John W. Cornwell Home

Beer Launching Fridge

3/21/07: I am going to be on the Late Show with David Letterman tonight. I had an awesome time and I even got Jack Black to sign my fridge! I also got a shipment of beer today, and I want to thank Miller for keeping my fridge stocked!

3/06/07: I have decided that there might be a large enough interest to produce a limited number of beer launching fridges. If I were to manufacture them I would have all of the parts professionally machined for a much cleaner look (although it would still have exposed motors, gears, etc). The price would be around $1500, although the launcher would have a few improvements. The new launcher would use something similar to a miniature TV remote. It would have buttons to rotate it left, right, fire, and also have 0-9 be programmable angles. I would use a slightly larger mini-fridge so that the magazine would be closer to 20 beers. The distance will be adjustable manually to get the right couch distance, but will not be adjustable with the remote. Please email me if you would be interested in purchasing one at that price.

2/28/07: If you watched the beer launcher video on any site other than, I would really appreciate it if you clicked on my video link and watched the video there. Metacafe is the only site that has a license to show my copyrighted video and it is the only site I get paid for ad revenue. Thanks and I hope you enjoy the BLF!!!

Have you ever gotten up off the couch to get a beer for the umpteenth time and thought, "What if instead of ME going to get the BEER, the BEER came to ME???" Well, that was how I first conceived of the beer launching fridge. About 3 months and several hundred dollars later I have a fully automated, remote controlled, catapulting, man-pit approved, beer launching mini-fridge. It holds 10 beers in its magazine with 14 more in reserve to store a full case. It is controlled by a keyless entry system. Pressing unlock will start the catapult rotating and when it is aiming at your target, pressing unlock again will stop it. Then the lock button can be pressed to launch a beer in the selected direction.

Almost all of the raw materials for the refrigerator were purchased from McMaster-Carr, some motors came from Jameco, and the switches/potentiometer were purchased at RadioShack. In total the beer launching refrigerator uses 3 limit switches. Two of which are triggered when the elevator reaches the top or bottom of its travel, and one is triggered when the catapult arm is fully cocked. I also have a potentiometer that is connected to the rotating catapult platform. The voltage across the potentiometer is read by the microcontroller to sense the angle of the catapult platform.

The Beer Launching Fridge Video

The beer launching refrigerator.

Above is an image of the 10 beer magazine fully loaded.

When the elevator is bringing a beer up, the next beer in line is held back by a spring loaded retaining arm as shown above.

The catapult cocking mechanism is shown in the picture above. The large sprocket rotates freely on the main shaft. The screw sticking out of the big sprocket contacts the other machine screw, which is attached firmly to the shaft. The sprocket rotates the catapult arm until it latches and contacts a limit switch, and then rotates out of the way so the arm can spring forward unhindered.

Here is an image of the circuit board I had made from expresspcb for the beer fridge. It uses an ATMEGA8535 for the main microprocessor, 3 intelligent H-bridges to control the motors, a Darlington transistor array to control the solenoid, and a MAX232 for RS232 debug io.

Here is the catapult cocked and ready. The solenoid which releases the arm is out of view on the left.

This is a view of the springs with the cocking motor in the background. At full extension the springs have a torque of about 40 inch-pounds.

When the beer elevator is at its top position the spring loaded bottom portion is tilted down to empty the beer can into the catapult.

Here is a view of the motor which rotates the catapult platform via a gear/gear rack. The solenoid which triggers the launch as well as the Pyle Watchdog remote entry receiver are also visible.

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