Introduction: Slow Eating Food Bowl for Pets (SILLY SOLUTIONS)
I happen to own a cat by the name of Casper. As cute as he is, he is considered slightly overweight by veterinarian standards.
I've noticed several times that when he eats, he eats too quickly. I researched to determine whether this was contributing to his weight gain.
What I found is: Similar to humans, a cat eating too quickly doesn't give them enough time to digest the food, therefore leading to weight gain.
Also, eating too quickly doesn't allow the cat to process that they've already eaten a lot, which increases their satiety and leads to them eating even more!
Introducing: The Slow Bowl! A bowl that contains grooves inside the bowl to slow down a cat's eating speed. Except, unlike any ordinary slow bowl, the one that I worked to design creates an original cat face with the grooves!
Not only will my cat eat at a healthier speed, but I'll have a cat bowl that's cute, overall easy to use and clean, and does its job right.
- A cat (optional: for a basic measurement)
- Tinkercad account
Step 1: Determine Design of Bowl
The main unique feature of this Slow Eating Bowl is the fact that the "grooves" create a cat face!
Before going into Tinkercad and building a 3D model of it, I first had to sketch out what the design inside the bowl would look like.
This was more difficult that it seems. To create a cat face inside the bowl, I had to choose an expression that would take up enough space in the bowl so that a cat would eat slower, but also not crowd the bowl to point where it's too hard to eat.
I settled on a face that had enough parts to cover the bowl (a smiling cat face) with three whiskers and two ears that would also be part of the bowl shape.
Step 2: Determine Size of Bowl
To determine the bowl size, I had to measure the length of my cat's snout. The snout is the part of the cat that will be reaching into the ball and eating the food.
My cat is an average-sized male feline. His snout length was approximately one inch.
This meant that when designing the bowl if the grooves were over one inch apart, it would be too easy for him to reach in and eat. But it the distance between the grooves was too below one inch, it would be impossible for him to eat. Therefore, a distance of 0.5-1.0 inches between grooves would be ideal.
I used this information to determine what a good size for the bowl would be. When I first started designing, I used the measurement of 6 inches long and 10 inches wide. But after grouping all the parts together at the end, I did a little bit of adjusting and resizing.
Before constructing it in Tinkercad, I drew it on a piece of paper to gauge the size. Penny is placed for scale reference.
Step 3: Build the Bowl
To build the bowl, I first took the "paraboloid" shape in the basic shapes section and set it on the work plane.
Then, I took a box in the basic shapes section and raised it above the work plane a little bit. I used the box to cut the paraboloid into a bowl shape.
To do this, you must make the box a hole, set it over the paraboloid to where it looks like a bowl shape, then group the two shapes.
After grouping them, it should create a solid unhollowed bowl shape. I resized it by making the W = 10 in., the L = 6 in., and the H = 1.5 in. Then I changed the color to a light purple but you can make the color anything you want.
Step 4: Build the Bowl: Part Two
Now that the basic bowl shape is built, we need to hollow the bowl out!
To do this, duplicate the bowl. Then, resize the duplicate to be a HALF INCH smaller in length and width with height being constant ( L = 5.5 in., W = 9.5 in., H = 1.5 in.). The purpose of this is to create a bowl thickness of about a quarter inch. After you resize it, RAISE the bowl off the work plane a quarter inch.
After you've resized and raised the duplicate, you must duplicate this smaller bowl! You'll need this other duplicate when constructing the EARS of the bowl. Set aside this 2nd duplicate for later use.
Taking the original bowl and the 1st duplicate, use the align tool to align the two shapes.
Then, make the smaller bowl a HOLE and group the two shapes.
The bowl should look like the final picture after these steps.
Step 5: Add on Ears
To create the ears of the bowl, take a "roof" shape from the basic shape sections and drag it onto the work plane. Rotate the roof shape so that the triangular is facing up.
Expand it (I just eye-balled the size) and make the height the same as the bowl (1.5 in.)
Duplicate the ear.
Place both ears on opposite sides of the both, making sure they're embedded in the bowl.
