Have you ever wanted your very own vending machine? If so, you likely found that they’re expensive and too bulky to fit in most homes. But now you can experience vending bliss thanks to this miniature vending machine designed by high school student “m22pj,” which you can craft yourself using an Arduino and other materials lying around the house.

This project is fun, because it gives makers the opportunity to experiment with vending machine features without a big budget. That even includes more modern payment options, like one might see on a college campus with vending machine that charge to student identification cards. The design lets DIYers work with those features to learn about RFID, security, and more. And, of course, this is a chance to get hands-on experience with vending mechanisms, too.

The best part is that you can build this with some cardboard and off-the-shelf electronic components. The enclosure and almost all of the mechanical parts are cardboard. The electronics include an Arduino Mega 2560 board, a keypad, an LCD display, an RFID reader module, LEDs, and servo motors. The servos must be full-rotation models, so they can drive the vending mechanisms.

As designed, this vending machine can serve up to four different treats. But it would be possible to expand that to include many more. The Arduino has plenty of pins available to control additional servo motors, so the sky is the limit. 

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