Raspberry Pi Pico feeds Píkíta the chihuahua twice a day

Riciery Penques’s chihuahua Píkíta needs feeding twice a day and, from the looks of how she’s wearing the heck out of that heart print onesie, I would not want to mess with her schedule. So as to avoid a run-in with his canine companion, Riciery built a Raspberry Pi Pico-powered pet food dispenser to achieve precise and regular feeding.

Pikita the chihuahua sniffing to dog food bowl at the foot of the dispenser on a wooden floor

The name Píkíta has excellent Celtic roots. You should definitely look it up and cement your obsession with this maker’s miniature pet.

How does it work?

The Raspberry Pi Pico is programmed to activate a stepper motor at Píkíta’s preferred meal times, rotating it for the duration necessary to dispense the exact right amount of food into her bowl.

the maker holding up the green electronics which hang out the back of the dispenser

Riciery determined the right duration by activating the motor then counting how many seconds it took to fill the dog bowl to the right level. He then fed [LOL] this information into his MicroPython code. You can tweak the code very easily to adjust the food quantity and feeding frequency for any pet.

Worm screw

The stepper motor rotates a large internal worm screw. This receives the food from the hopper above it and transports it to the feeder’s outlet, which is above the pet’s bowl.

a look down the barrell of the bit which holds the dog biscuits and has a big screw at the end which churns the food into the bowl
“Worm screw” is my new favourite phrase

A cellphone charger provides power for both the Raspberry Pi Pico and the motor. With the feeder powered from the mains, there’s no need for batteries that could fail and leave Píkíta without food.

3D printing for pets

Riciery’s pet feeding project was entirely 3D-printed, using black filament for the body and clear for the container so he can keep an eye on how much food is left and top it up accordingly. He printed the lid with flexible TPU 90, which allows it to seal hermetically. This design detail is particularly apposite since Píkíta likes her dog biscuits fresh and crunchy. The container that stores the food is also removable for refilling and cleaning.

Pikita the chihuahua standing aback from the dispenser on a wooden floor and looking at the camera
Perhaps your pet won’t be as suspicious as Píkíta

Riciery invites similarly inventive pet parents to visit his Instagram and Tiktok accounts, where you’ll find all the code and assembly instructions you need to build your own automatic feeder.

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