Hackaday Prize Entry: Vendotron

A recurring idea in hackspaces worldwide seems to be that of the vending machine for parts. Need An Arduino, an ESP8266, or a motor controller? No problem, just buy one from the machine!

Most such machines are surplus from the food and drink vending industry, so it’s not unusual to be able to buy an Arduino from a machine emblazoned with the logo of a popular chocolate bar. These machines can, however, be expensive to buy second-hand, and will normally require some work to bring into operation.

A vending machine is not inherently a complex machine nor is it difficult to build when you have the resources of a hackspace behind you. [Mike Machado] is doing just that, building the Vendotron, a carousel vending machine constructed from laser cut plywood and MDF. The whole thing is controlled by an Arduino, with the carousel belt-driven from a stepper motor.

It’s not doing anything commercial vending machines haven’t been doing for years, except maybe having a software interface that allows phone and Bitcoin payments. Where this project scores though is in showing that a vending machine need not be expensive or difficult to build, and broadening access to them for any hackspace that wants one.

We’ve had a few vending machines here before, like this feature on the prototyping process for commercial machines, or even this one that Tweets. Sadly few have a secret button to deliver a free soda though.

11 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: Vendotron

  1. It will be interesting to see how to detect the door is actually closed and latched instead of someone just sticking a screwdriver in it
    I hope the build wasn’t because of limited funds because someone still has to pay to fill it in the first place.

    1. I hope there are an (unknown by all but the creator) number of security checks in the machine. People steal everything that isn’t bolted down as anyone with retail experience can tell. :(

  2. It seems to me that having any components of your machine requiring frequent access to the cloud to continue running is a recipe for failure. I’m looking at the carousel stepper driver – that’s a part that needs to operate when commanded, not after it’s checked in with the cloud.

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