Techie Stuff

The Inebriator is powered by an Arduino Mega 2560 Microprocessor Project Board- Arduino is an open source electronics prototyping platform (

A separate console is used to select drinks, this uses a Fez Panda II (running .netmf code) with a serial VFD (Vacuum fluorescent display) and a rotary encoder for input. The console sends commands to the arduino over a serial connection. The cocktail definitions are stored on the Fez Panda II in xml format on the SD card. All the low level mechanics code is run from the arduino, high level menu and cocktail code is on the Fez Panda II. Eventually the console will be replaced with an Android Tablet.

A stepper motor is used to drive the drinks shelf, with acceleration and deceleration to allow high speed without spilling.

A DC motor is used to operate the optics.

All mixers are in plastic bottles in a cool box, each bottle has two pipes, one that is hooked to the gas tank (70% Nitrogen and 30% Carbon Dioxide), and the other goes from the bottom of the bottle to a valve. When the gas tank is opened (through a regulator) the bottles are pressurised to a low safe pressure. When 12v is applied to the valve it opens, and the pressure causes the liquid to flow through the pipe and ultimately into the glass. Each mixer has its own valve and individually controllable. There is also a cut off valve for the gas supply.

A force sensitive resistor is in place to detect the presence of a glass to prevent accidental operation.

An RFID sensor is integrated to allow operators with a valid RFID token to get at admin functions such as priming of the mixers, and prevent inebriated users from accidentally causing chaos.

There is a small cluster of RGB LEDs in the drinks tray to allow for illumination of the glass and is further used to indicate running and completion of dispensing a cocktail.

There is also a small cluster of RGB LEDs in the top of each optic to illuminate each spirit.Control System

146 thoughts on “Techie Stuff

  1. Pingback: Indagadores |Seguridad informatica |Seguridad en internet » Inebriator servidores de seguridad de todos los cΓ³cteles

  2. Pingback: The Inebriator - Arduino Cocktail Machine | JSN

  3. Would it be possible for you to go into more detail about how you are measuring the amount of liquid to add in? With both the mixers and straight alcohol?

    • Mixers are on a pressurised system, open the electronic valve and they pour, to control the amount dispensed we calibrate it so we know how long it takes to pour 100ml, divide by 100, gives us how many milliseconds to pour 1ml, we then multiply out the pouring time from there. It’s surprisingly accurate. Slight disadvantage is that liquids of different viscosities pour at different rates, so I will be adding into the menu system a mechanism to calibrate each mixer individually.

      The optics are simpler, we timed how long it takes to pour a full shot. We timed how long it takes for the motor to move the actuator into position, and simply switch on the motor for that length of time. Additionally we timed how long it takes to pour half a shot (12.5ml) with a bit of trial and error, so that we can also dispense half shots when required.

        • The optics are metered at 25ml, the have a chamber in them of this volume, so how full the bottle is will only alter the speed this fills so will not affect the dispensed amount.

          The mixer bottles are pressurized to about 5psi, via a pneumatic regulator. Our test so far prove the pour rate to be linear.

          • would it be worth developing one that measures out an ounce in squirtfuls?

            not a word, but i suppose that’s the best way to describe it, would be better for accuracy when it comes to certain shots/mojitos etc.

            3 ounces = 3 touches kinda thing or if the touch is prolonged simply keep adding ounces.

  4. This project is very well executed. Kudos. Could you elaborate on the hardware used with the stepper motor system to move the drink glass? I can drive a stepper, but I don’t know where/how to get a good track system to use it with.

    • Thanks, essentially its just a 5mm timing belt, wrapped around a timing pulley in the carriage. The timing belt is fixed and tensioned at either end of the machine.

      • Any insight as to why you went with this method as opposed to threaded rods or something else? I saw the video of your V2 axis on youtube, did you decide to stick with the same method?

        Awesome project, especially making it look great as well.

