Mechanical Ticket Dispenser




About: I like to tinker and build things that seem fun to do.

Allrightey....... In this instructible, I came up with the idea of a mechanical ticket dispenser. I volunteer at my local church and usually help with the register / ticket table during carnival events. It's not fun trying to count tickets while there are people in line staring at you. Plus... I like to add mechanical functions to just about anything I get my hands on. Keep in mind that it took about 20 + hours to build this because there was no plan. It is difficult to do a step by step progression instructible for this one. It was built on the fly with parts that the wife said I should have thrown out years ago..... I knew there was a reason why I kept these things. The parts for this project came mostly from salvaged items and stuff that should have been junked. Here we go!!! I don't believe you will go out and try to get the same parts as I did.... there are always alternatives though.... Hope you enjoy

There is quite an imagination of parts used for this project.
This thing is held together mostly by "HOT GLUE"
If I don't tell you how it is attached....HOT GLUE

Tools used were Hot Glue gun and dremmel tool. Some pliers and screw drivers. Mainly hot glue and dremmel.

Video will come soon.

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Step 1: The Box

This is a 6"W x 6" D x 12" L  plastic storage container you can get from most container / storage stores.

Step 2: The Ticket Spool Shaft

3/8' wooden dow rod 5 1/2 " long/  (I will be changing this to a 1" shaft.  The ticket spool hole is that size)
2 bobbing sewing spindalls from a generic sewing machine. (purchased at walmart sewing dept a long time ago.)

These were screwed into the wooden dow.
Notice the half moon groove I put into the plastic box to hold the shaft in place.

Step 3: The Gear Motor and Shaft

I used a BBQ pit metal lighter as the suspension shaft for the gear motor. 
I installed a rubber grommet on one end of the shaft  for vibration purposes.
The gear motor came out of an "I ROBOT" automatic vacuum cleaner. (Salvaged parts)
I used a 1 inch long bolt on each end of the plastic box to suspend the shaft.

Step 4: The Track Roller Guide

The roller is from a foam handled fishing pole.
It's 5 1/2" long and is suspended the same way as the gear motor shaft.
The blue ticket guide is from a spool of plumbing thread tape that was sliced down the middle.
It slid tightly over the foam roller and helps keep the ticket feed in on track.

The Gear motor now presses against this roller once you attach the spring tensioner to the front of the plastic box.

I installed another piece of the fishing pole as a tension relief. I use this to back spool the tickets. It is hot glued to the bottom of the gear motor.

Step 5: The Ticket Ejection Port

I used an "Eclipse" metal tin container for the ejection port for the tickets.
I cut the back end of the tin off to make it a through port.

I just cut a hole in the plastic box and inserted the tin then hot glued it into place.

I alligned it so that the output of the gear motor and roller shaft fed it directly into the back end of the tin.

Step 6: Electrical Connections

I installed a momentary on switch to activate the automatic ticket feed gear motor.

The power board came from a broken DVD player.  (Salvaged part)

Step 7: Ticket Spool Keeper / Arm

I used the remaing shaft of the fishing pole I destroyed  as theframework for the  ticket spool keeper.
This keeps the spool from unraveling.
I used the core of a receipt tape from a cash register to support it and allows the arm to rotate freely and independently from the the gear motor operation.

Step 8: Digital Counter Armature Contraption

I needed a way to be able to keep track of how many tickets were being ejected.
I ordered a digital counter from ebay. (I'm waiting for it to come in)
I built the roller arm and roller to prepare for this installation.

Parts included are: Old fishing reel spring tension handle, computer hard drive parts, and custom made roller.

Counter switch will be installed on this arm.

I hope you enjoyed this instructible. It was surely fun to envision and build.


Step 9: Digital Counter Installation

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    31 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I really love how you re-purposed SO MANY things here! Very innovative :) I am just having trouble figuring out everything you said. I literally have ZERO experience with technological endeavors (well, building said things) this instructable was hard for me to follow (aka: to just step-by-step be able to do what you did here). But it's an awesome start for me! I will check out your video on it first. Maybe I will understand better with that? Thanks!

