Electronics Vending Machine

Hey Everyone!
It’s been a few years … and I’ve moved out of state and am starting to get involved in my local Makerspace!
One thing that this town is missing is an electronics store.
But, I remember there being a super convenient vending machine that had common parts, like resistors, opamps, SD Cards, Arduinos, etc …
But how was it set up?
How did payment work? Was it cash? Did it accept credit cards? PayPal?
Thanks again for the awesome space (and memories!)

I think @nikropht was the owner. It was an old sandwich vending machine that the chiller had died in. There was a webpage as the only way to pay for things, and the webpage signaled the machine when payment was complete. I don’t remember if he ever got the cash payment part to work.

For DIY vending, you might be interested in this: http://blog.abrantix.com/tag/mdb/

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So it was a failure of a project. Like many of Mike’s projects. It rarely worked and more often than not would take your money without vending your part. Then you would have to contact Mike to get a refund he would have to come to DMS to check if the machine had actually vended your part before issuing a refund.

Though it was a fun idea, implementation was never solved.

well… damn.
thanks for getting back to me though

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Actually No. That wasn’t my machine. That particular machine was Paul Brown’s. Mine did work however Paul wanted to do his own. And as board member managed to torpedo my project. As evidenced by these meeting notes. https://dallasmakerspace.org/wiki/Board_of_Directors_Meeting_20131102

And Nick, you are not following DMS motto.


Not sure how I’m not, “being excellent” because I explained the situation, the use case, the common failure, and the solution. I apologize if you take offense to this, we have all had projects that don’t make it to completion, thus a failure. In fact without looking to the meeting, before you posted them, I pretty much nailed it. Stan explained Paul B’s version I explained yours. Both scenarios were covered, though Stan did accidentally give you credit for Paul B’s project, Sorry Paul.

Does anyone have any project notes on the their implementations? @nikropht @Nick

I didn’t lead the project, so I don’t have any notes. There are vending machines on the market now that can accept credit cards and cash. I would suggest purchasing a machine that does that, rather than retro fitting a used machine. The tend to run $4Kish range.

The reason I say new rather than rebuilding a used broken down one is loss due to error in vending. Most chips and sodas have very high margins and low costs to the people vending them. So if your machine accidentally drops 2 bags of pretzels you out $0.50 for the 2 bags, but the customer paid $1 for 1 of the bags. So you still net positive. But, When your selling a Raspberry Pi at $45 or $50 and your cost is $30 or $40, a double vending error is just not acceptable. As it may take 3 to 5 sales to make up your loss. So I would suggest doing it right with a new machine and charging a margin that covers you rather than trying to make by with a hacked together system. Vending machines are expensive, because someone is taking the risk to put items for sell without being there to protect their product. The convenience is why people are willing to pay the larger margins.

If you read the issues highlighted in Mike’s link to the board minutes, there are a lot of lessons in there. Try to take as many to heart as you can, before jumping into this in your makerspace. I wish you the best on your project and hope you are successful given you have been introduced to the speed bumps we hit trying to DIY a electronics vending machine. Best of luck in a planning a smoother path.