Gorgeous NickelBot Serves Up Lasered Wooden Nickels

[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.

22 thoughts on “Gorgeous NickelBot Serves Up Lasered Wooden Nickels

  1. Why do so many Americans use “ay” as the indefinite article, “ay” is the name of the first letter of the alphabet, “a” or “an” are the indefinite article.

    1. If I remember correctly, I was taught that “a” preceded a noun beginning with a consonant, while “an” preceded nouns beginning with a vowel.
      Exceptions included certain words beginning with an “h”, such as the adjective “historic”.

    2. Because you were taught a false distinction. Check OED. It lists both pronunciations as generally used and generally acceptable, in both British and American dialects, when the word is stressed. It goes on to add that that pronunciation is “attested since the early modern period”, which is to say, for the past 500-600 years.

  2. Making wooden nickels is something I plan to do with the NEJE DK-8-KZ I recently purchased.
    I’d better get started, before the event I want to make them for, passes by me.

      1. It’s not the hands you should worry about, minor skin burn will heal, unlike retina. A simple door switch in serie with the laser power supply is not that hard to implement after all the very fine work.

        It’s nice to see built not made of arduino, rpi and such, but with a psoc.

        But I must agree: adding a rpi with camera could make an awesome stand alone photo booth printing directly on nickel, with a small tactile display to preview and adjust B/W levels.

  3. This is very well integrated and thought through. I wonder if you could work up a “Lightscribe”-like hack to do all of this as the disc rotates in a RW DVD tray, if only for the sheer annoyance of converting images to polar coordinates.

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