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An Arduino-controlled automated whiskey distillery

Arduino TeamDecember 5th, 2016

If you simply want to have a drink now and then, building your own automated distillery probably isn’t the easiest way to obtain alcohol. As shown in this Instructables post, however, it can be done. On the other hand, if you create your own “NanoStillery,” you’ll have to contend with possible legal and safety issues while running the process… and of course, the risks of actually using the product.

Though the writeup appears quite good, with three control panels, custom mechanical components and a nicely-welded frame, it’s likely not a good project to attempt without a bit of engineering experience!

There are three panel boxes in the NanoStillery™, the main panel is driven by an Arduino Mega and the secondary one houses an Adafruit Feather GPRS board for transmitting data to the interweb. The third box has a large 12V power supply and a bank of relays in it.

The main control panel receives information from the various sensors in the system—temperatures, pressure and alcohol vapor levels and controls various valves, pump and the boiler heater via the relays. It then communicates with the Adafruit Feather via the I2C bus which then sends the data to a database where it is accessed from this webpage.

The GPRS module could very well have been bolted into the main control panel, but, for one, I had run out of room and secondly, I wanted the module to be removable so that it could be used for other projects in the future. Getting the two ‘machines’ to communicate with each other effectively was quite challenging. It was OK if the numbers were just simple small integers, but as soon as more complex ‘floats’ were involved, some serious number crunching code had to be developed.

Want to learn more? You can find all the necessary information on NanoStillery, including its code, over on Instructables.


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