Update #1 :
As I planned last week, the prototype for the mechanical pet feeder is made using Styrofoam.
Due to lacking of few tools needed, I had to make my own foam cutter. Without any nickel wire in sight, I had to use a resistor (and burn it). The Styrofoam wheel were cut using method like this.
The wheel are made from foam and thick paper. I made a small hole in the middle of the foam and squeeze the servo's 'hand' inside. The specification of the Servo I used is available, here. The styrofoam parts are held up by hot glue.
Below is the video of the prototype (I called it the v0.1). It is controlled by an testing application I made (Visual Studio and Arduino). Pardon the video quality. In the video is the best run so far, the machine often get stuck.
I have done an experiment on the Pet Feeder (V0.1), with 100 tries and below is the results :
failure rate : 60 out of hundred = 60%
success rate : 40 out of hundred = 40%
Details on the experiment is available, here (dropbox), or here (google doc). In this experiment real cat food (pellet/kibbles form) were used.
Problem / findings :
- Sometimes the servo/wheel get stuck (As shown in the video, at 1:30). This is possibly due the restriction near the wheel and the slope.
- Sometimes food get into places that I shouldn't be. In between the wheel and the side and bottom part of the feeder, makes the wheel stuck.
- The chute slope is not steep enough, food get stuck on the chute.
- The slope on top (the storage area) is also not steep enough.
- Reposition the plastic flap (used for restricting the pet food to flow out)
- Add more space between the wheel and feeder side.
- make a steeper food chute
- make slope steeper.