If you’re a cat owner looking for a fun Raspberry Pi project to tinker with, you may want to check out this cat food dispenser created by maker and developer Anthony Douglas. It’s featured over at Tindie with a final premade version available for sale, but you can make it at home for free (aside from the cost of parts) as the project is entirely open source.
According to Douglas, the feeder performs reliably, giving the right amount of food each time. He also adds that it’s not prone to jamming. The main board used to operate the feeder is a Raspberry Pi Pico W. This provides the option of a web server that can serve as a remote browser-based interface.
The idea behind this project wasn’t to create an affordable alternative to cat feeders on the market but rather to create something customized with unique features. There are cheaper options to buy elsewhere, but Douglas insists they don’t offer the same benefits.
All of the hardware is housed inside a 3D-printed shell. Douglas explains that the biggest limitation of his project is the hopper size. The unit can only hold up to 400ml of cat food. Douglas accesses the Pico’s web server using his iPhone to dispense a serving, which loads the interface along with a button that releases 1.6 grams of cat food.
The software for the project was written in MicroPython, covering both the web interface and food dispenser operation. The source code was also made open source, so anyone can download it to use, modify, or explore. The code, 3D printable files, and instructions are found at Tindie.
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Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.