Bar Mixvah: A 3D-printed robot bartender you can make yourself

The Bar Mixvah holds five bottles and takes drink orders from any Internet-connected device. And you can build your own with a little know-how, a little cash, and a lot of patience.

Michael Franco
Freelancer Michael Franco writes about the serious and silly sides of science and technology for CNET and other pixel and paper pubs. He's kept his fingers on the keyboard while owning a B&B in Amish country, managing an eco-resort in the Caribbean, sweating in Singapore, and rehydrating (with beer, of course) in Prague. E-mail Michael.
Michael Franco
2 min read

I'll have another! Yu Jiang Tham next to his 'Bar Mixvah,' a cocktail-making machine he made himself. Video screenshot by Michael Franco/CNET

Drinking is the anti-work right? So why should you fuss over recipes, measurements, opening and closing bottles, and all that other tedious stuff involved with making a perfect cocktail? You shouldn't! You should have a robot make your giggle juice for you.

That's what an engineer named Yu Jiang Tham did. Using parts made from a Makerbot Replicator 2X 3D printer and some other odds and ends, Tham assembled what he has called the Bar Mixvah, an automatic drink-making machine that can hold five different bottles. That's not quite as many as the 15-bottle Bartendro that was crowdfunded last year, but that is currently selling for $3,699.99, while Tham's contraption can be made for a cool $180.

Inside the Bar Mixvah are a series of peristaltic pumps. If you're like me, you might remember learning how peristalsis works by watching your high school teacher squeeze an orange through a stocking. It's basically the process by which our throat muscles activate and relax to create a wave that moves our food along. In Tham's contraption, the pumps move liquid from the bottles to your glass in a similar fashion.

The brain behind the Bar Mixvah is an inexpensive Arduino Nano microcontroller that Tham set up to work with with a Web-based interface, so you can use any Internet-connected device to place your drink orders.

In case you're interested in creating your own Bar Mixvah, Tham has made all of his plans and code available on GitHub. It doesn't look easy, but if you're a dab hand at DIY and a determined cocktail lover, there's not much to prevent you from following in Tham's footprints.

For me, I'm much better at mixing a cocktail than soldering circuits, so I'm going to wait till Tham decides to market this baby. Till then, I'll see you at the bar.