Materials Needed :
2- #5 gallon buckets matching or that fit snug inside one another
1-#5 gallon bucket lid
A means of cutting heavy gauge poly-styrene plastic, could be a Dremel tool (what i used) or a strong razor knife or carpet knife, or even a heated knife, what ever you feel comfortable making these kinds of dangerous cuts with!
Gloves, almost anyway possible you can make these kinds of cuts can be VERY dangerous so please be EXTREMELY careful!
NOTE: If your just a kid i wouldn't even attempt this without at least adult supervision!
Cat food to fill it up and make your life a little easier when its done!
I decided to post this because I couldn't believe a version of this wasn't on here yet, and was pretty surprised when i was looking two make a gravity feeder out of a five gallon bucket.
The principle of this is simple enough, cut a hole in top bucket for a controlled amount or choked flow of food to run into the lower bucket which can be raked out via a door in this bucket too allow my cat to freely feed himself
After some mental prototyping i decided this door should include a space from the bottom of the bucket to the opening aka a bottom lip to prevent food from just freely flowing out onto the floor if kitty was not raking it out.
Next, to just come up with a watering system to sit on top!
This is not a perfect system thus, your cat will inevitably drag a minimal amount of food onto the kitchen floor but considering I only worry about feeding my cat every 2 or 3 months know, its worth the small amount of cat food hes leaves sometimes after he eats!
Also i suppose if your area is prone to lots of insects this might be a area of concern to you because of the proximity to the floor and likely hood of infestation. I personally have never had any problem with infestation of the buckets but it could be a issue in areas prone to ants or cockroaches and the likes.
If you have a cat prone to over eating or one who is just overweight, you may want to go with a different feeder system, but personally if I do not let my cat eat when ever he wants he will just go kill small rodents and such, which is cruel and leaves me to clean up messes on the porch and hear the squeals of the cute little furry things as he shreds them apart!
Suitable buckets can usually be obtained from garden supply centers or if you know someone in food-service they can likely get you a pair, that would have otherwise been thrown out!
BE SURE to clean the buckets inside & out thoroughly and do not use buckets that have been contaminated with chemicals or anything the would hurt your kitty!
Step 1: Bucket#1
You may think that this will work just the same with this first bucket, but given my first design attempt (this bucket only) I discovered you need something inside the bucket to choke down the flow of cat food or it will just flow freely onto the floor.
(This is when i decided to add bucket #2.)
Back to bucket one, the picture pretty much explains the cuts and dimensions, its worth taking note of the 1 in. space from the bottom of bucket to the bottom of the lower lip, this is crucial in keeping the food back when your fat little kitty is not raking it out!
I marked out the cutlines on mine with a sharpie marker which was later easily rubbed off using rubbing alcohol and a plastic dish scourring pad.
Someone can probably design a decent one bucket system that would work the same if not better, but i just wanted to get my version done with out halving to make a bunch of prototypes, this is my prototype and if you make a better one out of a single bucket, please publish it so others can benefit, whilst only needing one bucket!
Step 2: Bucket #2
A very simple fix to the previously mentioned overly free flowing cat food problem, you cut a hole about the size of a door knob out of the bottom of this bucket, then place #2 bucket into bucket #1 (should fit nice and snug if you have matching buckets)
Its worth noting, almost all buckets have circles on the bottom already which can be used as a guide or template for this cut!
Sorry you can't actually see the hole but when i started pulling the top bucket out there was a system overload and food was running everywhere, so i just rolled with this, and marked in the area where the hole is to be made later in photoshop!
It goes without saying this cut will be made easier by laying the bucket bottom up and holding it from moving with your feet, or if need be have someone else hold it with there feet so you can concentrate on safely making this hole cut.
Step 3: Done: Put Them Together, Add Food & Sit Back!
I can be reached through this website if anyone would like to nominate me for Best amateur graphic illustration of 2010!
None the less you can kind of see the principle of the gravity feed at work through this illustration..
Due to all the moving to photograph different angles of the buckets, there was more food than normal leaking from the door.
Don't forget to put your lid on.