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Thread: iLush bartender

  1. #1
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    Honorablemention iLush bartender

    Finally got enough of the systems together to be able to take some photos of my bartender bot.

    Front on, showing the main turntable top and the syringe that acts as booze siphon in the center:



    3/4 view, showing the bottle rack, coolant system and heat exchanger:



    The frame is welded steel and extruded aluminum, and most of the working parts are made from laser-cut acyrlic. The tank in the front is for icewater for cooling, and the rack can hold six identical Belvedere vodka bottles.

    I chose the bottles because they have a similar combination of clear and frosted glass with blue highlights which match the colors and textures of the acrylic parts. (The orange cable tie ruins the look -- imagine it not there...) Ultimately the guts underneath will be surrounded by a cylindrical casing (hopefully of clear and translucent acrylic), and at the top of the central mast there will be a touch-screen interface.

    The wooden base is also a stand-in, as eventually it's intended to be mounted on a wheeled platform for autonomous service. Although getting this thing to move will be a bear -- it's going to weigh a *ton* fully loaded. It might end up as more of a kiosk than a robot.

  2. #2
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    Re: iLush bartender

    It's gorgeous!

    That, and it looks yummy too...

  3. #3

    Re: iLush bartender

    Quote Originally Posted by metaform3d View Post
    Finally got enough of the systems together to be able to take some photos of my bartender bot.
    Very cool and interesting! You could end up with something of a money maker once you get this working and all the bugs out. Buggy drinks might not taste good.

    8-Dale
    I can handle complexity. It's the simple things that confound me.
    Do everything in moderation, ESPECIALLY, moderation..
    Sometimes the only way to win, is not to play.. -- Stephen Falken

  4. #4
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    Re: iLush bartender

    iLush mixed its first drink by itself last night!

    I'm still using water with food coloring in it rather than expensive booze, and the cooling system was inactive, but the software basically worked. Ok, there's also a problem with the calibration for really dry martinis, but I'm working on that. It's a huge milestone for system integration. I also destroyed the shaft coupler in the linear actuator last night by activating the siphon while the main valve was closed, but I was able to replace it in about an hour. I've updated the software to prevent that situation in the future.

    Thanks for the positive comments! I thought about commercialization, but in its current incarnation maintenance and cleaning would be prohibitive for the home user. It's very much a prototype.

    My wife and I have an open house / cocktail party every last Friday of the month, so I hope to get some videos of the iLush in action this Friday. Stay tuned. Maybe even the cooling system will work! Anyone in the SF Bay Area is welcome -- send me a private message for info.

    Assuming I can get the calibration right there are two other things I want to work on before RoboGames in June. I would like to make the whole system mobile by adding a pair of large, high-torque wheels, or I could add a set of LEDs that would play a pattern of light over the clear and translucent plastic while the rest of the robot makes the drink. (It would be entertaining; it's really slow!) Which do you think would go over best with the judges?
    Last edited by metaform3d; 05-27-2008 at 09:00 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: iLush bartender

    Congrats! Sounds like major progress!

    People love blinkylights...

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    Re: iLush bartender

    Here's the video from last night's soiree. Sorry for the poor quality. The feet are mine -- I lowered the camera because I thought the machine had failed (again!), but it was working OK. I was keeping things simple by only mixing cosmopolitans, although you can see that the rack could hold four additional bottles.



    I learned several things from prolonged operation. I had a bug in tracking internal state which caused the failure after mixing one or two drinks. I was able to fix that on the fly (nothing like a little debugging at a party). I also found that the cooling pump draws a lot more amps under actual conditions which led to some feverish rewiring.

    The main issue though is that darn shaft coupler. It's the weak link in the whole design. The forces are such that it gradually pulls apart and eventually fails. I was able to fix it once but it's just not going to be tenable. I have to find some other sort of solution.

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    Re: iLush bartender

    nice foot shot

    Seriously though. It's nice to see this project in action! Very cool work.

    I've always wondered what the world would be like with automated bartenders... I can't wait to see new versions of this. What are your plans about the speed?

    I'm imagining an old school western days style bar (at least in the movies) with one of these at the end of the bar. There's little touch screen monitors at each bar stool with a list of all the drinks. Once the customer places the order, the iLush makes the drink. Once the drink is finished, an arm shoots it down the bar, hehe! Hey, I said old school

    BTW, are you wanting to enter this in the contest? If so, PM me.

    �In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed�
    - Charles Darwin

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    Re: iLush bartender

    The main issue though is that darn shaft coupler. It's the weak link in the whole design. The forces are such that it gradually pulls apart and eventually fails. I was able to fix it once but it's just not going to be tenable. I have to find some other sort of solution.
    Do you have or can you get a close up picture of the shaft and coupler. I am sure there has to be a solution. And odds are someone here will have encountered and solved the problem already.
    BTW Make mine Shaken not stirred
    Very impressive

  9. #9
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    Re: iLush bartender

    Quote Originally Posted by ooops View Post
    Do you have or can you get a close up picture of the shaft and coupler. I am sure there has to be a solution.




    The picture shows the main parts of the siphon exploded for clarity. The top part is the rigid frame, pot and motor. Next is a threaded rod that spins in a pair of bearings, the traveler and the accursed shaft coupler. The bottom part is the syringe itself, included only to show the direction of force.

    The shaft coupler-- barely visible on the right end of the threaded rod -- is just a piece of plastic tubing that's held in place with some clamps (not shown). This is a really cheap and simple solution I have used before that works well as long as most of the load is torsional. In this case, however, there is a significant axial load since pushing the plunger up or down requires a lot of force. The rod slides freely in that direction in the bearings so the only thing holding it in the place is the coupling tube. What happens is as the traveler pushes liquid out of the syringe the tube rides up a little on the motor's shaft. The reverse pressure when it sucks liquid in doesn't fully restore it and eventually it just pops off.

    I could machine a coupler that would grip the rod and the shaft rigidly, but that would require that the shafts are perfectly aligned. The plastic tubing works without that kind of precision. Another approach would be to use some other sort of bearing which prevents the rod from shifting along its axis, but I don't know how to do that.

    My current thought right now is to spin up the motor and use a file to put some grooves into the shaft. This would help the plastic grip the shaft in the axial direction and prevent it from walking off. Other ideas would definitely be welcome!

    Quote Originally Posted by ooops View Post
    BTW Make mine Shaken not stirred
    Very impressive
    The original design called for a shaker; give me a few months. And thanks.

  10. #10
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    Re: iLush bartender

    I've used metal screw couplers on the thread-rod, locked down, and then I use a drill press and press a small hole in the side, tap it, and then put a set-screw in against the motor shaft. I generally use three set screws, but I'm just anal that way.

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