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Published on Sep 14, 2014
The Thurber Feeder 5000 is a slow feeder like no other. Our dog is insane about food, so I built this thing to deliver his food slowly enough that he's forced to take his time eating it, instead of his usual inhalation followed by choking.
It's really just a stepper motor, pushing food through an auger, controlled by a Parallax Propeller. I CNC'd the body on my home-built CNC machine, programmed the chip to run the food cycle and make the lights glow, and narrated the video to complete this totally overblown (albeit effective) solution to our problem.
Dry food is poured in from the top, and a stepper-driven auger from a chocolate fountain slowly pushes it forward, a 16th of a turn at a time, trickling the food into his bowl so he can't eat faster than we want him to. The lights glow while the feeding cycle runs, and go out when it's done. A cycle can be interrupted or restarted by simply pressing the button. The stepper goes through a 6:1 belt pulley setup, giving it a whopping 200 oz-in of torque, so it has no problem chopping through food.
It's been so effective, he actually eats slower even when we *don't* use it, which was a very unexpected (but very welcome) side effect.