Category Archives: #coffee

DropBOB Upgrades to “Real-Boy” Status!


So as I hinted from my last post. I have decided to delve right into the world of professional software development. I have started using “Eclipse” as my development platform for my IoT chip – ESP32 by Sparkfun.

To be fair, I didn’t really have a choice. Not all of the features that I need this chip to do have been ported over into the “Arduino” platform yet. I’m sure it eventually will (possibly more than a year, as seen on the prior chip). So, I’m pulling up my big boy pants and learning all the things!

I will be keeping my software open-source. But it will be via the official ESP-IDF. Once I program for this (in C language) I won’t be porting it back into Arduino (Sorry arduino fans).

Continue reading DropBOB Upgrades to “Real-Boy” Status!

DropBOB Designs: learning a new skill!


So I’ve been wanting to do this for a few years now, but I’ve never had the patience to really devote some time to it … Until now.

Rendering of partially designed board (top view)

I’ve been learning circuit board design and component selection. I’m hoping to not only simplify the entire wiring design for my cold brewer. I’m trying to expand its capabilities tenfold.

Continue reading DropBOB Designs: learning a new skill!

DropBOB PRO – Preliminary design update


Some of you may be wondering what I’ve been up to over the last little while. I haven’t posted anything, nor have I put my “Star-Lord” Costume up for sale. Well, it’s because something has been bugging me. I’m unsettled about one of my designs … and its preventing me from focusing on other things. 

As you can see from the above image, I’m working on a PRO version (i.e something you’d see in a coffeeshop or a coffee enthusiast kitchen). All, while improving on the DropBOB control mechanism.

You see I’m no longer just happy with having the most accurate and flexible cold brewing drop control on the market. I want more! … I’ve added temperature control as well now. With a little bit of testing, I’d like to not only be able to have my drops colder, but also hotter, all at the slide of a finger on your smartphone.
I’ve also added a second photo-interrupter for a drop anticipation feature. And I’m getting rid of the Long neck that hung below the water (that was a standard plumbing parts restriction) … I’m also designing my own valve … And making the glass custom. Oh, and making dishwasher friendly.
Ya, I know … this is ambitious. Here’s to 2017 being the year “DropBOB Designs” takes off. I hope.
Cheers,
-D.B.

Hitting with the big leagues. DropBOB Needs a LOGO!


What logo do you think is best for DropBOB Designs

A) Earthy, snowy, sciency
B) Spiritual, coffeebean
C) Mechanical and loud
D) Cartoony, goofy but businessy

Poll Maker

Logo created with: http://logomakr.com, After you selection, the wining logo will be refined and more detail and uniqueness will be added.

If you would like to suggest modifications or changes, feel free to do so in the comments (you can do so anonymously if you like).

DropBOB(tm) Designs, Short-term Roadmap: Current projects


So, as you’ve most likely seen, I’ve managed to create and release a functional and super connected cold drip coffee maker that is more accurate and versatile (and some would say better looking) than any out there on the market …

DropBOB(tm) Coffeeshop version Idea

But that’s not enough. This is great for personal use … and I do use it weekly, but there is not enough desire for this product yet. So this is where the next step comes in. With this fully functional proof of concept in mind, I need to design a “Coffee-shop” version of the Personal DropBOB(tm) Closed loop Cold Drip Coffee Maker (I need a catchier name …)


The idea is to be able to produce a model that can keep up with the demand of a coffee shop. Most coffee shops need high volume output, so they resort to the “Bag of grinds in a bucket” method. This is functional, but highly susceptible to variation in strength and taste, and also a huge drain on beans (read not efficient at all!).

So, My idea focuses on increasing throughput while not affecting the quality and accuracy of the system. Adding more drippers, with more coffee bean silos allows the process to go faster, but still keeping the same concept and quality. And by rotating the grounds one silo every 8 hrs, you get a perfectly consistant brew throughout the day.

