. An instant dispenser and what appears to be a low efficiency cup heater, on the left. I saw NO stirring device. The turnstile might be given gears to a hanging axle w a propeller. Good start, though. He has a rough framework. Now, it’s just add-ons after add-ons. He is tickled… that’s the main thing, after all.

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