My daughter was about nine years old when she wanted a gumball machine. I decided I could make one from wooden parts and an old pickle jar. At the time, there were some cheap gumball machines for children that dispensed a gumball when a large dowel was rotated. There was no coin-operated mechanism. My daughter wanted to be sure to charge her brother and her sister for all gumballs they consumed, so the coin-operated feature was a requirement.

(The photo is from Bing Images.)

Step 1: My Mechanism and How It Works

(Note: The photos were added much later. The drawings were done from memory. There is a discrepancy. The drawings show the indent step in the wrong place. Reverse the location of the indent to make it on the opposite end. Compare the photos.)

This is the slider mechanism for the gumball machine I made. It is my own design. The two main parts are designated as "A" and "B." In summary, a coin is inserted through a slot from above (not shown.) and its edges fit into the recesses marked as "D." The operator pushes on the left end of "A." The coin pushes on "B" and moves it forward. The gumball loaded in hole "C" from an inverted glass jar above is pushed until it aligns with another hole below in the frame of the gumball machine (not shown), and the gumball rolls down a channel (not shown) to fall into a cup on the exterior of the machine (not shown). When the operator begins to pull the slide "A" back to its original position, the pressure on the edges of the coin is released and it falls through a slot below into a coin box (slot and coin box not shown). Part "F" is a piece of bent wire. It slides in the recessed channels and round holes indicated by the two "E"s. "F" engages "B" when "A" begins to be pulled back to its original position. This also pulls "B" back to its original position so a new gumball can fall into hole "C" from the jar above. Although shown too small in the graphic, the round holes that are part of the inletting for "E" on each piece are a large enough diameter that if someone pushes "A" without a coin in the machine, "A" moves harmlessly inward, but "B" does not move forward and no gumball is dispensed. Make the round holes in "E" larger in actuality. There is enough tension on "B" supplied by a light spring from below that it does not slide when the machine is tipped. "G" is a recess in the side of "A" that rides over a vertical pin set to limit the travel of "A" so it can neither be pushed inward too far, nor pulled out of the machine.

"A" and "B" are made from a good, but inexpensive close-grained and easily-worked hardwood. The thicker end of "B" is as thick as the diameter of the gumballs you will be using plus just a little bit more, perhaps a little less than 1/16 of an inch. The hole marked "C" should be just slightly larger in diameter than the largest gumball in any package of the type you buy and use.

The photo shows the actual machine I made. I was able to get it from my daughter and take actual dimensions. I am working on these photos from an iPad and I am forced to use text notes, which make precision difficult. Check for pictures in other steps and dimensional information to get a complete set of measurements.

We couldn't decide what to make for our summer school project but then I stumbled upon your coin operated gumball machine. What kid wouldn't go crazy over building their own gbm. We had 26 children between the two classes. Turned out great and they absolutely loved the whole process. Each kid got 25 free gum balls upon completion. Thanks a million for providing this easy to follow instructible :)
<p>Thank you. I am amazed, impressed, and humbled. They look great.</p>
<p>cool !!! I am definatly going to try this.</p><p>awesome job man !</p>
Thank you for looking. Pay attention to the photographs. I made the drawings from memory when I did not have access to the finished machine, and I got some things backwards in the drawings. Still, they are useful for grasping the basic concepts. I wish you well.
<p>Fancy that </p>
<p>this is amazing!! im trying to make mine for a school project</p><p>im studying industrial design, and one of the projects we have to make is a Operated gumboil machine!! thanks a lot for posting yours!!!</p><p>But, there are some things i can't understand well, can you help me answering some questions?</p><p>i'd appreciat so much</p>
Thank you for looking. I really should do the three dimensional drawings over. I did them from memory when I did not have access to the gumball machine. Later I did have access and augmented what I had posted with photos of the actual parts. The problem is that the thinner and thicker parts of the slider are the reverse of what they should be. Look more at the photos. I will try to answer your questions.
<p>this is amazing!! really,</p><p>im studying the 1st year of industrial desing, and actually we have to make a operated gumboil machine, like yours, thanks a lot for posting</p><p>but i have some doubts about the mechanism, can you answer some questions please, id appreciate lots</p>
This is wonderful!!! I would love to own one, now to find someone who owns wood tools!
Thank you. One of my grown kids still has the one I made. Our oldest daughter had seen a gumball machine and wanted one. I began thinking about how I could make one, and developed the design shown here. The actual making of it was not too difficult. Fortunately, I have a radial arm saw, but this gumball machine could be made with fairly simple hand tools most households might want to have available.
this is a neat project. Wife wants a gumball machine to put in her shoppe, but metal. I might be able to adapt your mechanism. <br>I have a huge collection of popular science and popular mechanics mags from the 50's and 60's. I really enjoy reading and rereading them, because they have so many cool projects and things to actually do.
This design was a little on the heavy and clunky side because wood was the only thing I could do based on my skills and tools at the time. It was great for a child who did not mind shaking the whole machine to make certain a gumball found its way into the hopper so it could be dispensed. For one in a shop something to stir the gumballs would be helpful so a ball falls into place in the process of one being dispensed. Thank you for looking and for commenting.
AWSOME machine!
Thank you. I am always concerned the reader may not find the explanation clear enough.
Hey, check out my group! I'd love you to join!<br><br>https://www.instructables.com/group/CoinOperated/
K00LLl<br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> <br> :D<br> <br>
Thank you.
Great job! I love it so much!
Thank you.
nice.....want to try this....
Thanks. I would love to see pictures when you are finished.<br>
super super cool
Thank you.
Very clever, Phil!
Thank you, Osvaldo. You are to be commended for thinking this through in Spanish.
What a neat project! I think I want to make one someday...
Thanks. More power to you with your DIY projects! Regardless of your present expertise level, old issues of how-to magazines have some really useful articles for helping your expand your tools and your abilities, especially on a budget. You might appreciate some of the things about where and how to find those magazines on the 'Net mentioned in a <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Great-Projects-from-Old-How-to-Magazines/">recent Instructable</a> I did. &nbsp;As I mentioned in that Instructable, I used articles in those magazines to learn about using power tools and making furniture. &nbsp;We still use that furniture after 40 years of marriage.
Hey, that ible is really cool! Faved and bookmarked to read much more in-depth later. :D (Oh and thanks for the advice)
reminds me of the knock operated gumball machine
Thank you for commenting. I am not familiar with a knock operated gumball machine and could not find anything about one with an Internet search, either. Could you help me understand what that is?
look it up on make.com if not there its in a make magizine issue <br> <br> <br>-J
I finally found it in volume 25 (for anyone else who is curious). Click on<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kRTpmswgFk&feature=player_embedded"> this link</a>. &nbsp;
This is very awesome! My step mom made a few of these when I was younger, but they weren't as cool looking as this! I may have to make me one now!<br>
Thank you. Please post a photo when you have finished yours.
This is a nice project. I had one that was a small fish bowl on top of a wood box with a wood slider and no coin dispenser. Not sure where it is, but I like your model much better. This one is more desk size.
Thank you.
This is a nice gift to a special child in our lives. It does not seem to be too complicated and will provide hours of sweet fun to our children. Great job!
If you make one, post a photo when you are finished, please. 30 years later my daughter still has the one I made for her. You might want to do a dry run with the moving parts made from cardboard to get the spacing and fit just right. Then start cutting wood. My daughter wanted hers to work with a US dime. The problem is that dimes and pennies are close enough that this worked on either. I would probably suggest a US nickel. <br><br>Thanks for your interest.
Thanks. I apologize that I can not give precise dimensions for everyone.

About This Instructable




Bio: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying ... More »
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