Introduction: Claw Machine Picker-Upper

About: Married to Domestic_Engineer (but I call her Meghan).
Claw from arcade machine on a stick with a handle for picking stuff up.

October 2013

*** September 2013  **
I have a project running on   for a real claw machine kit.

**** Kickstarter ends July 2nd  *****

Here is a video of it in action:

Step 1: Get Stuff  

The main thing is the claw.  I had a hard time finding these and had to go to a supplier in China. 
I've posted them on amazon here:
Claw Machine / Crane Game -- Actual Claw(note: this is a link to my own thing on

The other parts are:
  • 1" PVC pipe
  • Stiff wire
  • A spring (optional)
  • A nut and bolt (size 10-24, length is not critical, a  little smaller diameter is okay)
  • Electrical tape
  • Thin strips of wood - for handle (or something better)
  • Plumbers strap - for handle (or something better)
  • Black spray paint

Step 2: Take Apart Claw

The claw comes with some guts, a big solenoid, a string, and a cable.
  • Undo the two screws
  • Pry off the top cover
  • Remove the solenoid coil and string

Step 3: Remove Center Post

Undo the crew that holds the center post (that would be going through the solenoid)  to a metal triangle at the crux of the claw.

Step 4: Replace With Wire and New Bolt

  • Cut a length of stiff wire, maybe 3 feet, it should be longer than the final length of the picker upper.
  • Thread this through the hole created when you removed the center post and screw
  • Put a bolt in the hole
  • Loop the wire around the bolt, such that it is held in place at the crux
Note: this shows copper wire.  A stiff steal wire, 'mechanics wire' is better.

Step 5: Test That Out

When you pull the wire the claw should close.  Release the wire and it opens.

Step 6: Fit the Pole

A piece of 1" pvc pipe is used for the pole.  This one is about 2.5feet long.
The pipe has to fit snuggly in the body of the claw.  Wrap the end of the pipe with electrical tape until is is thick enough that you can jam it into the claw body and it will stay put.  Thread the wire through the pipe so it comes out the end away from the claw.  When you pull the wire the claw should close.

Step 7: Make a Handle

I used some strips of bamboo and plumbers strap to make the handle.  An actual plastic handle from a snow shovel or something would be better.

Step 8: Add a Loop to Pull On

Threaded the wire through a spring and twisted it in a loop to make a little loop to pull on... look at the picture...

Step 9: Test It Out

That should be it. Test it out by trying to pick stuff up. 
If anything falls apart, add more tape.

Test Video:

Step 10: Paint

I painted the PVC pipe with black spray paint.

Step 11: Kickstarter?

I'm on the fence about putting this on kickstarter.  Alot of the work is already done but I'm not sure if people would be interested.

Here is a preview link: preview

Let me know what you think.


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