Liberty Games in the UK was looking for a fun way to support charity for the holidays, and we think they succeeded. They decided to set up an arcade crane machine to run over the internet, with each type of toy snagged earning a donation. Snag a bear, and they will donate £5 to St Mungos, a UK charity that works with homeless or at risk people. Snag one of the rarer Santa toys, and they will donate £20. It’s a great cause, and a nice hack. Behind the scenes, the Internet side of things runs on a Raspberry Pi connected to a PiRack and a couple of PiFace digital interface cards that are wired into the electronics of the crane machine so they could control the buttons on the machine from a Web interface. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to be running when we tried it, but hopefully someone will give the machine a swift kick shortly to get it going until the Hackaday traffic invariably brings it down again.
One of the interesting thing that they discovered while working on these hacks: they have a pay-out ratio that is determined by the strength of the grabbing arm. The owner can tweak this so that the arm does not grab very firmly, which means a dropped bear. Want to torture your friends with hopes of snagging the best stuffed animals?. Follow the example of this claw machine build all from parts on hand.
4 thoughts on “Here Comes Santa Claws”
Website says its ended for this year
Far as I know, I’ve seen a thing about this on TV (but Richard Hammond was presenting it, and he does some lightweight shit), the control box for the crane deliberately drops toys, only letting 1 in x through. X is selectable by the owner. It just drops them in a convincing way that looks like it’s your own fault. So it’s not a game of skill, it’s mostly chance.
IMO that’s a ripoff and they should be forced to say so on the front of the machine.
Talking about the commercial ones, obviously, not this one.
I recently met the founder of a company, RealBotics, here in Pittsburgh- they had a link on their site to a remote controlled crane game too, in some guy’s basement in rural PA.
Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)