        • Thread rod would transfer more power, but are usually slower (regular thread) and more expensive. You could do it with a ball screw bearing, but they are really expensive.

  5. Hi ! Über nice robot you got here !
    We are also automatising a beer brewery with friends.
    Maybe you’d like to use peristaltic pumps to be really precise on volumes ? (but may be too slow for usage ?) We use it a lot in biology.
    Keep going it’s fuckin’ great πŸ™‚

  6. Thanks! Yeah, we have a peristaltic pump that we tried, and it would be too slow. Perfect on the other hand for adding dashes of Tobasco to Bloody Mary’s!

  7. Awesome stuff, could you elaborate on where you sourced the filled compressed gas bottle and how the mechanism that activates the optics works? Thanks!

    • Thanks Mike, Gas is from BOC (UK). Linear actuator is made from some aluminium box section, 12v DC motor, and a rack and pinion.

      • Did you purchase the rack and pinion or make it? I have been looking all over the internet for a small rack and pinion with no luck in finding one.

  8. if you ever produce a how to video i would really be interested in getting a shared link to see your amazing work. Bloody Fantastic job here guys!

    • It’s all controlled by the arduino, I just loop through checking the state of the buttons (it currently doesn’t use interrupts) and update the display for the current selected cocktail, when selected it calls out a function for that cocktail. I’m currently re-doing the console on a .netmf board though as I’m a little more proficient in object oriented languages like Java and .NET, the new system will load the cocktails from an XML file on an SD card rather than being hard coded. Hopefully there will be an update in the coming weeks with the new improved console system. The ultimate aim is to use an Android tablet using the Android ADK.

      • Been designing a machine very similar to this with friends and yours has been a great source of ideas. Ours revolves instead of sliding as we have limited room and this way multiple glasses can be used as long as the number of bottles is limited.

        Were planning on getting the thing running from an android tablet too, any news on how that’s going?

      • I was about to suggest using a WiFi enabled board for tablet / smart phone control, but it looks like you’re heading in that direction. How cool would that be, to order your drink without even having to go up to the machine?

  9. I want one of these. Where can i buy one? Or can you post up complete list of plans and parts so i can build my own? This is an awesome idea I want one.

  10. You sir, are a genius! This is an awesome project for an Arduino, it beats the hell out of my gate that tweets πŸ™‚

    I hope you will be fully documenting and publishing a how to.

    Great project, nice work!


  11. Pingback: Inebriator, an Arduino-powered robot, is your personal bartender | Digital Trends

  12. Have you given any thought to how you might be able to add Tonic or Seltzer to the mix? Nice to be able to do a gin and tonic or similar drink.

  13. Pingback: Inebriator – DIY Robot Bartender To Make Your Cocktails In Glowing Style | Hardware Sphere

  14. Hi! This is a great project! It’s very good!

    I’m student of Enginnering of Electronic and Telecomunications, and i have a similiar project but it for other things.

    Were i can’t fine or buy, the bootle dispenser? For vodka, wisky, run…

  15. Badass. You mention optics – but I’m not clear on what this means. Do you have a chamber for the alcohol to fill in (in 25ml increments) that you detect optically?

    I’m thinking weight might be a good way to measure pour volume. A small load cell under the cup – measuring tare weight. Despite the different viscosities of the liquor the weight per ml should be identical.

  16. Pingback: Coqueteleira Geek! «

  17. This is awesome. I’m looking for a project to do similar to this. What would you say the estimated price was for this? Ballpark estimate is fine. I just need an idea.

  18. Hello, i am from Venezuela, i am a student of engineering and i’m interested in make a proyect as you for my class of control, but i want ask you something before please may you can tell me a easier and cheaper way to dispense the liquid into the glass? Thanks i hope you can reply me. see ya.

  19. Very great work you did there, congrats!

    Would you mind tell us which stepper motor you used ? And did you connect it through an e.g. EasyDrive or did you connect it directly to the Arduino ?

