Kitchen counter space is prime real estate that's often cluttered with appliances and utensils. Often, people will try to reclaim that counter space by storing smaller appliances in cupboards, which can be a hassle every time you want to use them. To that end, retired engineer Terry Reynolds created automated tray that slides in and out, making it easy to access and stow coffee makers, tea kettles, toasters and more.
The RoboTray was designed using a pair of 12 V DC motors that are controlled by an Arduino and an L298 H-bridge driver. The tray uses a 60-500RPM reversible high-torque turbo worm geared motor to slide the tray in and out on a pair of aluminum rods. The bottom platform is outfitted with a Lazy Susan turntable driven by a 12 RPM geared motor, which connects to the turntable using a 3D-printed coupler.
Reynolds uses the RoboTray for his kettle, and when it's powered on, the tray slides out. Once it's fully extended, the turntable rotates with micro switches indicating "home" and "away" positions. "It takes about 55 seconds from power on until the cup starts to fill, so plenty of time to put the teabag in the cup and place it on the turntable," Reynolds notes in his write-up.
After the kettle brews the tea, it turns itself off, which is sensed by the Arduino, and after 10 seconds, it returns the turntable to its original position and slides the tray back into its home position. The RoboTray is a great platform that can help deculturize any countertop.
For those interested, Reynolds has uploaded a detailed walkthrough of the build on his project page.