There are two main inspirations for our design.
Firstly, the food industry in Toronto often depends on small features to boost the popularity of a store. This can be seen in high end restaurants like "Sara" where there are compartments for phones in the tables as well as sushi places where sushi is delivered by robots. Bubble tea places also include small features such as ordering from a machine to boost sales. By including a Boba puncher in a restaurant, a small unique feature is included which can be interesting enough to boost sales.
Secondly, we have seen many instances of people unsuccessfully inserting straws into bubble tea cups. With the boba puncher, people will be able to drink bubble tea with confidence and ease!
What it does
The boba puncher helps insert a straw into a bubble tea cup. By simply inserting a drink into the machine, the straw will then be inserted.
How I built it
We originally planned to use 3D printing for all components of our design. However, due to our limited time and the restrictions on 3D printing for the competition, we were forced to instead use wood. We still 3D printed the part that grabs the straw. Designs for the frame have been created and can be 3-D printed whenever it is needed.
Challenges I ran into
We were having trouble finding a way to generate enough force to punch a hole into the cup. We overcame this through a long brainstorming process where we finally chose a design where we would insert the straw using the help of a stepper motor.
The construction of the frame was also a challenge due to learning that 3-D printing was not an option after we had already created the designs.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We managed to come up with a fun and quirky idea without being tied down about skill constraints. We picked up many new skills today in the pursuit of a functioning boba puncher, and we are proud to say that in the end, not only did we end with a moving prototype, we had gained many applicable design and engineering tools and skills. We were also very proud of our seamless teamwork, delegating respective roles and completing them on schedule, as well as treating each other with the utmost respect at all times.
What I learned
We learned that though 3-D printing is extremely powerful, there are severe time constraints that limit the scope and ability of this tool. However, we learned skills about CAD design, Arduino, circuit design, mechanical design, and tool and hardware proficiency. We also learned that things will never go as smoothly as hoped, and often meets worst-case scenarios, and as such contingency plans must be made.
What's next for Boba Puncher
Further testing as well as a better looking frame that is fully 3-D printed. Also, we would like to add a height adjustment component to accommodate all cup sizes.