This project goes over the process I used to create an automated cat food bowl, for my elderly diabetic cat Chaz. See, he needs to eat breakfast before he can get his insulin, but I often forget to pick up his food dish before I go to bed, which spoils his appetite and throws off his insulin schedule. This dish uses a servo motor to close a lid over the food between the hours of midnight and 7:30am. The NodeMCU ESP8266 microcontroller’s Arduino sketch uses Network Time Protocol (NTP) to control the schedule.
This project may not be suitable for younger, more active cats. Chaz is so old and frail, he isn’t inclined to try to pry the bowl open, but it is possible.
If you’re new to the Arduino or the ESP8266, you may enjoy the following prerequisite guides:
- 3D printer (I use a Creality CR-10s Pro)
- 3D printer filament (I’m using gold PLA)
- NodeMCU ESP8266 wifi microcontroller
- USB cable (A to microB)
- USB power adapter
- Micro servo motor
- Small screwdriver and screws
- Hookup wire
- Header pins
- Perma-proto board
Design derived from Ardy Lai’s bowl holder on Thingiverse: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2699099(more…)