  20. Can you tell me why you went with the trolly system? A design I have been thinking about would keep the cup stationary. This would result in less moving parts (less maintenance, less chance of something breaking).

  21. Is the x axis belt system just controlled by a stepper motor and controller? If so what type of motor and controller did you use? Also where did you find the medal rods that guide the platform?

  22. Hi I was just wondering what the outside dimensions of the frame are and what type of material did you use? steel or aluminum angle?


    • Sorry, we are not releasing a detailed parts list, not yet at least. Many parts were recycled from other objects and we haven’t found suitable replacements yet.

  23. Pretty cool proyect! I was just wondering why using gas to pressurise the bottles? Is not enough using gravity valves… Can you be more precise about the specific valves you used? Thanks!!!

    • Wouldn’t work gravity fed with the coolbox on the floor. Could perhaps be used if mixer bottles we’re mounted in the machine.

  24. Brilliant project! Did you use a brusehed or brushless DC motor? As for the stepper motor to move the carriage I assume it is a 12V. Am I right? Thanks !!

  25. At first, congratulations for that amazing machine! You don’t know how many days I’ve been wondering about it! kkkkkkkkk
    I’d like to know if you wrote any article or something about the Inebriator. I’ve already read that you won’t release the code or schematic design and I do really agree with that. But, at least, could you say which book, articles or papers you studied by?
    Best regards from Brazil!!

  26. Since when is 60psi a safe pressure? haha
    Getting great feedback its quite an interesting read!
    PS stuck in China for only another week so we need to go out for a few when im back, not seen you all in ageeeesss. x

  27. Do you have a feedback so if an error or fault occurs in the system it stops the machine, like if the glass dont move under a bottle how do you know and how do you stop it? Thanks !!

    • There is some error detection, when an error occurs all the bottle lights change to red so we know it needs attention. We are adding more error checking in v2.

      • what happens when the lights turns red? does it stop the whole system. how does the error detection in your system works? maybe you are using infrared sensors to check the position of the glass? thanks

  28. Very nice project you guys have here,
    what kind of elektrocilinder do you guys use (to push the “bar butlers”)
    i can only find very expensive one’s that can push 180 kilo’s

  29. Hey, nice project!!

    I try to rebuilt it for me. Which stepper motor did you use? I read about 12V. Do you know the holding torque or the current? Which stepper driver did you use? EasyDriver 4.4?

    Thanks a lot.

  30. Hi guys!
    At first nice job.
    But i have one question:
    How did you solve the rails with the slide? Did you construct that at your own?

  31. hi,
    how many strokes does the linear actuator have or did you build your own?
    most of them which are for sale in online stores are much more for a heavy duty that you dont need for such a small amount of weight.

    • It’s a rack and pinion set up in a home made rig, it’s made from bits we had lying around, we are currently looking for something to replace it as we have been unable to find a supplier of similar parts.

  32. Awesome! Did you have to add extra memory storage to your Arduino to hold all of that code (code and drink recipes) ? Do you have the model number for those solenoid valves anymore? They look awful nice, not like the ones that are coming up for me on ebay.

    Great attention to detail!

    • Originally all the code was on the arduino mega, if I recall correctly I think it was about 30k, and it ran a basic menu on an lcd, there was about 15 cocktails all hard coded. Now we have a Fez panda 2 running all the highlevel cocktail code and menu system etc (which is in the console with the VFD), which then sends commands to the arduino over a serial connection. On the fez panda the cocktails are stored on the sd card in xml.

  33. does the firgelli l12 linear actuator good enough for your needs? where did you sourced the timing belt and pulley ?


  34. I will change the pouring engine and not using valves but rather use normal “pressure up” tot measures”. Maybe rotate the bottles and press the bottle down towards a fixed platform. But I love the futuristic look! Well done guys!! 10 /10

  35. I Fucking love this machine.
    Cant wait for V2.
    It makes me feel good!
    You are awesome. XOXO

    • Sadly going to have to stop using copyrighted music on youtube videos, the copyright owners have hijacked the vid and added adverts to them… very annoying

  36. I have worked with Arduino myself in college, and for my exam project I had a lot of trouble with stepper motors.
    I’d like to know which stepper motors and what commands you use along with Arduino to make it work? Did you use the standard Arduino library for steppers? We couldn’t figure out our problem for the exam, but I can still improve my grades at the oral exam.
    I hope you will help πŸ™‚

    • We used a hardware stepper driver, so on the arduino side all we have to do is set a pin high/low to set direction, and pulse another pin high to get a step. Also, we wanted to use micro stepping to get a smoother operation which is much simpler with a dedicated driver.

  37. Wow, so incredible!! Hi, This is Claire from South Korea. I’m working at a liquor company and my boss is interested in buying your machine. Please Let me know whether you sell it or not. one more!! Can we make like your machine to promote our new product’MACKISS'(liquor)? I’m waiting for your reply.

  38. I am super excited to hear that you are looking into commercialization! I think this is an incredible idea, and well done for making it. I adore this and am a waiting the day that these go live! I am from Canada, and a few friends and I make a point of having kick ass bars- and this is so incredibly over the top I love it!

  39. How do you account for ice with the optics to keep the ratios within any particular drink constant and still prevent overflow?

  40. Guys, Bravo! You’ve made a wonderful bit of kit.

    I saw reference in one of the posts to adding mixers to the drinks (soda, cola, lemonade) if you were looking how to do that I would think the internals of the following push to pour soft drinks heads would help:

    If you need help on the setup of a soft drinks system, please don’t hesitate to give me an email and I would gladly help out wherever possible.

    Well done!

    P.S super keen to buy one when they become available for my mobile bar πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, post mix systems are something we need to look into, if you are able to give us a brief summary of what we would need and typical costs that would be extremely useful. Thanks, Jake

  41. Hey Guys,
    Loving the changes you’ve made. I’m wondering if you know of any good resources to peruse to learn about stepper motors and implementing them into my projects.

  42. Hi. I love this product and i’m interested by distribute this in France, where I already have a compagny which sell POS systems. Please contact me by mail.

  43. Hi

    Did you build the linear motion system that transports the drinks yourself or did you purchase it?

    If you make it yourselves how do the moving parts work and what sensors did you use to detect when it reaches a bottle?


  44. Hey,
    My name is Sebastien and I would like to build a similar machine but I only have the arduino relay motor shield version 1.3 (by seedstudio) to program it. What would you recommand me to code, please? Because I can’t run the motor, and I don’t know why.

  45. Hey there, I was just wondering if you could explain how you are connecting the bottles to the solenoid valve? I see you mentioned you are using 25ml optics but exactly how does it connect together? I can’t seem to find a good way to connect it all together.


    • The optics are for the spirits, and they simply push in, flip the bottle open and push the optic to dispense exactly 25ml. Optics are designed for pubs and bars in the UK to abide by the “Weights and Measures Act”.

      The mixers are in plastic bottles, with a pressurised gas supply (co2), a pipe runs through the bottle lid and to the bottom and is connected to the valve. When the valve is opened liquid is pushed through due to the pressure trying to even out.

  46. Hello there, cool little gizmow.
    Just a quick question, how are you measuring the mixers that come out? Flow meter?
    Does the carbonation of soft drinks effect accuracy of measure?


    • We just time it, when setting up the machine we calibrate it with function in the menu. The funtion times how long it takes to pour a set amount, and then dived the quantity by time to get flow rate. It’s suprisingly acurate. On version 2 there is a loadcell in the glass holder so we can way the glass acurately, this should alow us to auto calibrate it, as well as detect when a mixer or optic has run out.

  47. Hey guys. You’ve inspired me and my friends to build one of these. We have most of the materials already. I have a few questions that I would really appreciate if you could answer. I was looking at the mixers, and how they are dispensed into the glass. I was wondering, what type of plastic bottles did you use? I can’t find any that would work. Also how long does you gas tank last? I was wondering if I could just use a small air compressor instead? I don’t know if that’s safe or not. Also, how much did your project run overall? Ours is around $500 for now, but I’m sure we have forgotten about some things we will have to buy later on. Do you also have any advice before we start actually building it? Thank you so much! Keep up the awesome work!

    • OH I just saw your coolbox post! I have spent hours on your website but have never seen that post. sorry. But I’m still confused as to how you got another valve at the bottom of the bottles. How did you do that?

  48. I’m pretty sure anyone that has been checking on progress has enough time to go to college. Learn the ropes and STEAL this idea and become millionaires before these guys do. I wonder if anyone else is already working on replicating this ? I guess time will tell.

  49. Just an idea if you are good at programming (I’m not). But i think it would be amazing if you developed the interface into an interactive interface that changes its drink list based on what bottles(alcohol) you have loaded into the machine. Potentially it could make anything you want that doesn’t require strange shaking/stirring/pouring. For example there could be a settings display that allows you to set which alcohols are in each port which based on the picture there are nine. then when you went back to the active drink list it would automatically update with available drink recipes. Nine available alcohols at one time can make a lot of drinks. Lastly from asking my programming friends it could definitely be done using your android tablet idea.

  50. Awesome project gentlemen.
    I’m curious as to how you are powering everything. Is there a voltage/power distributor involved?

  51. Hi guys,

    Great project! I’m working on something similar myself. My biggest challenge right now is finding regulator for low pressure like you’re using. What make and model regulator are you using?


  52. Do you have the Arduino code that you could send me I am trying to do this myself and I need some help.

    Thanks very much


  53. Hey guys!
    I would like to thank you first of all! You have inspired us to built a cocktail – machine as a school project. We need this project for our final exams. We did things little different, but as i said you have been the inspiration for this.
    You can get information of our project right here:
    I am sorry, because the website is german.

    You can order your drink via our own android app. Our tray is not moving left to right, it is rotating to the positions. Also we are pressing the scoops differently, we do have servo motors on every single scoop. We also use nitrogen to transport the antialcoholic beverages to the top.

    If you are interested in our work, you can watch a first test in this video:

    We are planing to do more videos in near future. Also their will be some design upgrades soon (more LED’s).

    So thank you again!

  54. Where did you get your optics and did they leak often? I’m having trouble finding optics that don’t leak or some alternative to using them.

    • They are from beaumont, they dont leak much, though there is the occasional drip. They work best with spirits, they are not really designed for sugary drinks, as it makes them harder to clean.

  55. Awesome project! can i ask what valve did you use at the end of the bottle? can the pump be used for like condensed milk?

    • The valves were just cheap valves from ebay, we have swopped them now for some slightly better ones with larger orifices, however generally they work well. We haven’t tested the new ones much so wont recomend them just yet. I’m not sure condensed milk will work, i suspect its too viscous.

  56. Hey, nice build!
    I got a question, you use a DC motor to operate the optic dispensers.
    What do you use to get an upward movement to operate the dispenser?
    Do you use a wormwheel or…?
    Please answer me, many thanks!


  57. Idk if you are still able to answer my rude question but, i’d like to ask this. Where can i get those guide rail and how would them cost?

    • For the long travel axis it is just angle aluminium, and the trolley has v bearings to guide it along it. I wouldn’t recommend this approach however, as it isn’t particularly reliable and can easily de-rail. We are currently redesigning the long travel to use proper linear rails, which should make it much more reliable and allow us to go faster. Linear rails are more expensive but much better suited to the job, try ebay, Chinese sellers are making them available quite cheap compared to local suppliers, quality can be lower, but for projects like this should work fine. We needed some that were about 1.2m, which made it proportionally more expensive: ~Β£120. 1m rails can be had cheaper.

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