No Batteries Required...Hand Tools Only




Introduction: No Batteries Required...Hand Tools Only

About: Semi-retired...currently teach woodworking, sheet metal & CAD. Enjoy all outdoor activities...passion is x-c and alpine skiing.

These instructions are written for teachers’ w/limited woodworking knowledge, skills & tools, in mind who would like to share the joys and experience of woodworking. I can assure you there's no need to be intimidated by the idea or concern of operating dangerous machines or power tools. The only power tool required is an electric/portable drill. Aside from gluing, your students should be able to complete this project in a few class periods. It's a great project to incorporate into a unit on manufacturing or mass production.

It's very inexpensive to boot; an 8-foot 2 X 4 and 3-foot dowel rod will make approximately 5-6 gumball machines for less than $5.00.

Concept: Students will plan and manufacture a wood product as they study woodworking and learn about the "production" industry using an assembly line process. Emphasis on the safe use of hand and power tools to develop "jigs" and fixtures designed to streamline production. Develop an appreciation and understanding of manufacturing and the fundamentals of woodworking technology while organizing and running their own industry. The products or projects are made for their own personal use or to sell.

Lessons Learned:

*Able to describe and apply the design process.
*Interpretation of multi-view, pictorial and schematic drawings.
*Produce a product using a managed production system.
*Proficiency in safe operation of hand and portable power tools.
*Identify safety measures necessary in "production" industry.
*Construct a product displaying craftsmanship and skill.
*Application of quality assurance systems used in manufacturing.
*Recognizing that all jobs are equally important and quality work has a self-gratifying value. 

Application: Students will use hands-on skills and manufacturing processes to solve problems in and beyond the classroom...

Before beginning construction, I will cover "How to make a miter box" or "simple jig" that will aid students in cutting straight lines...

Now, Let's Begin!

Step 1: Tools & Materials Required


2 X 4 X 8 feet (Spruce)Tape Measure & Pencil

1 X 4 X 4 feet (Pine)Combination Square

1” Dowel Rod 3 footBack-Saw or Cross-Cut

Plastic Peanut Bttr Jar w/lid (16.3 oz.)Electric/Portable Drill

Carpenter’sWood Glue1” , 7/8”and 3/4" Spade Bits

Foam Sheets (Assorted Colors)Hammer

Multi-Purpose Latex Paint (Assorted Colors)4d 1-1/2” Finish Nails

Foam BrushesWood Clamps

Sandpaper (Assorted Grits 100-120)1/2 Round File

Hot Glue Gun


Step 2: Constructing the Miter Box

Step No. 1Measure and cut three (3) 12-inch pieces of 1 X 4 pine; a base and two (2) sides.

Step No. 2Mark a centerlineon the surface and clamp the two sides together making sure the ends and edges are flush.

Step No. 3With the two pieces clamped together, carefully cut along the centerline with the back-saw. Stop ¾ inch from the bottom edge.

Step 3: Glue & Assemble Miter Box

Step No.5 Before gluing, it's recommended to "dry-clamp" pieces. This allows you to inspect the assembly and adjust the clamps in advance.
Step No.6You're now ready to glue and assemble the miter box..layout newspaper on the work surface...Have a damp rag or paper towel handy to wipe up "squeeze-out". Squeeze a moderate amount of glue on the two edges of the base and spread evenly. Attach the two sides; insuring that the ends of the base and sides are flush and that the two notches are aligned. Slowly tighten the clamps. There's a tendency for the pieces to slide as the clamps are tightened. If this occurs, simply loosen the clamps, reposition and re-tightened the clamps. After allowing an hour to dry, remove the clamps, and reinforce along the edges w/4d finish nails.


Step 4: Constructing the Base

Step No. 1Measure and cut two (2) 8-inch pieces of 2 X 4 with the aid of the miter box.Securely clamp the miter box and work piece to a bench top; use short, even strokes.

Step No. 2Again, “dry-clamp” the base prior to gluing. Before removing the clamps, make an alignment mark, “X”, to avoid accidently assembling incorrectly.

Step No. 3Glue and assemble base insuring that the alignment marks match and the ends and edges are flush. Wipe off all the excess, “squeeze-out”, glue w/damp rag. Allow to dry 3-4 hours before proceeding to the next step.

Step 5: Lay-Out the Holes

Lay-out three (3) holes (See photos above).

Step 6: Drilling Base

CAUTION:Always clamp the work piece as there’s a risk that the bit could catch, causing the wood to spin uncontrollably; causing injury. Be aware too, that w/the wood securely clamped, the drill could unexpectedly twist/spin if the bit catches.

Step No. 1 Drill the 1-inch hole for the dowel rod. Place a “backer-board”, piece of scrap wood underneath the base to avoid “punching” through and accidently drilling into the bench top.
Step No. 2 Drill the second 1-inch hole for the "mouth" at a 45 degree angle, approximately 2-inches deep.

TIP: Start in vertical position and gradually lower drill until achieve 45-degree angle then continue until reach desired depth.