The idea is that a coffeeshop can have 3 to 10 of these beauties lined up on a wall, with different beans, and flavours. You can have some with added spices, or oils. Essentially creating an infinite possibility of flavors!

This design is not complete yet. In the meantime, you can purchase an individual version of the DropBOB from my shop, just click the cart items on the right and customise your order as you like!

I’ve also added a community page (Click “Community Stories” above) for anyone to share their experience and/or hacks! feel free to let me know what you think in the comments.

DropBOB(tm) Designs – Open for business!


DropBOB(tm) Designs is officially open for business. I have been terrible at blogging lately, but this is only because I’ve been busy at work. Check it out:
DropBOB(tm) closed loop drip system – Industrial style in Large
If you haven’t noticed already, I’ve opened up my shop in the form of a Blog with a cart to the right. Feel free to browse my wares. Many of the items can be modified and configured as you like them, right from your browser. I will be adding more options shortly.

I’ve also expanded myself and have started selling on Etsy. Check out my Etsy Shop here. I’m also on facebook at DropBOBdesigns, Like my page!

The personal version of the DropBOB(tm) closed loop drip system is currently in beta version #3.5.0 but it is out for production. Any sales of the beta version will have its features upgraded to the final version at no extra charge.
Also, feel free to add come custom notes at checkout, as these are all hand made, I can probably include any custom features that you may want. Want the base marble? I might be able to do that. Want galvanized pipe? Want aluminum? Etc. Note that these extras will be quoted on a job by job basis.
On another note, DropBOB(tm) designs is not only for personal coffee drip systems. DropBOB(tm) designs is more of a mantra for unique well designed products. Handcrafted and meticulously assembled. A place where Art meets function.
Here’s a sneak peak at my next project:

Closed loop drop-BOB: the only cold drip coffee maker you can count on!


So I’ve completed my design. I’ve converted my 3d printable files to STL files and have sent them off to the printer: www.3dhubs.com. fingers crossed that everything comes back nice … you never know with these types of “compact” housings… Plus this is my first functional 3d print … Everything else I’ve done in the past was not as critical.

With this initial beta release, I can control my coffee maker from anywhere. I can check the progress of how it is doing. and I can adjust the flavor profile depending on how many drops per minute (DPM) & grind type I use. And I can know that it is always exactly where I want it because it’s a closed loop system with constant feedback.

Features:

  •  real-time drip-rate monitoring
  •  drip rate selection using micro servo
  •  fully functional wifi-enabled controller (hackable arduino) files shared on Github … 
  •  LiPO 850mAh battery for anywhere brewing
  •  5VDC battery charger (micro-USB same as your phone)
  •  fully customizable monitoring display (it’s your phone) Server & app run by Blynk
  •  use any of your favorite glasses or mugs.
  •  industrial pipe design
  • (planned feature) ETA
  • (planned feature) battery monitor

Drop-BOB – a better coffee maker – Cold Drip


I’ve been working on my software today. I think I have a good base that I will call this version V0.1 … an alpha release, since I know there are a few crashes and more bugs than I would allow in my beta software.
But overall, I’m happy with the result. I have my Arduino code working well with the Blynk platform. From top to bottom & left to right I can: 

  – monitor network connection
  – visually see the servo position
  – monitor up-time
  – see the real time DPM (drops per minute)
  – automatically tweet about making Coffee
  – see the desired drip rate (Set-point)
  – count drops
  – see a history of DPM
  – modify desired drip rate (set-point)
  – Manually adjust the servo position
  – restart when finished
  – simulate a drop
  – and pause the system
All while using a smaller package than when I was using an arduino with an LCD … remember that?
The next step right now is to CAD this “THING” (that’s the real name) … And then place it nicely into my drop-BOB (3d printed design to hold all these components) … It counts drops … and it just bob’s under the water holding thing … kinda sounds cute.

Oh, and also, since my idea is to eventually release this into the world with huge potential for modifications and improvements, I’ve shared my code on my GitHUB. Feel free to make improvements. make comments, or even suggestions that I can implement (note, I’m not a software guy … I juts do this for fun. So go easy on my code).

