Nut Dispenser – 3B. Hardware(dispensing mechanism)

This has proved to be the trickiest part!

Initially i’d hoped to dispense standard, roasted monkey nuts as the squirrels love them! I’ve built many variations of the dispensing mechanism out of foam card however it was proving to be really tricky with the irregularly shaped nuts and their friction.

I’ve tried all sorts of mechanism from the simple opening and shutting of a spring loaded door to the moving of gravity fed nuts using a cut out like the board game downfall.

Downfall game – (image from skooldays.com)

The downfall was my favorite but very problematic with the monkey nuts so I changed to using shelled nuts which were much easier to dispense.

Above all the design needs to be reliable so I have constructed many prototypes with the most reliable by far being a simple trap door – I don’t mind it dispensing too many nuts at once however I don’t want it to clog up and this design proved to work well.

Prototypes - (clockwise from top left) the flapper, the hopper, the noisy cog and the downfall
Prototypes – (clockwise from top left) the flapper, the hopper, the noisy cog and the downfall!

The whole thing needed to be motorised and the foam card just wasn’t strong enough so I reverted to creating the mechanism from Lego at this stage. This was an easy decision as I have tons of it ahnging about with the only downfall ( 😉 ) being that I didn’t want to conform to the lego standard dimensions however for a prototype it would be fine.

 

 

 

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