Step No. 3 Drill the 7/8 inch vertical hole, approximately 4-inches deep, until it intersects the 1-inch “mouth”.

Step 7: The Dispensing Rod

STEP No. 1Measure and cut a 6-inch piece of 1-inch dowel rod: insert the dowel in the 1-inch horizontal hole: centered so there's an equal amount on either side of the base. With a pencil, carefully trace around the outside edge of the 7/8 inch hole on the dowel.
STEP No. 2 Remove the dowel; mark the center of the 7/8-inch hole; re-insert the dowel; centered in the hole; while firmly gripping one end of the dowel, drill a 3/4-inch diameter hole, 3/4 of an inch deep…or until the tip of the bit is barely poking through, if the hole is too shallow it will be difficult if not impossible to turn the dowel; if too deep, it will allow more than one gumball to drop. Sand the dowel rod if having difficulty turning.

NOTE: The depth of the hole is determined by the diameter of the gumball…

Step 8: Peanut Butter Lid

Drill a 1-inch hole centered in the lid. Attach the top to the base with hot glue; allow to cool; then smooth the edges with a half-round file. 


Now lays ahead the difficult challenge of deciding how to decorate...

Only limited by one’s imagination…my students chose a car theme...

In keeping with original intent of “simplicity” I chose “fun foam” vs. wood because of the ease with which it can be cut with scissors, painted and attached with hot glue.

Step 9: The Wheels

Should you select a car theme, I’ll cover in more detail how I made the wheels and top.


1 X 4 X 1 foot (Pine)2- inch hole cutter

Axle Pins3/32 inch twist bit

1 inch & 7/8 inch spade bit

 Front & Rear Wheels:

Always remember to place a backer-board underneath and securely clamp wood to bench top.

Step No. 1On a piece of 1 X 4 X 1 foot pine layout centers for wheels, 2-1/2 inches between centers.
Step No. 2With 3/32 inch twist bit, carefully drill through each center. These will serve as "center points", so it’s extremely important to hold the drill perpendicular to the work piece.
Step No. 3On one side, drill 7/8 inch holes, 1/4inch deep at each center point.
Step No. 4Flip wood over, drill 1 inch hole, 1/4 inch deep,every other wheel…these will be glued onto the ends of the dowel as knobs. The others will be used for front wheels.
Step No. 5  Cut out the wheels with 2-inch hole saw.

Step No. 6It will be necessary to slightly shorten the ends of the dowel so that when the wheels are attached there’s about a 1/16 inch clearance on either side to allow the dowel to turn freely.
Step No. 7Drill holes in the base for the front wheel axles.

Step 10: The Roof Top

Step No. 1Layout pattern on an extra piece of 2X4. Clamp to bench top and cut with hand saw.

Step No. 2Glue and attach to body

Step 11: Gumball Machine Rubric








Able to identify 5 hazards & explain corrective action

Able to identify 4 hazards & explain corrective action

Able to identify 3 hazards & explain corrective action

Able to identify 2 hazards & explain corrective action

Able to identify 1 hazards & explain corrective action


Correctly ID, state their purpose & demonstrate proper use of 10/10 tools

Correctly ID, state their purpose & demonstrate proper use of 9/10 tools

Correctly ID, state their purpose & demonstrate proper use of 8/10 tools

Correctly ID, state their purpose & demonstrate proper use of 7/10 tools

Correctly ID, state their purpose & demonstrate proper use of 6/10 tools


Precisely measure a given distance

measure a given distance w/in 1/32"

measure a given distance w/in 1/16"

measure a given distance w/in 3/32"

measure a given distance

Engineering Design

Name 3 principal views of object & 3 types lines in sketching (6/6)

Name 3 principal views of object & 3 types lines in sketching (5/6)

Name 3 principal views of object & 3 types lines in sketching(4/6)

Name 3 principal views of object & 3 types lines in sketching (3/6)

Name 3 principal views of object & 3types lines in sketching (2/6)

Work Ethics

Exhibits qualities of cooperation, respect & pride(All the time)

Exhibits qualities of cooperation, respect & pride(majority time)

Exhibits qualities of cooperation, respect & pride(most time)

Exhibits qualities of cooperation, respect & pride(some of time)

Exhibits qualities of cooperation, respect & pride(none oftime)

Gumball Machine Rubric

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    14 Discussions

    desperado dave
    desperado dave

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    you're absolutely all my excitement to post I over-looked that! thanks for bringing to my attention.

    Dream Dragon
    Dream Dragon

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent instructable, and a really good project. I particularly like the addition of the "Student Assessment Form" (which you appear to to refer to as a "rubric" for reasons which I'm sure have nothing to do with Puzzle Cubes).

    Thank you for sharing it and do keep up the good work.

    desperado dave
    desperado dave

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    DD, appreciate the compliment...have couple other projects hope to share in near future...



    8 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome.... I love 'Traditional' work...CONGRATS on a Great .....Well written 'ible'................ Wood is such fun and easy to get hold of if you look about.....