We’ve covered a number of projects that assist makers who need to fill orders for their small businesses, or kitting. [Helmke] has sorted thousands of pieces of hardware that they include with 3D printed parts sold online. They have been developing an alternative, a modular system for sorting and packaging specific quantities of parts.
After the break, check out the latest video from their small but growing channel for a very clear walk-through of the counting system they’ve been iterating on. The 2nd video in the series explores solenoids, Geneva drives, and ultimately a sprocket to dispense a variable number of bolts from the sorting machine. The approach gives consistent results, easily to vary quantities, and is fast! These videos are also rich with lots of small details you might want to explore on your own like magnetic part feeding, discussions of different sensors for detecting and counting parts, 3D printed gear box designs, and we love the use of stackable crates for project enclosures.
We hope to see more videos from [Helmke] in the series as the project matures for deeper dives into the existing mechanisms and new features they develop next. Hungry for more? We’ve brought you everything from cutting and stripping wire, to SMD tape, to resistors, to laser-cut parts. Continue reading “Dispense 60 Bolts In 2.3 Seconds” →
Halloween may be behind us, but we couldn’t resist showing you [Mellow]’s latest project: an automatic candy dispenser that takes the hard work out of serving trick-or-treaters. It’s a cool build that might serve as an inspiration for next year’s Halloween project, or perhaps for a different occasion altogether: think birthday parties or Valentine’s Day. After all, when’s a bad time to give sweet treats to someone you love?
The basic concept is a scary face, made of wood, that disgorges a set amount of candy through its mouth after you press its nose. The dispensing mechanism is made from 3D printed mechanical parts as well as a piece of drain pipe. Candy is stored in the pipe, with a servo-operated flap releasing a set amount each time the nose is pressed. [Mellow] cleverly designed the flap to be somewhat flexible, so that it wouldn’t crush any candy bars that got stuck between it and the pipe.
A Wemos D1 Mini reads out the nose switch and drives the candy-dispensing servo, as well as a further two servos that swivel the eyes left and right for an additional visual effect. The original idea was to have the eyes swiveling all the time, but because the mechanism turned out to be quite loud [Mellow] changed the code to only move them during the candy-dispensing process.
We’ve seen several designs for automated candy dispensers over the years, ranging from a Jack-o-Lantern that holds enough candy to feed a small city, to a beautifully over-engineered machine more suitable as a Valentine’s Day gift.
Continue reading “Automatic Candy Dispenser Takes The Hard Work Out Of Halloween” →
[Perinski]’s design for a mechanical flux dispenser uses some common hardware and a few 3D printed parts to create a syringe with fine control over just how much of the thick stuff gets deposited. The design is slick, and there’s a full parts list to accompany the printed pieces. [Perinski] even has some useful tips on how to most effectively get flux into 5 mL syringes without making a mess, which is a welcome bit of advice.
There is also a separate companion design for a magnetic syringe cap. Not only does it have an O-ring to keep things sealed and clean, but the tip of the cap has a magnet embedded into it, so that it can be stowed somewhere safe while the dispenser is in use, and doesn’t clutter the workspace.
This is all a very interesting departure from the design of most syringe dispensers for goopy materials, which tend to depend on some kind of pneumatic action. Even so, we’ve also seen that it’s possible to have a compact DIY pneumatic dispenser that doesn’t require a bulky compressor.
If you can’t quite figure out how the ergonomics of [Perinski]’s design are intended to work one-handed, you’re not alone. One holds the syringe in their hand, and turns the large dial in small increments with a thumb to control extrusion. [Perinski] demonstrates it close-up around the 4:50 mark, but if you have a few minutes it is worth watching the entire video, embedded below.
Continue reading “DIY Mechanical Flux Dispenser Syringe Has Fine Control” →
We have certainly all had our moments with solder paste. Some of us hate it; it’s sticky and gooey, and it gets everywhere. That is, unless you have a solder paste dispenser. The trouble with these is that they typically require the use of an air compressor, which can be cumbersome to haul around in certain situations. If you need a solder paste dispenser that fits conveniently where air compressors won’t, take a look at this small one from [Nuri Engineer] called the solderocket.
