[bdring] just recently completed his absolutely fantastic NickelBot, which is a beautifully made unit that engraves small wooden discs with a laser like some kind of on demand vending machine, and it’s wonderful. NickelBot is small, but a lot is going on inside. For example, there’s a custom-designed combination engraving platform and hopper that takes care of loading a wooden nickel from a stack, holding it firm while it gets engraved by a laser, then ejects it out a slot once it’s done.
NickelBot is portable and can crank out an engraved nickel within a couple of minutes, nicely fulfilling its role of being able to dish out the small items on demand at events while looking great at the same time. NickelBot’s guts are built around a PSoC5 development board, and LaserGRBL is used on the software side to generate G-code for the engraving itself. Watch it work in the video embedded below.
[bdring]’s been on a roll with small, self-contained micro factories. Check out Coasty – the Coaster Toaster which is a tiny laser cutter specifically designed to make drink coasters. If you think these devices have a bit in common with DIY vending machine projects, you’re not alone in thinking so. They often require custom electromechanical systems to handle physical objects, just like this vacant locker turned into a vending machine.