Sep 19, 2015 | By Benedict

Some pet owners, us included, simply aren’t able to provide essential treats for their animal friends at the right time of the day, every day. This can result in result in pets being overfed or underfed, and upset by the variation in feeding times. Frustratingly, there is often nothing we can do about it. Maker JonPaul Laskis has decided to combat this problem by designing a 3D-printed, over-engineered dog feeder, and the results look fantastic.

Laskis describes his inspiration for the 3D-printed feeder as coming from his dog’s need to be fed Dentastix at the same time of the day, every day: ‘I got tired of constantly having to remember/get up in the middle of dinner to give him a Dentastick after he finishes eating. Being a machine designer by trade I decided to automate this task so he can become more self reliant.’

By Laskis’ own admission, the finished feeder is perhaps more complicated and expensive than was absolutely necessary. However, the final 3D-printed product is an impressive-looking, functional machine which can be built by any individual with a 3D printer and an intermediate level of electronics, programming, and DIY experience. Laskis hopes to build a simpler version in the near future, instructions for which will also be shared.

The 3D-printed dog feeder functions as follows: the dog places its paw on a lever, which activates the machine. If more than 8 hours have passed since the last treat was dispensed, the machine will dispense another treat. If that time has not yet elapsed, the dog must try again later. When the machine is not in operation, it remains off to conserve battery. All the pet owner needs to do is refill the machine with a bag of Dentastix (Laskis suggests breaking each in half) when all have been dispensed.

The 3D-printed feeder is able to keep track of times and of the number of treats remaining in the presently loaded tube by storing these values in the EEPROM of an embedded Arduino Uno (ATmega328). Laskis designed the feeder in SolidWorks and 3D printed each of its plastic components in lime green PLA with an AVR-powered Ultimaker 2. In addition to the 3D-printed components, the machine also consists of twelve non-3D-printed 6” clear acrylic tubes and a laser-cut sheet metal base.

Images from Thingiverse

If you think that such a device could serve you and your dog well, and that you have the requisite additive manufacturing skills for such a project (again: be warned of its relative difficulty!), files and instructions for making can be found at Laskis’ Thingiverse page. Check out the feeder in action below.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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