I am trying to make a simple dispenser without using any electricity. I just want to create a simple dispenser that dispenses flour with the turn of a knob. I am creating this because wherever I bake, I need so many different measuring cups for each item, so I want to make a dispenser that dispenses each item, but I will start with just flour. Since flour is usually used in cups, I will have the dispenser dispense flour in ¼ cups. Now to get into the problems, I have a design, but I dont know how to make it.

Everything has to be in the right size since I am having the measurement of ¼ cup, so the space in between the spinning disc must be equivalent to ¼ cup. The other issue is for this to work; the canister holding the flour must be just big enough for the spinning disc to fit inside, so that means I can’t buy it online. So my two most significant issues are how do I make the disc and how do I make the canister that would fit. If anybody can help, that would be much appreciated.

If anyone has any alternative designs or ideas, they are all welcomed. I also want to mention that I dont know how to do a lot of stuff since I am still in high school.

The desgin I am using Knob and spinning disc desgin

  • $\begingroup$ Use a helix, with 1 turn = 1/4 cup? $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ @SolarMike, what do you mean helix? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 15:23

1 Answer 1


If your objective is to use the design shown in the patent drawing or similar, you'll have to have a detent mechanism; something to restrict movement to carefully designed intervals. That's not likely to be particularly difficult to integrate into the design and you can research detents independently of this answer.

For the rotating paddle, consider that you can calculate the necessary volume to generate a quarter cup. The volume of a sphere is $\frac{4}{3}\pi.r^3$ and I'd suggest converting cups to cubic centimeters to keep the math easier. $\frac{1}{4}$cup = 59 cc, rounded to 60 cc.

If you'll want to use the full turn for $\frac{1}{4}$cup, each paddle should be the appropriate fraction of the sphere volume calculated previously. A six-paddle dispenser would have approximately 10 cc per segment. You can scale things up as desired, see below.

Also consider the exit path. The hopper would enable the material to fill all segments, but the exit should be restricted to open only one segment to gravity per detent click. Think of the mouth appearance of the Pac-Man game, or a wedge removed from a lemon. The opening allows one segment of material to fall, while the detent clicks into place providing the necessary delay for that action.

If six clicks per quarter cup is excessive, increase the overall volume to make it 60 cc per segment, which provides for one-quarter cup per detent click. Because baking is not a particularly exact science, one can tolerate a bit more or a bit less during the measuring process.

For the construction of such a mechanism, 3D printing immediately jumps to the forefront. That's a completely different question/answer sequence, I believe.

  • $\begingroup$ thank you so much; I will keep you updated on if it works! $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 15:55

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