Picture of The Gumball Machine
This project is used often here in Langley BC for grade 8 Woodwork classes. I've been using it for the last few years. At first I thought the kids wouldn't be interested but they are REALLY excited about this project and since than the kids have built 100's. This Instructable is meant for the shop class but anyone with a drill press can do it.

Here are the Learning Objectives:
-The student will learn to  Measure and Layout a design than apply that knowledge in a practical and fun project.
-The student shall demonstrate the safe use and setup of a drill press.
-The student learn the effective use of sandpaper with wood.
-The student will use creative design and problem solving to build a unique design with wood.

-Wood Blank approx 3" by 3" by 5"
-Assorted pieces of 1/8", 3/8", 1/2" plywood or solid wood.
-1 piece of 1" dowel... about 4" long.
-Assorted dowel pieces... 1/2" diameter works well.
-1 Canning Jar. 500ml is best.

-1" Forstner drill bit.  (i have 3 set up on 3 different drill presses.)
-1/2" Forstner drill bit (for attaching leg dowels)
-3/4" Forstner drill bit (for drilling hole in gumball dispenser)
-Drill press
-Assorted clamps (Jorgensen's work really well)
-Sandpaper 120G, 180G
-Band saw or scroll saw

Submitted by HD Stafford Middle School  for the Instructables Sponsorship Program
alan.tudor.39 months ago

Fantastic project! I teach DT out in Finland.

I just knocked out a quick prototype and will get my grade 5 kids (12yr olds) making them in the new year.


OgorrTECH1 year ago
Wait but holding the dowel in by a screw in the back looks just a bit poor what would be a way around that
stumitch (author)  OgorrTECH1 year ago
honestly i dont screw in the dowel at all. they seldom come out. i suppose you could countersink the drill hole to allow the head to go in 1/8 deeper than flush. a plug of wood sanded flush would look nice.
Great instructable!
stumitch (author) 2 years ago
bd0005802 years ago
Fab instructable am making them with my Y8's too, we're in Nottingham UK so transatlantic co-operation at it's best. Will get photo's of them when they are fully made
Miss Vardy2 years ago
Made them with my Y8s (UK) fantastic project. Thanks so much.
stumitch (author)  Miss Vardy2 years ago
excellent! i'd love to see some pics... i can show them to my students. i think they would be pretty impressed that a group of kids clear across the world made the same kind of project! glad to hear you tried it.
Cute! Great Instructable, and good luck in the contest!
Thanks for the comment! some pretty stiff competition in the contest for sure.
tqwerty3 years ago
You misspelled Instructables on the board in the second step.
Otherwise, great 'ible.
I love all of your projects and hope to see more from you soon.
I'll bet you're a great teacher, too!
stumitch (author)  tqwerty3 years ago
yaurgh. caught out! i actually made the same mistake TWICE. I've fixed it by cropping out the offending word.. :-)
aha, awesome!
thekookie3 years ago
This is great I'm going to make one for myself since I'm no teacher!! Hehe!!
Thanks for posting this, it's really fun a creative!!
stumitch (author)  thekookie3 years ago
no problem! post a pic when you get it done!
jonnyd553 years ago
Hi, still love this project but I think i have noticed an issue... but i also have a solution :)

Unless i am mistaken it looks like the mechanism can be pulled out the front, resulting in a shower of gum raining onto the floor, before drilling the large hole for the dowel, use a small drill (4/5mm) drill all the way through the block, drill large hole, add dowel from front and add wood screw from back (not done up tight).......... thoughts? jonny :)
stumitch (author)  jonnyd553 years ago
Hey jonny! you are absolutely right... some of the teachers in our district put a small wood screw through the back. They drill a clearance hole through the block first so that it doesn't stop the dowel from turning. I have never had a problem with kids pulling it out though so i didn't include it... but i'll do that on the instructable tonight... thanks for the check!
skiedra3 years ago
That is absolutely unbelievable! I bet it would work very well as a birthday gift as well!
stumitch (author)  skiedra3 years ago
Thanks for the great comments! most people regardless of age seem to love gumball machines. I've had students come up with the most unbelievable machines with this project. really creative stuff.
nneul3 years ago
I love this! My kid will be making one for their teacher for valentines day since they are handing out gumball machine valentines for students.
stumitch (author)  nneul3 years ago
Thanks for the kind words! if you get one made be sure to fire pics to me and i'll include them in the instructable.
i love gumballs!!!
caarntedd3 years ago
This is great! I have a real machine, and the mechanism is a bit more complicated than yours. I might be able to make this. Thanks for sharing.
stumitch (author)  caarntedd3 years ago
this is very do-able for sure!
jonnyd553 years ago
These are fun :) the kids must love them? ...... as a DT & Engineering teacher I really value the use of hand tools, do you teach projects that cover the traditional old school tools?
stumitch (author)  jonnyd553 years ago
oh ya the kids are nuts about them. the creative stuff i see is amazing. hand tools are vital as well to teach. the kids do a box with handsaws, planes and hand sandpaper too. thanks for the feedback!