Category Archives: #Cold

DropBOB PRO “Hit-Single” release


So I’ve been back from holidays for about 2 weeks now, what do I have to show for this? Well, to be honest, not as much as I’d hoped. I’ve actually been struggling with a little bit of mild anxiety. This all started sometime while I was in Europe on vacation. I didn’t know it at the time, but it turns out Nasonex (a nasal steroid for allergies), has some side effects that actually affect me. Anxiety is not something I have ever really had. So it caught me off guard.

I’ve stopped using the spray for about 2 weeks now and the anxiety is almost completely gone. It only pops up if I don’t sleep enough now. This made me a little more aware of what people who suffer from anxiety feel. It’s not fun. It makes you doubt even your own rational thoughts. My anxiety was actually centered around “being stuck somewhere” … like planes, or even a restaurant. Anytime that I would be forced to not move, whether because of norms (like at a restaurant or movie theater), or in a plane or bus, my hands would sweat, and if I thought too much I would actually get a full on panic attack where my chest would feel warm and my heart would beat faster. I managed to keep it under control though.

Continue reading DropBOB PRO “Hit-Single” release

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(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.

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!