Build a Smart Man Cave with Home Automation Ideas for Father’s Day
Father. Sir. Old Man. Pops. Pa. Papa. Pappy. Padre… Whatever you call your “Dad”, he’s likely the most important man in your life. He’s always on your team (except when he’s on Mom’s) rooting for you; guiding you through life and helping you to make the right decisions; picking you up and brushing off the dust when you fall down. He’s your #1 fan. Even after a long, hard day, he’s there when you need him. Doesn’t he deserve a proper place to rest and relax? A sanctuary to call his own? This year, say thank-you to Dad and build him a smart Man Cave with home automation ideas for Father’s Day. If he’s the handy sort, why not build it together?
Whether Dad is a movie buff, beer lover, sports fan, gear head or games addict, any of these home automation ideas for Father’s Day will be a surefire hit and are easily modified to fit into any style.
No matter if his “man cave” is in the garage, pool house, basement, spare room, or he’s been wanting to make one out of your old room for years now, there are many options to install a few home automation ideas for Father’s Day. Keep it simple with a quick, cheap installation that is done in a few hours, or go crazy and help him build the ultimate extreme man cave of his wildest dreams! Either way, the sky is the limit. It all depends on your time, budget and imagination.
Home Automation Ideas for Father’s Day
Hidden TV’s, Tablets and Computers
What true man cave doesn’t have some form of fancy TV setup? Even if Dad’s TV isn’t particularly high-end, it doesn’t take (or cost) much to jazz it up. There are several ways to automate a hidden TV or screen. Here are some common ideas:
Drop-down TV or Projector Screen
Place the TV or projector screen in the ceiling, shelf, awning or other form of available overhang. Depending on your space and set up, the motorized system can either be made to fold up/fold down or drop straight down/straight up.
Pop-up TV Lift
Same as the drop-down TV version, an automated pop-up TV can be built to fold up/fold down or lift straight up/straight down. This can be built into a counter, bar, cabinet, desk, dresser, table or even the floor.
Pop-out TV Slide
Just like the automated drop-down and pop-up versions mentioned above, the pop-out TV is installed along the side of a wall or cabinet and can also slide or fold out.
One of the easiest ways to hide the TV is to place it behind automated doors or other covering that opens/closes with a click of a button. The doors can open in the middle and slide to each side or a cover can lift up/drop down to reveal the hidden TV. To snazz it up further (and enhance Dad’s viewing enjoyment), add a couple more small linear actuators in the back to push the TV closer, once the initial hidden TV cover is out of the way.
Automatic Cocktail Maker
Dad can be the perfect host, mixing the perfect drink, without ever having to leave his favorite spot. With an automated, custom built cocktail machine or robotic bartender, all the work is done through pre-programmed settings using a microcontroller like an Arduino or RaspberryPi.
Once the machine is built, all you need to do is choose Dad’s favorite drinks (and maybe his closest buddy’s favorite ones too), add the proper spirits and other ingredients, program the microcontroller to dispense the proper amounts and BAM! Perfect drink. Every time.
Check out some great examples of these DIY cocktail machines in action:
Voice Activated Beer Dispensing Fridge – on wheels
When Dad’s lounging in his awesome smart man cave that you built him using these home automation ideas for Father’s Day, he shouldn’t have to get up to grab himself a cold one. In this day and age, no man, while in his man cave, should ever have to get up and get his own beer. It’s an unnecessary waste of time that could be better spent doing something far more interesting, like anything else.
Sure you could just plant a typical soda dispensing machine by the lounging area, but that shakes up the brew too much when it drops; plus it’s not such a great idea for glass bottles. Dad needs a fridge that can carefully handle the beverage with the proper care it deserves, by dispensing it carefully in a linear motion.
To make life even easier for dear ol’Pops, add a voice activation to the dispenser. He doesn’t even need to lift a finger. He just tells his fridge what beer he wants and out comes the cold brewski. When the fridge is getting low, it could send him (or you, or Mom) a reminder to get more.
While you’re already working on the coolest fridge in town, why not add some wheels to it. Now it doesn’t need to take up space in the sitting area. Better yet, Dad can call the fridge to him, either by voice activation or a command on his smartphone.
