The seed for this project was the desire to mechanically measure specific amounts of liquid in a way that was both adjustable and easy to clean. In the past, I have used measured pour spouts on cocktail machines, and they work fine, but they are not adjustable and occasionally they just stop working.

I started by thinking about the Japanese Shishi-Odoshi ("deer scarer") bamboo fountain feature, which measures liquid against a counterweight and pours when the liquid reaches a certain level. The system is wonderfully simple, with one big caveat: the liquid never stops pouring.

So I began prototyping on a piece of plywood with a plastic cup. I new that the receptacle had to be lightweight, so that the liquid would make up the majority of the total weight and be easier to fine tune the "cut off" point for the pouring. I discovered that the pouring mechanism would actually need four parts:

  1. The bottle of liquid above with a flanged pin valve, which releases liquid when pushed up. I made a stainless pin and used a little piece of silicone sheet as a gasket.
  2. A receptacle below. The receptacle needs a hook to latch onto the counterweight arm. I made a little four-bar set so that the cup would pour where I wanted it.
  3. A counterweight arm with a little ledge that the locking arm can lock onto
  4. A lock arm that pushes the bottle's pin valve up when activated, and locks onto the counterweight arm.

When the cup is lifted, it pushes the Lock Arm up, releasing liquid. As the Lock Arm lifts, the Counterweight Arm lifts also and the two lock together. The hook from the Counterweight Arm is now holding the cup up. When the cup fills with enough liquid to overpower the Counterweight Arm, it pulls free of the hook and pours, while the Counterweight Arm pulls free of the Lock Arm and the bottle is sealed again.

It pretty much works. A little leaky, but overall a great first step.

Step 1: Prototyping Continues, and a Theme Emerges!

After the initial Proof-of-Concept prototype, I wanted to make a more formal test. I ordered some parts, including a bottle from McMaster Carr, and began modelling the pouring mechanism in Solidworks.

The bottle, Mcmaster #4787T64, was a Kimax lab glass bottle, and made me think of a Mad Scientist Chemistry Experiment type theme. So I started planning how I could make the final product fit this theme. I liked the images of chemistry kits with different components clamped to vertical stands, and lots of busy parts crossing from here to there. This theme lends itself to producing the machine in mostly stainless steel, which would make it easy to clean and maintain, so I ran with it.

I found another McMaster part, Quick Clamp Sanitary Tube Fittings (#45195K44) that would work great for clamping to 3/4" diameter tubing, and could have parts welded to it. You can see it modeled in the CAD screenshot above.

I decided that the machine would make Manhattans, mostly just because I like Manhattans. The ingredients are, roughly: 2 parts Bourbon, 1 part Sweet Vermouth, and a dash of bitters. I knew I would use two "Pouring Modules" for the Bourbon and Vermouth, so I began trying to figure out how to deliver the bitters, etc.

<p>Hi, I just got into mixology at home and your machine looks fantastic. Is there a CAD drawing I can download? I have access to waterjet at school (Ga Tech)</p>
<p>I'll say it right here--this machine is The Bomb!</p>
<p>Is there a reason not to use a motor to turn the clamp? Have an on switch (Which could be turned off by the final part falling) turn on a motor? </p><p>I'm just curious why that wasn't done.</p>
<p>Hi schumi23! I kept this project mechanical for a few reasons. Mainly it is more interesting IMO to actually touch a machine and turn a crank than just push a button. Also, adding a motor means adding wiring and switches to an item that will be used in a wet environment. That means lots of work to protect the wiring from water/liquids. I don't think motorizing it would add to the experience. </p>
<p>Or even a stepper that knows exactly how many &quot;steps&quot; needs every cocktail!!!</p><p> This means you need some micro-controller to drive it, and some buttons to control it. So an User Interface. and this can become commercial and get you some bucks...</p>
<p>Great job.</p><p>Hey you missed something really important in that Manhattan - the bitters. It isn't a Manhattan until you've added two or three dashes of bitters. </p>
<p>Hi dlebryk! Actually there is a pipette that delivers a few drops of bitters. I didn't get good images of that part of the construction process, but you can see it in the middle of the machine. I'll see if I can add that as a step later.</p>
very nice. well done.
<p>Love it! Are you going to enter it in the barbot compitation?</p>
<p>This is just insane! I love it. ELegant with a capital L!</p>
<p>This is nice. Make it out of copper tubing and you've got a cool steampunk looking machine! </p>
<p>I cannot imagine a better use for a creative mind and fantastic skill set. Very well done!</p>
<p>From another visionary artist to you ... NICE WORK !!!</p><p>Turtle Da Mannn</p>
<p>Genius. I could get drunk before you mix 1 drink with your gadget, but I love it. </p>
<p>Your my hero.</p>
I saw this in person at Pier 9. Nice to see it in action.
<p>Unbelievable ... </p>
<p>So awesome!</p>

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