This design foregoes the traditional compressor in favor of pressurized carbon dioxide canisters. These are common enough and used for things like rapidly inflating bicycle tires, but for this more delicate procedure the pressurized gas needs to be handled more daintily. A rotary knob is attached to the canister to regulate pressure, and a second knob attached to a microcontroller adjusts the amount of time the air pressure is applied to the solder paste. With this small compact setup, any type of paste can be delivered to a PCB without needing to use messy stencils or needing larger hardware like a compressor.
This could be just the tool that you need if you regularly work with surface-mount components. Of course there are other methods of dispensing solder paste that don’t require any compressed gas of any kind, but as long as something is around that gets the job done, we can’t really argue with either method.
If you have any kind of business, chances are it involves stickers at some point in the process. More accurately it involves you peeling the backs off of sticker after sticker, slowly wasting time and working your way toward a repetitive stress injury. Why do that to yourself when you could have a machine do it for you?
That’s exactly the thinking behind [Mr Innovative]’s automatic label dispensing machine. All he has to do is load up the roll of labels, dial in the length of each label, and away the machine goes, advancing and dispensing and taking up the empty paper all at once. In fact, that’s how it works: the take-up reel is on the shaft of a NEMA-17 stepper motor, which gets its instructions from an Arduino Nano and an A4988 motor driver. Our favorite part is the IR sensor located underneath the sticker that’s ready to take — the machine doesn’t feed another until it senses that you’ve taken the previous sticker. We stuck the demo and build video after the break.
Our other favorite thing about this build is that [Mr Innovative] seems to have used the same PCB as his freaky fast bobbin winder.
Continue reading “An Automatic Label Dispenser For Quicker Stickers” →
It’s often taken for grated, but the modern world is full of luxuries. Home automation, grocery delivery, and even access to the Internet are great tools to have at hand, but are trivial to most of us. If these modern wonders are not enough for you, and the lap of luxury is still missing a certain je ne sais quoi, allow us to introduce you to the ultimate convenience: a voice controlled, beer-dispensing sofa with a built-in refrigeration system.
This is a project from [Garage Avenger] and went through a number of iterations before reaching this level of polish. Metal work on the first version didn’t fit together as expected, and there were many attempts at actual refrigeration before settling on repurposing an actual refrigerator. With those things out of the way, he was able to get to the meat of a project. The couch-refrigerator holds 12 beers, and they are on a conveyor belt which automatically places the next beer onto the automated drawer. When commanded (by voice, app, or remote) the sofa opens the drawer so the occupant can grab one easily without having to move more than an arm. Everything, including the voice recognition module, is controlled by an Arduino, as is tradition.
The attention to detail is excellent as well. The remote control contains a built-in bottle opener, for one, there are backlights and a glass cover for the refrigerator, and the drawer is retracted automatically when it senses the beer has been obtained. We couldn’t ask for much more from our own couches, except maybe that they take us where we want to go. But maybe it’s best to keep these two couch use cases separate for now.
Continue reading “Voice Controlled Sofa Meets Your Every Beverage Need” →
With all the hands-free dispenser designs cropping up out there, the maker world could potentially be headed for an Arduino shortage. We say that in jest, but it’s far too easy to use an Arduino to prototype a design and then just leave it there doing all the work, even if you know going in that it’s overkill.
[ASCAS] took up the challenge and built a cheap and simple dispenser that relies on recycled parts and essential electronics. It uses an IR proximity sensor module to detect dirty digits, and a small submersible pump to push isopropyl alcohol, sanitizer, or soap up to your hovering hand. The power comes from a sacrificial USB cable and is switched through a transistor, so it could be plugged into the wall or a portable power pack.
We admire the amount of reuse in this project, especially the nozzle-narrowing ballpoint pen piece. Be sure to check out the build video after the break.
Hopefully, you’re all still washing your hands for the prescribed 20 seconds. If you’re starting to slip, why not build a digital hourglass and watch the pixels disappear?
Continue reading “An Arduino-Free Automatic Alcohol Administrator” →