Automatic Pet Feeder

Hello, I am currently making an automatic pet feeder for my engineering class, and I would just like to know, how would you guys go about making one? Not just with the cloudbits, but the pieces for the cat feeder as well. All advice is welcome :slight_smile: thank you.

@hoffmastertristin
Hello Hoffmastertristin,
This pet feeder has s lot of info about the construction:

Hi @hoffmastertristin , I’d like to introduce you to @alexmarket, the designer of this awesome cardboard remote pet feeder:

@hoffmastertristin @JackANDJude Glad to help!

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Thanks for starting this post, @hoffmastertristin. There’s a lot of community interest in this topic, so I’m collecting a list of helpers, thinkers, makers, and would-be collaborators. Please join in if I missed your name!

To all those interested:

  1. What did you learn during your build?
  • Is anyone building with you?
  • How has your pet reacted to your invention?
  • If you’re stuck, share with the group. Someone may have an idea. :sunny:

In addition to @alexmarket (mentioned above)…

There’s also Steve who made this Cat Treat Dispenser

and @itchyfoots who has ideas for her cat - a litter box alert and a wet food feeder.

and @jackiegerstein who made this Moving Cat Toy + Feeder

and @joellemcowan who made her Modified Fish Feeder

Talk among yourselves, and remember that works in process are always welcome here!

Hi! Automatic pet feeding - who knew that would be such a hot application of littlebits?

As far as the build around the bits, I’ve gotta make a big plug for Legos. If you have access to even a small set of them, you’re likely to be able to come up with a sturdy, reliable setup. For my build, I was lucky enough to have a budding engineer who love, love, loves building with Lego. He had built a conveyor belt out of pure love for making a conveyor belt.

But thinking about it critically, starting from nothing, your biggest goal for parts should probably be axels, wheels, and possibly gears. Turny pieces seem to be the keystone to many of the pet feeder builds.

After that, think about the food type you’re delivering to your theoretical cat. Obviously, you’ll need a different dispenser for wet food than for dry. If you can, I’d skew toward dry food, as it seems way easier to dispense pellets than anything else.

As far as the littlebits go, I found the cloudbit + motor combo to be a bit fiddly. I sometimes got perfect action - hold the cloud control button for 3 seconds = 3 seconds of spin. Sometimes I got continuous motor spin. I’m still tracking down that behavior. My version 2 may incorporate the servo instead, as I’m looking at a more fool-proof way to not dump a week’s worth of fish food in the tank by accident/misfire. I’m also going to see if I can get a RaspberryPi-powered webcam set up so I can see whether the feeder is working while away. A constant process.

Let me know if you have any specific questions. Have fun solving your quest!

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@hoffmastertristin Here’s the place to continue the discussion on your pet feeder. You say you want to build it out of legos? Hey, it looks like @joellemcowan is talking about building with legos :arrow_up:.

Can you tell us more about your idea, @hoffmastertristin ?

Hey,

I was wondering if its at all possible where you could make the pieces for this on your 3d printer and sell them to me? I have a large 300 gallon fish tank that is in my wall, and I didn’t think too much about a feeding system for it. I currently have to go on the backside of my basement and feed the fish and then run around to see if they are eating. Your 3d printed parts would work perfect for this task coupled with the littlebits parts as I could stand in front of the tank and press the button to feed them. Let me know!

There are automated fish feeding systems on the market, but they are all for dry food, not liquid/wet food! :frowning:

Hi @a4xcrypto! Is there a particular 3D fish feeder project that caught your eye? If so, can you please include the link to that project and the name of the person who made it? That will help to put you in touch with the maker. :slight_smile:

If you are interested in the littleBits remote pet feeder, that project has a laser cut template file you can send to a laser cutter. Here’s the project page and a video: