Fill started his life in the 1970's at a L'Oreal factory, measuring the powder in compacts.

He then spent more than a decade filling creatine powder for a health food distributor. When we adopted him, he'd seen a lot of action, and was in need of some love.

After about a year of increasing tolerance problems, calibration became a significant time-waster, and after searching for replacements and component damage, it became clear that tracking down the problems would be more difficult than just implementing a microprocessor solution.

I chose Arduino because it was easily available, simple to program and cheap enough to have an entire system available as backup.

I don't get to design hardware often enough. This build included a cool zero-crossing design and some unorthadox uses of off-the-shelf fan dimmers.

This new system has been in use for a full year now, without any upgrades needed.

Fill has now fulfilled orders in Canada, the US, Tokyo and the UK. "Keep on filling!"

Technology

  • Linux Server
  • Hardware design
  • Arduino / AVR
  • Networking

Tools

  • Sublime Text
  • Arduino Studio
  • Tons of spec sheets
  • The digi-key catalog

Management

  • Requirements Analysis
  • Planning
  • Testing

Frack It, We'll Do It Live! This had to be done without interrupting an intense production run. In other words, the entire system had to be built in place as a redundancy, allowing the old hardware to be running in parallel, on the same machine, with me soldering during breaks in production. When the time came, we threw a switch and everything just kept humming. I came back a week or two later and removed the old hardware.

It's ridiculous looking The tiny arduino looked so silly running the show, I put it inside a huge PVC case so people would stop worrying about it.

It shows what arduino is capable of. The Arduino platform is awesome, mainly because of their choice of AVR. I like to show it's capable of more than flashing shirts and toys.