By Steven Nelson
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Host David Calkins
My good friend, Beer2D2 and I made the journey to San Francisco, CA for the Barbot 2013 event that was put on by David Calkins and Simone Davalos. David and Simone are the organizers for ComBots and RoboGames. The Barbot event is actually a fundraiser for
RoboGames, and it has been going on for several years now.
The rules are simple: Make a machine that can mix and pour drinks, and serve them to a customer.
This has proven to be both an interesting and difficult build
challenge. There are many things to consider when designing a
machine that can dispense, cool, and serve liquids accurately while
keeping them food-safe and tasty, as well.
Since these drinks usually contain ethyl alcohol (which can be a
reactive solvent), the hoses, piping, fittings, containers, and valves
have to be made of materials that can survive its chemical actions.
The various mixes like citrus juices and wines tend to be acidic, and
also require components that can handle their pH levels.
To build a beverage-serving robot properly, it takes a fair
amount of research time and money to find what will and will not
work. The cost of building these systems varies from a few hundred
to several thousand dollars. The build times can be as short as one
day to five years.
I spoke with several of the participating builders and teams,
and asked about their machines and how they came up with their
58 SERVO 07.2013