Now take the duplicate bowl we created, align it with the original bowl, make it a hole, and group all of the shapes.
The result should be a bowl with two ears.
Step 6: Add on Ears: Part Two
Now that ears are attached to the bowl, we need to hollow the ears out so that they are part of the bowl.
To do this, take the "roof" shape in the basic shapes. Like in the previous step, expand it and rotate it so the triangle is facing up, but make it smaller than the size of the ear.
Raise it 1/4 inch off the workplace so it rests on the surface of the bowl. Then, make the shape a hole, duplicate it, and move it within the ear so the ears have about a quarter-inch thickness.
Finally, group all the shapes together.
Step 7: Add Eyes
Now we need to add on cat eyes!
To create the smiling squinty eye shape, I used the "scribble" tool in basic shapes to draw it.
Then, resize the eye to a size that looks proportionate to the size of the bowl.
For the grooves inside the bowl, I used white to make the face more distinct.
Duplicate the eye and place both eyes parallel to each other near the top of the head.
Use the align tool to make sure the eyes are aligned.
Finally, adjust the height of the eye. Raise the eye 1/8 inch off the work plane so that it's still embedded in the bowl but not touching the bottom. The height should be 1.375 inches so that it is the same height as the bowl.
*Note: All of the "groove shapes" should be the same height and equal to the height of the bowl.
Step 8: Add Nose and Mouth
To create the nose and mouth, I used the "scribble" tool in basic shapes to create it.
Expand the nose and mouth so that it is proportionate to the size of the bowl.
Place it below and in between the two eyes. Rotate it so that it is perpendicular to the eyes.
Finally, adjust the height of the shape. Raise it 1/8 inch off the work plane so that it's still embedded in the bowl but not touching the bottom. The height should be 1.375 inches so that it is the same height as the bowl.
Step 9: Add Whiskers
To create the whiskers, use the "scribble tool" in the basic shapes section. I drew a simple line to make one whisker.
Like all the other grooves, raise the whisker 1/8 inch off the work plane so that it's still embedded in the bowl but not touching the bottom. The height should be 1.375 inches so that it is the same height as the bowl.
Duplicate the whisker two times and rotate it for one side of the face.
Duplicate the whiskers on the right side for the left side and flip them so they are symmetrical.
Space the whiskers apart reasonably (about 0.5-1.0 inches apart).
*Make sure that the whiskers don't protrude outside the bowl.*
Step 10: Create the Nonslip Base
A nonslip base gets to create more grip and prevent a bowl from sliding around as much when a cat is eating!
To create the nonslip pace, take a cylinder from the basic shapes section and set it on the work plane. Make the W = 10 in., L = 6 in., and H = 0.125 in. Make it the same color as the bowl.
Using the align tool, align the bowl and the flat cylinder. Group the two shapes.
Now its time to make the "grippers". Take a half-sphere from the basic shapes section and set it on the work plane. Scale it to a reasonable size (I eye-balled this). Reduce the height to 0.125 in. (the same height as the cylinder base).
I made the grippers black, but it's your preference. These grippers will need to go on all four sides of the ball in the middle. Place the half-sphere inside the base so that it is about half inside and half out. Use the align tool to align parallel grippers.
Step 11: Summary
Now the SlowBowl is done!
Of course, you can customize colors, but I chose purple.
Because of COVID-19, I wasn't able to 3-D print this creation yet because the club I attend which has a 3-D printer (The Boys & Girls Club) is closed. But once the club reopens, I'm very excited to print this original model out!
Not only is this a solution to a problem (quick eating in cats which leads to weight gain), but also it's an adorable bowl design that I know I'll enjoy and make use of with my cat.
I also believe that this cute bowl design can be extended to other animals (Ex: putting a simple dog face as the grooves in a bowl and expanding or reducing the size of the bowl based on size) and it has the potential to be a marketable product. Pet owners love items for their beloved pets that are fun, customizable, and can serve a purpose (in this case overweight and fast-eater pets).
I really enjoyed creating this simple but useful bowl and look forward to making more 3-D design projects!
Participated in the
Tinkercad Student Design Contest