This is the first ongoing project I actually logged for the web site. It is a mini version of an industrial grain hopper fabricated out of tin sheet metal from old syrup cans.

The goal is to produce a fully operational-computer controlled small scale version of a real world industrial hopper which will be able to feed granular materials such as sand from the top and convey it onwards to the next module using a helix type conveyor which is attached to it.

a01Mod1.png

This is the first part of the build which shows the fabrication of parts A and B, and the video will be updated as the project progresses. Most of the project revolves around the fabrication of the model itself and the rest such as the electronics and the control software are not that interesting for this section, however at the end of the build I will make sure to add a construction plan for the model and upload the sources and circuits schematics for you to download.

a06_gui.png

I hope that in the future I will also have time to add some more extencive sheet metal fabrication tutorials. Enjoy!

 

In this video I demonstrate the operation of the automatic hatch located at the bottom of the large hopper. It is uses a micro servo operated by a servo testing circuit made using a 555 timer.

 

In its final implementation I will control the servo directly from the Arduino controller.

 

You can see the hatch opening up, a small amount of material already fed into the receiving hopper is being pulled inwards by the helix screw, and finally the material is pured out of the top of the conveyor into what will essentially be another machine all done by the rotation of the shaft. The shaft will be driven using a small motor and gears I have fabricated using a wall clock mechanism and a CD drive motor.

 

In the video I demonstrate the main functions of the controller (aside from the servo) and its interface with the computer. All operations and menu controls will be controlled from both the operations panel and the computer (if communication is available).