The Elixirator is a Steampunk cocktail mixing machine. Up to 10 different drinks from four ingredients can be selected and dispensed. Four bottles are used to hold the spirits and mixers for the drinks. The contents of the bottles are pressurized with an aquarium pump and released into the glass with solenoid valves. The valves and functions of the drinkbot are controlled with a single 40X2 Picaxe MCU. The Elixirator won a bronze metal at the 2012 Robogames.
The project uses stained wood, brass and found objects to give it a look straight out of a Jules Verne novel. The story is, "I Doc Hadacoff, a time traveler, have been trapped in the 19th century to sell elixirs to make a living. My machine uses Tritium to power a plasma generator to add curative properties to my elixirs".
This instructable is not intended to be a step-by-step instructions to build a particular drinkbot, but more of a step-by-step discussion on how I built mine. All this with the hopes that one can collect enough information to build there own.
Step 1: The Steampunk Elements
To start building a drinkbot, you need to decide what theme to use. I wanted to construct mine out of wood, brass and some modern elements to give it a Steampunk look. I'm trying to make the illusion of a machine using extraordinary materials, yet still using 19th century concepts such a steam-power and electricity. Let me start by showing the details of the machine. Making the machine dispense drinks is actually the easy part.
I used 1/2 inch hardwood panels from Home Depot for the project. To give the wood real beauty, I stained the wood with water-based stain (rosewood color) and finished with water-based semigloss polyurethane finish. Two coats of finish is just enough. Lightly sand between coats. Water based finishes are very easy to clean up after. The finish dries in just a few hours with the added plus of low odor and no strong fumes.