As I mentioned in a previous post, I am attempting to build my own automated honey stick machine. After making observations making hundreds of honey sticks using a manual method, and studing the machine the use to be on the market, I’ve decided to take a bit different approach. Of course any automated honey stick machine will follow the same basic steps, dispensing a straw, filling then sealing it; But I’m hoping the different approach will solve a few problems (and solve the biggest problem – the fact I don’t have one!)
Instead of a embedded controller, I’ve deciced to go with a USB interface to the computer, then simply program the computer to drive the machine. I’ve chosen the Phidgets Interface 8/8/8 as the USB interface (pictured to the right). It’s capable of driving 8 binary outputs as well as accepting 8 binary and 8 analog inputs. It’s also pretty easy to program in many different languages on both unix and windows machines. I will likely use Visual Basic as I’m very familiary with it. The only limitation that may be a problem is that it may be possible that more than 8 outputs are needed for controling solinoids, pumps, etc. However, instead of purchasing a second interface I intend to use to 3 to 8 decoder and a latch to turn on and off some of the outputs one at a time.