A super-simple device for dispensing pre-measured food (for pets or research) at regular intervals throughout the day

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SnackClock dispenses food at regular intervals throughout the day. It was designed for use with mice in a research setting, but can be used for pets or other applications requiring a regular dispense of a pre-measured quantify of food.

This is a VERY simple feeding device.  SnackClock utilizes a 24-hour clock movement and two 3D printed pieces to dispense food at regular intervals. Basically the clock goes around and pushes food out.  There is no coding or micro-controller required and the clock movement should run for >1 year on a single AA battery.  

The 3D parts can be adapted to fit different types of caging.  Editable files are here:

Snackclock could be to use a stepper motor for less regular or irregular dispensing times.  For instance, a "weekly" clock movement could be a good "vacation" fish feeder.  Check out this blog post by Mahto about how to mess with the timing of a clock movement.  Please post comments on how this works out if you try this!

Funding and terms:

This project was funded by the NIH Intramural Research Program (NIDDK). This project is released under the terms of the Creative Commons - Attribution - ShareAlike 3.0 license:

  human readable:
  legal wording:

Updated STLs for 2021, fits Allentown NextGen caging with plastic hopper. More secure attachment to the clock movement.

x-zip-compressed - 109.96 kB - 02/25/2021 at 00:43


Original STLs from 2018, fits Allentown NextGen caging with wire rack hopper

x-zip-compressed - 18.70 kB - 02/25/2021 at 00:43


  • Updated SnackClock for 2021!

    Lex Kravitz02/25/2021 at 00:41 0 comments

    We revisited this project this year to dispense high fat diet over a 24 hour cycle, and decided to make the design more reliable.  Where we used to just push the pellet disk onto the clock mechanism and hope friction held it together, we now are using the brass threaded nut to hold everything together securely.  We are also printing the disk in two parts, with an internal hexoganol cog that can get clamped down onto the clock movement.  STLs in the files area, here are some photos of the new parts:

    And two of them assembled, these were set up with the high fat diet (blue stuff) in the first compartment and left overnight.  After 24 hours they dropped it out of the dispensing gap. 

  • Multi-day snackclock!

    Lex Kravitz06/27/2018 at 14:53 0 comments

    We purchased some clock movements that are programmed to move in a 4 day cycle for long term diet delivery.  I'll update how they work but so far they look good!  We purchased them here:

    See it in action!

  • Paper using SnackClock accepted at Obesity

    Lex Kravitz04/17/2018 at 18:30 1 comment

    We used the SnackClock for an experiment in a paper that was just accepted to the journal Obesity.  Download here.

  • SnackClock is live!

    Lex Kravitz03/26/2018 at 13:23 0 comments

    Just wrote up a short description of the SnackClock mechanism.  We have used this in our lab to control feeding behavior.  We recently had a paper accepted in the journal "Obesity" describing an experiment using this clock.  I'll post the link here when it is published.

View all 4 project logs

  • 1
    Print the two 3D parts
  • 2
    Assemble the Snackclock!
  • 3
    Place in caging and fill slots with food. SnackClock will turn the inner disk once per day, dispensing the food at regular intervals.

View all 3 instructions

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