Project X, or the Coctail Mixing Machine

General Discription 
Hello everyone! We are the Team C of International Design Project 2017, implemented by Fab Lab Polytech and Leibniz Universität Hannover, and we would like to present our project. We decided to build automatic machine that can mix alcoholic drinks without  a person needed. We wanted to improve our skills in digital fabrication, prototyping, programming and generally to get the experience of creating a project out of our idea in a limited amount of time totally on our own. 
Members of the team:
  • Roman
  • Nico
  • Marius
  • Daniel
  • Anastasiia
  • Polina
  • Amine
Materials and components:
  • plywood 6 mm, 15 mm
  • SBS plastic
  • tubes
  • plastic vortex
  • Arduino Mega/Uno
  • Screen with IIC2LCD interface
  • 2 x end-stops
  • 5 x airpumps
  • DC/DC transformator
  • powerblock 100 W
  • shaft
  • bearings

The main principle of this machine is to provide the user with a drink of their own choice. On the front part of the machine there is supposed to be a screen which allows the user to communicate with the machine: user can choose whether they want a predefined drink or they want to build their own mix. If the second decision is made the user is given a possibility to choose the strength of the drink: it's either 30%, 50% or 70% of alcohol included in a drink.

Mechanically the mixing happens in the special mixing area which is basically a plastic vortex with five tubes in it. Each tube is connected to the bottle with different drink and one is with water for cleaning the mixing container after each drink. 

Glasses are placed on a special rotating table. The table has six (as the number of glasses) ledges so that it hits an end-stop and that is how the e-engine understands the glass was positioned correctly right under the tube. It means that rotation of the table is completed. Glasses also hit another end-stop so that machine knows that the glass is in its place on the table. 

Electronically the machine is controlled by Arduino Mega (Arduino Uno) and powered by power supply which allows the machine to use energy from electric system. There are five air pumps connected to each bottle. One e-engine rotates the table with a pretty simple system of two gear-wheels, one connected to the table and one to the engine. 

First day
On the first day we discussed ideas and made final decisions about how our project would look like. Also we made lists of components and nessecary manufacturing to have something to work with on the next days. Here are some pictures: 

Second day

On the second day we got half of the components needed, which prevented us from strarting to work on a programming part. However, we started working on 3D-models. That took a bit longer than we expected. Then we also had a problem of finding air pumps because it seemed that every possible pump that we could use had to be ordered and we couldn't waste our time waiting for them to arrive. So we wasted a lot of time trying to change the original concept and to think about any other possible way to fill in the glasses. Fortunately, at the end of the day we finally found a place to buy air pumps we needed so we think of a Tuesday to be a bit of a flop mixed with a great luck :)

Third day
On the third day we continued working on 3D modelling and at the same time started thinking about the electric circuit and, as each air pump and the engine need to be connected with a transistor we decided to make a PCB ourselves. Here are some pictures: 

Also we finished with our 3D modellling:

Fourth day
We started producing our corpus but faced difficulties with junction of all parts so we had to change sketches. So we spent an entire day trying to improve our modelling and finally start to assembly everything. We wrote some testing sketches in Arduino IDE and tried to understand how to make a menu on LCD screen, but as noone had an experience with any of those  we didn't have much luck and decided to leave a programming part on the upcoming moths of the project. 
Fifth day
On the fifth day we did first testing with couple of bottles and air pumps and faced different difficulties with our board. Resistance that our chosen resistors produced was too big so at certain point we didn't have any movement in our pumps. We also had a problem of too high voltage going out of Arduino USB port, so we probably burnt Arduino Mega. Thankfully we had an opportunity to change our Arduino to a new one, Arduino Uno instead of Arduino Mega. 
Sixth day
On the final day of Fab Lab School in St. Petersburg we tried to assembly all the mechanical parts together but, unfortuantely, didn't have much time to program all the parts. So the code that we have is basically a very simple testing one just to see if air pumps work, which means that we still can't rotate the table.

Conclusion and «To-do» list
On the final presentation we could show only simple parts but we are planning to do so much better!
As the only thing that we have now is just different mechanical parts simply put together and a simple code, during future months of  International Design Project it will be necessary to :
  • write programming menu for the screen and buttons
  • prepare proper programming for the e-engine control (rotation table)
  • program the empty bottle control
  • program the cleaning system + manufacture waste tank
  • do the proper placement of the electronic components

It's a lot to do but we hope to succed and present our mixing machine during Maker Fair in Hannover, in August! <3 

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