Hi there! In this Instructable, I hope to show you how to build a relatively simple dog/cat feeder.
Step 1: Parts of the Feeder
There are 3 main parts of the feeder. The storage container, the dispensing belt, and the delivery chute. Essentially, the food stays in the storage container until the dispensing belt is activated. The food travels along the dispensing belt and then falls through the delivery chute, and into the bowl.
Step 2: Materials for the Dispensing Belt
The dispensing belt is the most important part of the feeder. It controls when my puppy gets fed, as well as how much food is given to her. To build it, we will need the following materials.
- The following LittleBits:
- USB power bit and cable
- DC motor bit and motor mate
- A mounting board
Assorted lego pieces, including axles, tracks and wheels. (I got mine from my lego mindstorms kit)
Step 3: Building the Dispensing Belt
The following steps will show you how to build the dispensing belt
Step 4: Step One:
Build two bars of lego that you will put the belt between. They should have a six peg gap between them. Have a longer base plate at one end so you can mount the DC motorBit.
Step 5: Step Two:
Remove one wall of the "corridor" formed by the two sides of lego, then insert the wheels on their axles in one wall. The pair of wheels with the longer axle should be on the same end as the longer baseplate.
Step 6: Step Three
Next we have to connect the littlebits circuit to the lego. Unfortunately, I do not own any littlebits lego connectors, so I had to build around a baseplate. First, build your circuit. It should be USB power, cloudBit, wire, DC Motor. Next, attach the DC motor to the belt assembly using lego adapters if you have them, or as in my case, duct tape. Then connect the cloudBit and powerBit to the DC motor with the wire. When the final assembly is finished, place the cloudBit and power bit on top of the bucket lid.
Step 7: The Storage Container
The storage container is a simple bucket with the dispensing belt in the bottom. It can be any size bucket, as long as the dispensing belt fits in the bottom, with some room for pet food.
A 2 litre ice cream bucket
Step 8: Step One
Cut a hole in the side of the bucket that the dispensing belt will fit into. Then, slide the belt into the bucket.
Step 9: Step Two
Tape the bottom of the dispenser belt to the bottom of the bucket. Then cut a disk of cardboard with a slot in it to put over the belt.
Step 10: The Delivery Chute
The delivery chute is a simple pipe to ensure that the pet food lands in the bowl, not all over the floor. To make it, all you will need is some kind of pipe with a diameter of at least 2 centimetres, and some duct tape. I used a vacuum tube taped above my dogs bowl.
Step 11: Step One
Place the body of the feeder on a desk or table above the food bowl. If necessary, cut your pipe to the correct length, and tape the pipe above the bowl and directly under the dispenser belt coming from the feeder.
Step 12: Step Two
Use a cone of paper to create a funnel at the top of the tube. It will catch all of the food rolling off of the dispenser belt.
Step 13: Finishing Touches
To finish up, you need to load up the ice cream bucket with pet food, put the lid back on the ice cream bucket, and make sure the littlebits circuit is connected. Then you can remotely trigger the feeder with cloud control, or set a time for it to feed your pet on IFTTT.
And that's all folks! If you think that this is a worth while 'ible, don't hesitate to vote for it. Thanks for reading!