Introduction: Yodeling Flamingo Claw Machine

For a two-week long school project our assignment was to simply make a product that would put a smile on someone's face. We quickly realized that one of our group members still had an old, semi-working claw machine laying around and we just knew we wanted to pimp it up and make it into a funny experience.

Our end goal was to make a 'funny' alcoholic beverage dispenser and we think we succeeded.

Step 1: The Material List

To build this magnificent machine, you'll require:

  • An animatronic of choice (though a yodeling flamingo is a pretty good one)
  • A claw machine
  • An IR sensor of choice (we used a QRD1114 because we had them laying around)
  • Pink fur / Fluff
  • A LED strip
  • A glue of choice (we used epoxy glue)
  • Scissors
  • Drill
  • Sewing kit
  • An Arduino Uno
  • Soldering kit
  • A few regular male-male 5v wires
  • A 4.5v adapter
  • A few items to win!

Step 2: Opening the Machine

First, we opened up the bottom lid of the machine and got rid of both an annoying speaker blasting circus music and also an extremely rusty 1.5v battery package. We connected the wiring from the battery package with a 4.5v adapter so that the machine could be connected to mains power.

Step 3: Get an Animatronic of Choice

For the next step we went around to quite a lot of stores to check out if they had an animatronic that fit our needs. This pink flamingo seemed like a good contestant to design our product around.

Step 4: Rewire the Animatronic

Most animatronics have a 'try me' button to test out it's moves. Ours had one too. We cut open the wing and side of the flamingo, removed the button from its wing and rewired it to the photoelectric sensor already in the claw machine we have, though our photoelectric sensor wasn't working too well so it was in need of a replacement.

Step 5: Sensor Replacement

Next up, we decided upon just replacing the victory sensor. We used a QRD1114 IR sensor, which ended up working marvelously. We started with drilling a hole in the the 'victory basket' and glueing the sensor in.

Step 6: Attaching the Arduino

We then wired up the flamingo and the sensor to a breadboard and then to an arduino.

Step 7: Arduino Code

Luckily for all you non-coders out there, the code is very simple! Just adjust the sensor sensorLimit parameter to fit you sensor's needs and that's it.

Step 8: Pimp It Up!

The final (and most fun) step, pimping up the machine! We started by spray painting the thing pink and yellow, then the filled the grabbing box with pink fluff or fur and a pink led strip. After some final touches it was all done! Good luck recreating this masterpiece!