DIY Candy Machine

About: Problem solving through DIY, Woodworking, 3D Printing, & Making.

If you have someone in your life who loves a particular kind of candy (Peanut M&Ms are the best), what better gift to make for them than a DIY Candy Machine? This particular one not only dispenses the candy, but also displays it in an elegant manner fit for any home or office.

I have a full list of the tools and materials I used available here.

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Step 1: Cut Material Down to Size

Once your initial size is established, cut the material just oversized. By cutting oversized at first, you build in the flexibility to cut to size later in the build process. I personally cut to length first, then width. I have found that I have less waste after a project this way. Once rough cuts are made, final dimensions can be cut to size.

Step 2: Remove Candy Circle

With the pieces at their final size, I marked out where I wanted the circle to be cut out. This design has a continuous grain pattern across the front frame and circle. An easier method would be to cut the pieces separately, but I find it is oddly satisfying to have continuous grain.

Once marked, use a hole saw to cut out the circle. Start the cut from one side and flip to the other to minimize tear out.

The slot for the candy to rotate in can be cut using either a forstner bit or smaller hole saw. Be careful when drilling this to avoid tear out. Cutting a semicircle can be tricky, but just take it slow.

Step 3: Cut Face Frame Out

With the hole removed, the rest of the face frame must also be cut out. Although a bandsaw would be the best tool for the job, I used a combination of my table saw and jigsaw to finish the cuts. Make sure to keep track of which side faces up to keep the continuous grain pattern consistent.

Step 4: Clean Up Cuts

The hole saw and jigsaw require a little cleanup. I used a rotary tool with a tiny drum sander attachment to sand away any ridges left from the hole saw. For the ridges left from the jigsaw, I used a sharp chisel to flush up any irregularities.

Step 5: Glue Up Body

The face and back need to be glued up before any other progress can be made. My candy machine will not be outside, so I used an indoor wood glue to attach the face to back. Just make sure to clean up any squeeze out to keep the project looking its best.

Step 6: Add Head & Foot

I like to use relative measurements as much as possible in builds. I knew the header should be flush and the footer should extend at least a thickness of material from the main body. I used a scrap to mark these dimensions.

Once marked, I could cut the remaining mahogany material to size. After cutting to size, I used a router to add a chamfer to the show sides. The footer can now be glued to the bottom and the entire pieces sanded up through the grits.

Step 7: Adding Acrylic

Because the base is complete, I laid my acrylic sheet directly on top to mark my cut lines. I used a combination of a table saw and rotary tool to cut the sheet to size. Make sure to pay special attention to the candy opening.

After being cut to size, I pre-drilled the mounting holes in the acrylic before moving on.

Step 8: Applying Finish

The candy machine requires candy, therefore must have a food-grade finish applied. I used butcher block wax to finish and seal the mahogany. This adds a natural luster and shine to the piece that is also food safe.

Step 9: Brass Additions

For the spoke in the circle and header hinge, I decided to go with brass. After marking and cutting the brass rod to length, I chucked the rod in my drill to polish. This left a very smooth finish after I moved through sandpaper grits up to 2,000.

The header required a hinge of brass as well. I used some playing cards to space the header from base and attached the hinge to both parts with screws. Whenever you screw small, brass screws into hard material, make sure to wax the screws.

Step 10: Install Front and Enjoy

Because we prepped correctly, the install of acrylic should be a breeze with screws and a scewdriver. Now that the candy machine is complete, enjoy it and the candy it displays!

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