I'm not a mechanical engineer so please be patient with my descriptions and question.

I am working on a design for a device that needs to measure out different amounts of powders by volume (not weight!), for example ground spices. Without a mechanical engineering background I am basically winging it. But coming from a software engineering background, I imagine that there must be established patterns for this type of thing in mechanical engineering as well.

What are some go-to patterns and designs for measuring out powders in mechanical engineering design?

It doesn't have to be incredibly precise. Not as precise as, for example, a gun powder measuring device. These need to be rough measures, though precision wouldn't be a problem either.

  • $\begingroup$ You should add some more specs of your project. What are the expected volumes handled (per hour and per portion), and what sort of inaccuracy would you be okay with (accuracy, speed, price, choose two.) For low volume operation manual solutions may be preferable too. $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 15:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How about a funnel with a rotating plate with a calibrated hole that comes past at a relevant speed to control volume? $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 22:43

1 Answer 1


I suppose you need some kind of powder doser or volumetric feeder

It might work on measuring time. Very easy principle, you need valve (maybe solenoid valve or for some sort of flap door) and timer switch. Mark volumes on your container, measure time needed for filling each volume for each spice you need and program your valve.

You could use Arduino to operate your system, cheap and accesible. If you have programming experience you might be able to program it very fast, maybe even find some already made solutions online.

Different spices will have different times because they have different density or bit (particle) size, so keep that in mind.

You may encounter all sort of problems like spices tending to stuck in pipe etc. You might need to use vibrating sieve or sifter, to prevent clogging, also control humidity, maybe use dehumidifiers or smth. But probbably some of the problems are solved during rest of the production process.

Or you can buy doser or pay patent rights to build it if this one is sufficient for your needs.


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