Hack-on!

Closed Loop Drop-BOB … The Cold Drip Coffee maker that could!


So its been longer than I’d have hoped for this post, but I was so torn in my design ideas that I decided to wait a little. I let the ideas settle in my mind and eventually, the inspiration came!

I had a few design criteria to make this Cold Drip coffee maker:

  • Simple & Elegant
  • Easy to manufacture with many “off the shelf” components
  • Hack-able
  • Not offensive to Jenn’s Eye (The wife) … so It can be kept in the kitchen
  • Has a certain “Bobby Style
  • Not too expensive (I’ll probably optimize this later) 
The worst part is that I did not want to settle on any of these criteria … none more important than the other, but all required.
Cold Drip Coffee Maker – “Closed Loop Drop-BOB V1.0” (**Name is a work in progress)
Let me remind you of the progression of the designs prior to V1.0:
V0.1 – the proof of concept
V0.2 – functional prototype
V0.5 – New and improved looks

And now, just recently out of the Alpha stage and graduating to the Beta testing stage: The V1.0 – “Closed loop Drop-BOB” (Name is a work in progress) … The model is not fully manufactured yet (still a few parts on order & to order at the moment). But here is what I’ve got so far:
It all started with the simple wooden bracket shown above. Even though this is not what I want for the final V1.0 product, It helped me visualize what I actually want.

Once I made the bracket, I quickly drilled and taped the brass plug and attached it. Oh, I skipped the part where I cut glass … I’ll come back to that.
This is the part that actually gave me a kick in the ass to make this thing. Since I took apart my original prototype, I’ve been drinking peasant coffee (you know from an espresso maker, like the rest of the world)… After tasting this liquid nectar from the slow drip process, I was all hyped up and wanted to finish this new and improved version.

 It was so good to see this familiar coffee colour (Canadian spelling eh). And since I started making smaller batches, I was able to minimize waste. It takes the same amount of grounds to make 2 shots of extra delicious cold drip, as it does to make 2 shots from an espresso maker … This is for those who think Cold Drip costs more on grounds … not necessarily.

 So back to the glass cutting part. This is the part of the design that forced me to re-think my ways … At first I wanted to make my own water reservoir because I couldn’t find anything on the market that would work with a drip valve (open at the bottom & the top). I also wanted to potentially control the temperature with a peltier plate … but that will be for a later version.

I eventually came to the conclusion that I should modify a container to suit my purpose. Diamond tip glass cutting bits are a little expensive (but who am I kidding … I love buy new tools).

I did the entire cut on my drill press, with the glass inside another glass filled with water. Make sure you have no air bubbles.

The hole came out nice. Only a few little chips were missing, but nothing I can’t deal with by using some washers and O-rings.

This part was the most tricky … and the reason I spent over a hour standing in front of the brass fittings part of the local hope depot store.

Turns out that compression fittings are not easy to combine with other types of fitting .. like MIP, and Pipe treads, etc … I needed some distance between my valve and the glass ,so I can add my little beauty of a “Close Loop” servo control box (more on this later) … You see, the next great idea I had was not to connect anything other than a single hole to the bottom of a glass (or, steel, or wood, or coconut, etc). This allows me to use virtually any container that I can make a 3/8″ hole at the bottom.

Seems to work nice. Got the distance I was looking for by connecting the 1/8″ compression thread valve to a flared copper pipe, to a female MIP, to a 3/8″ OD short brass pipe and connected all that with some O-rings to prevent leakage … I feel like I can optimize this later for cost and simplicity, but good enough for V1.0.
Here’s where all the magic happens. This little box is less than 2 square inches … And packs the servo, the valve, and the photo-interrupter all in a tiny little robust package. (The wireless controller ESP8266 will also be fit into here shortly … if it ever arrives)
Once this think is fully built, I should be able to control and monitor the drip rate from my smart phone … from anywhere in the world!