    3 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Nope, LOL...that was no help at all. It just showed it working. Which, again, I am very impressed--GOOD JOB! I just don't get it, I guess. If you wanted to take on someone like me and teach me your awesome mechanical ways...please Private Message me. I would really love to learn more about this stuff (as I'm currently trying to make my own right now). Thanks! :)


    Reply 3 years ago

    I've been tinkering for over 35 years. It's not something that can be taught. When I imagine something, I can see the finished idea in my head. How I get to that end is a complete mystery. I am always looking for different ways to repurpose broken things. I collect people's junk. The gear wheel came out of one of those smart vacuum cleaners. There's sewing spindals etc.... I build on the fly with parts I already have. That keeps the cost down. I've have to trash items if I haven't touched them in a year or so. Keeps the junk hoarding manageable. I thrown things away and needed it a week later. I'm happy that you like my creations. No one has ever complimented my things outside of my family and friends.


    Reply 3 years ago

    I meant to teach me about how to do things like "install a momentary on switch" using the DVD power board. The technical stuff. ;) I LOVE repurposing stuff too! It's always fun!


    3 years ago

    Last month I built a device to help a a paralyzed teenager automatically exercise his legs so atrophy won't set in. I found out today that he was able to take three steps on his own at therapy. First time since his injury. The mother had tears when she told me this. Same thing... she told me her situation and needed a device. It popped into my head and she paid to build it. I ended up paying some too because the first attempt didn't work. It's a gift from God. That's the only explanation.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Cool. Now to make use of an Arduino. Type amount of tickets and it automates the roll/cut. Would be awesome. Cheers.

    5 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, I would love to make this an Arduino. Do you have any ideas or the least complicated way to go about this process. It would be cool to have a key pad... type the amount... press total.... tickets come out... I will be installing a digital counter as soon as it comes in from ebay. The ticket machine will already have a rotation switch installed.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    My tip:
    1) Learn basics of Arduino
    2) Get keypad capable of working with arduino, in South Africa it would cost about US$7
    3) Connect Arduino with that motor you already have.

    To use, type number & press enter. Easy to code/make in Arduino code.

    Regarding the ticket counter, there are 2 ways I can think about:
    1) Time how long it takes per ticket (literally in miliseconds) at a set speed. Set arduino to turn the motor at that speed for "time_in_miliseconds x amount_of tickets" that way it would output just the right amount of tickets.
    2) [easiest] build some basic method to electronically count amount of tickets e.g. button-press on that already-there gear mechanism you have, then listen to the amount of presses - in the arduino. Stop when amount is reached.

    Hope this helps!

    Please let me know if you made this or if you need help with the coding/setup of the electronics - I am a software developer.



    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    The tension roller I have mounted on the back of the ticket spool measures exactly 2 inches. The actual tickets are 2 inches long. I will be installing a rotation switch that will trigger a "momentary on" every time it makes a rotation. That wire will be running to a digital counter. If there is an arduino that can be setup to count a pulse... I think that would be easier. That way... 25 tickets will equal 25 "momentary on". It will then shut the motor off. The gear motor isn't a stepper motor. It does not stop immediately. Thank you for helping in this situation. This is a new frontier for me in automating things. I'm excited to hear anything else. Keep in mind, I'm trying to keep cost down.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    That "momentary on" is what I meant by the "button press" effect. So you're on the right track. Arduino might be a bit costly, I think you will be able to do with the cheapest version. You can put a solenoid to press against the spool to stop it (use it as a break)

    See this for the cheapest arduino (same quality/functionality as the more expensive ones) $18.95

    See this for a keypad which you can possibly use: $3.95
    (You can see at the "Documents" there is a Arduino tutorial, to help with that)

    That is all you will need with some wiring to connect it all. You might need a "motor controller" - but I am not sure about that though.

    This is a bit costly, but it would automate your system fully.

    Hope it helps!