I've done some struggling with feeders. Even the "best" one I found isn't perfect. I found I still need to rat proof it (or do the best I can.) Oh and it needs to be protected from the weather and the timer needs to be protected from the sun. And they don't keep bugs out but Here is essentially what I'm using. Autopetfeeder
The medium and large size ones have an additional agitator up in the feed bin that helps keep the feed moving through the system. The Medium and small versions have a bit of a tube that comes out the front that the foot falls down while the large one only has a cover over the end of the auger.
Part of the reason Michael asked is I just bought a Koi Chef and am returning it. It uses a horizontal flexible paddle to dispense food. The motor runs off 2 C-cell batteries and is not strong enough to turn the paddle against the weight of the food. The maker says it can handle up to 2.5 lbs, mine bogged down after 3/4 lb.
Ok I am in for a few. How about putting the whole electrical bottom in a tupper ware unit. That is how us classic car guys weather proof our Retrorod fuse boxes. I have a great timer. Does it run on 12 or 120?
Rob Torcellini said:
Probably doesn't help...but I welded my own with an auger....never jambs!
I'm not sure but I'm guessing Rob isn't in the business of manufacturing these for sale. But perhaps he could do up some diagrams, instructions and part lists so the braver of you could try your own hand at it.
TC is right....I'm really not set up to make these for sale.... This unit run on the rest of my automated system so it wasn't designed to run on it's own. (to see the entire thing in operation, you can watch it here However if you're handy with metal working equipment, you could build one.
I took a 3/4" auger bit for wood. This will fit perfectly inside a piece of 3/4" black pipe. Get a gearmotor to drive it. I got a surplus one from surpluscenter.com (item # 5-1683). You can grind down the end of the auger to fit inside the gearbox. Instead of the bottle, I would build a hopper tray instead. Sometimes to food gets jambed inside the neck of the bottle. I would probably cut out a large slit in the top of the black pipe so the food could drop right into the auger.
My official disclaimer: this is cold-hard steal....it will have no problem taking off your finger. I stuck a pencil into this while testing it and it chewed it apart....quite impressive!
You could also drop a 100 bucks on a koi pond feeder. ;-)
Ok, not nearly as cool as Rob's but I use Moultrie fish and wildlife feeders with a sheet of plastic taped around the bucket like a skirt. I'll post photos sometime. For larger operations they're wonderful. You can feed up to 6 times a day and the battery lasts for 6 or 7 months. You can get them from the Moultrie website for less than 30 bucks (refurbished, 6 gallon).
So everyone knows I'm building a feeder similar to Rob's. Once I get it worked out and adjusted, I'll let you know and will hopefully be able to build some for those interested. The changes I've made include using a slower gearmotor to allow for smaller feed amounts; a corn auger rather than a drill bit. I plan to put it in a rubbermaid container mounted on a 1x4 for support. Finally the feed hopper will have a 1" opening to avoid clogging (I could go 1.5"). The hopper may just be an inverted gallon bottle or a top fed paintball hopper. The latter doesn't hold as much but can be easily refilled.