Introduction: Oriental Themed Automata Coin Operated Marble Dispenser.
I designed & made this primarily using cardboard & craftsticks. Goal was to use the diameter of the nickel being inserted into the coin slot to lower the oriental woman’s fan, her head lowering to greet you, upper led’s activated with kanji reading “Thank You” above her and “Ball Exit” above the ball dispenser passages, and the ball being released at the top. Also, there is a piece of string fastened to back of her head that leads to a few magnets with fish glued on hovering above a bigger magnet (but not touching) to keep tension of her head against the lever that lowers it. All this from the inch or so of travel from the nickel being inserted. I also have a video up on youtube of it’s operation.
Step 1: Figure Out the Lever Mechanism.
Materials & tools needed are pretty self explanatory when seeing the photos. Let's just say I used primarily cardboard, & craftsticks. Begin by getting an idea of just what theme you want so as you can begin working on the lever mechanism that controls the various movements. With this I had to have a lever which the nickel would push to begin the motion. The bottom lever fastens to her fan which lowers as the nickel is inserted. The next lever up pushes her head forward and down. The upper part pushes the ball out to the dispenser passage. Also the upper part has a switch I made which has another lever that presses it and activates the led signs at the top of the machine.
Step 2: Get All the Basic Movements Working Smoothly.
Now, the basic structure was coming together with the lever working things smoothly. I used one small rubber band to power all the movements. Eventually the red lever you see would be cut way down and notched and trimmed to allow the nickel to be able to press it down in such a way to move everything just the right distance as well as be able to drop down into coin box once the ball dispensed & everything returned to normal position.
Step 3: Getting the Coin to Operated Without Hanging Was the Challenge.
As you can see here I drastically shortened the lever to make the machine as compact as possible. The nickel not only had to move everything it also had to flip down rather hard in order to not wedge on the lever when lever was traveling back to original position. No help was to be found online on this so I had to figure it out on my own as I went. I kept inserting the nickel adding tweaks and whittling wood at spots that appeared to be snagging the nickel. The lever end was key to fixing it. At first I had it angled but cut another angle at top so as when the nickel first pushes against it the bottom part of nickel would tilt out but this caused a problem of it being wedged against lever at levers returns. The remedy to this was cutting a small v notch in the lever. After doing this I kept whittling away wood until I finally got the nickel to work everything as well as flipping down into the bottom over 20 times in a row so then I moved on to wiring in some led lights.
Step 4: Wiring in the Lower Led Circuit
Now that I was satisfied with the coin operation. I placed a red, blue, and green blinking led circuit with button for activation placed above the coin slot. When the nickel is placed in the slot you can push back on it and it activates these leds. I made a sort of angled dashboard look and placed aluminum foil behind in a channel where each led rested. Then I drilled holes to make the design of an arrow pointing toward the coin slot lit green and a blue miniature button look on right side. The red led lights up some of the ball passages & 2 holes above where the ball is dispensed.
Step 5: Upper Led Sign Lights and Switch.
Next I look at back of machine and decided how I'm going to operate the upper led lights as well as where I was going to place them. I opted to use a yellow led & a red led. I made a switch using a piece of springed copper which makes connection when the lever is almost fully down from nickel. This took a bit of trial and error to get right and many passes of the nickel. Both led's are powered from one 3 volt coin cell type battery.
Step 6: Making the Rubber Band Accessible for Replacement.
I designed this all to work off this one little blue rubber band. Everyone knows rubber bands eventually break so being able to get to it for replacement was crucial. I slanted the enclosure frame around where the upper part of the band goes around the lever pin so I can get to it for replacement. The lower back side of the unit I fixed as removable so I could not only access the nickels but also to gain access to the band connection points.
Step 7: Fastening Magnets and Fish to String.
The string connected to back of her head leads to small ball magnets at it's end. These are attracted to a larger magnet which allows the line to almost touch but instead remain in a hovering state. I put a fish on this part to give the sense of a fish going for bait. This not only looks cool with the theme but serves the purpose of keeping tension on her head keeping it pulled back against the lever that pushes her head foward and down.
Step 8: Fixing the Marble Holder & Making Name Badge.
I opted to have the marbles sit at the top of the machine with 3 loaded ready to go at any given nickel insertion. I also made a badge & engraved it with my name and date & a few designs to superglue to the bottom.
Step 9: Test to Make Sure Everything Is Working.
All the lights seems to be working as they should. The timing is right & coin slot works good.
Step 10: Finished and Ready for Work.
Now complete ready to earn some money. Here's a link to youtube video of it in action.
Participated in the
Make It Glow! Contest