Making guacamole by hand normally takes [Estefannie] about 9 minutes. Given her insatiable appetite for the delicious condiment, she spends a lot of time whipping it up in the kitchen at home. Thus, it’s a task ripe for automation, and she set about building a robot to do the job instead.
The robot starts by chopping ingredients like tomato, onion, and avocado with a knife that swivels to cover the entire chopping board surface. Once chopped, a sweeping blade pushes the ingredients into a bowl to form the guacamole.
Initial tests were messy, and ingredients were chopped a little inconsistently. Later work involved reprogramming the machine to chop ingredients separately, rather than all at once, which did improve the quality of the guacamole significantly. However, fundamentally, it wasn’t making good guac, so much as it was making a very chunky salad. It simply couldn’t do all the complicated jobs required to make a smooth, delicious dip.
[Estefannie] elected to instead let it live out its life as a mighty chopper, showing off its prowess by having it attack candy, cake, watermelon, and chocolate, which was pretty fun to watch. It bears noting that if you’re building a robot that swings a blade around, you need to be very careful. If you’re looking for something a bit safer, perhaps a Taco Bot is in your future.
Continue reading “Robot Brutally Chops But Makes Poor Guacamole” →
Hydroponics is an effective way of growing plants indoors through the use of water medium and artificial lighting. It often involves having a system to raise and lower the water level around the plants to let the roots breathe, however this can require some non-trivial plumbing. [Peter] wanted to instead explore the realm of wheel hydroponics to grow some ingredients for salad.
The idea is to have pods mounted on a rotating assembly, similar to the carriages on a Ferris Wheel. By rotating the wheel slowly, each pod spends a certain amount of time submerged, and a certain amount of time in free air. This allows the water level to remain constant and only the pods need to move.
The tank for the build is a simple plastic storage bin from a local hardware store, with the wheel assembled from various odds and ends and laser cut components, making this a build very possible for those with access to a hackerspace. A stepper motor provides the motive power, with the assembly completing approximately one rotation per hour.
[Peter] has run the device for several months now, noting that there are issues with certain plants maintaining their hold to the wheel, as well as algae growth in the water medium. There’s room for development but overall, it’s a great build and we hope [Peter] will be serving up some delicious fresh salads soon.
For another take, perhaps you’d like your hydroponics solar powered?