Gumball Coaster Is 3D-Printed Candy Fun

Marble runs are fun enough on their own, but what if you could eat the marbles? Gumballs are the satisfying answer to that question. To that end, [Adrian Seeley] whipped up a system for producing gumball runs programmatically for entertainment and candy dispensing purposes.

Track descriptions can be coded via basic instructions outlining a marble run, by typing out the order of straights, turns, and ramps that make up the course. Once created as a JSON file, the track description is processed via Javascript to create a tiled physical representation of the track via OpenSCAD, including all necessary support structures. The pieces can then be 3D printed to create an actual physical gumball run that can be easily assembled.

[Adrian] created a small tabletop “gumcoaster” as a prototype. Even at that size, it took 11 hours to assemble. It served as a trial run ahead of a larger version he hopes to build for a candy store display. We’ve seen some great marble runs before too, including those created via procedural generation. Video after the break.

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A Whimsical Touch-Free Gumball Machine For These Trying Times

It sucks that certain stuff in public is off-limits right now, like drinking fountains and coin-operated candy and gum machines — especially the fun kind where you get to watch your gumball take a twisting trip down the tower and into the collection bin. Hopefully there will be commercial contact-free machines one of these days that take NFC payments. Until then, we’ll have to make them ourselves out of cardboard and whimsy and Micro:bits.

[Brown Dog Gadgets] also used one of their Crazy Circuits Bit Boards, which is a Micro:bit-to-LEGO interface module for building circuits with conductive tape. There’s a distance sensor in the rocket’s base, and a servo to dispense the gumballs. This entire build is fantastic, but we particularly like the clever use of a LEGO Technic beam to both catch the gumball and prevent the next one from going anywhere. You can see it in action after the break.

Wave hand, receive gumball is about as simple as it gets for the end user. The three robots approach takes much more work.

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