A voice activated beer dispensing fridge on wheels is the ultimate man cave fridge. He will literally never need to go get himself a beer again. So long as he stays in his cave.
Secret Rooms and Hidden Compartments
Like any good Bond or Batman movie, a smart man cave must have all sorts of secret rooms and hidden compartments that reveal themselves with a wave of the hand, or the push/pull of a conspicuous yet ambiguous object. A secret wine cellar or hidden cigar box perchance? What about a tool wall that rotates automatically to become a bar?
If you think about it, there are all kinds of things you can hide. Dart board, pool cues, cameras, trophies, guns or other prized collection of ________ (you fill in the blanks).
For Dad’s ultra private collection, add an extra level of security to these secret rooms or hidden compartments by installing a small electronic linear actuator to act as a locking bolt. Not only will the compartment be hidden, but should anyone find said secret compartment, they will have to know a special code to punch in a keypad or have the right NFC/RFID tag to swipe before they can access Dad’s TOP SECRET hiding spot.
Speaking of security, turn Dad’s man cave into a fortress to be reckoned with. As we mentioned above, small linear actuators can be used as a strong locking device that can be controlled by many different ways, such as a key code, NFC/RFID or even fingerprint scan.
Temperature and Lighting
As discussed previously in the Home Automation Hacks for Mother’s Day article, windows, skylights, lights, blinds, vents and HVAC are easy to control either by a smartphone/tablet/ipad or set to activate on auto-pilot based upon a variety of condition options, such as:
- motion detection
- time of day
- any combination of these events
No one will dare mess with Dad’s thermostat dial again!
Furniture and Storage
If you look closely, you’ll see there are plenty of spaces to install a few home automation ideas for Father’s Day. It’s easy to get carried away once you start. Doors, cupboards, shelves and even furniture can be modified to hide Dad’s treasures, make his life easier and of course, wow his guests.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Custom secret storage box with motorized drawers
- Motorized pop-top coffee table lifts
- Automated table extensions
- Automated drawers, shelves and cupboards
- Motorized sections in chairs and couches (headrests, footrests, lumbar support, recline)
For more creative storage solutions, read: How to Save Space Using Micro Linear Actuators
Now that Dad’s ultimate smart man cave is all connected and automated, install a solar tracker to keep his electrical bill down. That’s they type of gift for Father’s Day that keeps on giving! Fixed solar panels are only efficient until the sun has traveled past the reach of the panel. Adding a few simple parts, like a couple micro linear actuators, a microcontroller and a bit of programming, allows the solar panel to follow the sun. This way it stores energy all day long.
To learn how to build your own DIY Solar Tracker, check out the 4-part series on Micromechtronic.com
Ball Throwing Machine
Whether for practice, for fun or for the dog, what man doesn’t love a good ball throwing machine? The best part? It’s relatively easy and cheap to make.
Use one small electric linear actuator to adjust the angle of the throwing machine; use another to move the ball (or other object) into position. At the top of the machine, where the second linear actuator is pushing the ball into, place two small, spinning circular tires on each side of the ball. Once the ball is in between the two spinning tires it will automatically get sucked in and pitched outward.
The ball throwing machine can be controlled with a microcontroller and either computer, smartphone and/or camera.
Mini Golf Course
What golf-loving father lover wouldn’t love a mini golf course in his man cave? With mini linear actuators, the course can evolve and adjust as Dad improves. Throw in a few nostalgic elements from classic mini-golf courses (such as the big mouth that opens and closes, or the spinning windmill) and he’ll feel like a “big-kid” again.
Unreal Mini Golf in Australia has some impressive courses to check out for inspiration:
Unless you’re super technical, making a Virtual Reality simulator for your gamer Dad will be quite the challenge. But not impossible.
Using micro linear actuators, it’s possible to motorize parts of his best gaming chair. Arms, legs and neck rest can move up or down, in or out. Sound and vibration can be installed into the seat and in the head rest. When Dad plays his favorite games in his new smart man cave, he’ll feel like really in it like never before.
Wishing you and your dad a very Happy Father’s Day!
~ from all of us at Morai Motion ~
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