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This is a work in progress! Currently Juul (talk) is working on this project.


We want to sell all kinds of hackery things from a vending machine in our hacker space! 3D printed objects, usb sticks, mate straws (and mate), caffeinated snacks, arduinos, mesh routers, logic analyzers, lyophilized DNA (biohacking), dogecoins, ear plugs, headphones, batteries, etc! See the hackpack project for more inspiration.


The vending machine was initially funded by a sudo member stating on the mailing list that he wanted to get a vending machine, stating that they cost about $200, linking to one on craiglist, the member saying he'd put down $20 himself and asking if others would put down $20. After a few days, $120 of the cost had been covered and we figured the vending machine could cover the rest of its own cost going forward. The big robot arm was funded in the same way.


Bill of materals

This is incomplete since the project has not yet been completed.

  • Vending machine: $150 via craigslist (+ gas to go get it)
    • Model: Snackshop II
  • New bill acceptor: $49 via ebay
    • Model: ICT BL-700-USD4.
    • It accepts $1, $5, $10 and $20 and speaks pulse and serial
  • Bill acceptor update chip for new $5 bills: $21 via ebay
  • Beagle Bone Black: $65 via adafruit
  • A cheap android tablet: $39 online from Fry's Electronics weekly promotions email
  • Micro usb ethernet adapter: $3.35 aliexpress.com
  • USB magnetic stripe card reader: $20.50 from dx.com
  • Multiplexer and de-multiplexers and mosfets for button inputs and to control spiral rotation (for dispensing items): Unknown

Total: ~$350

Prices include shipping and tax.

Vending machine

We found a used Snackshop II vending machine on craigslist and offered $150. This is the kind of machine that has a bunch of metal spirals / huge corkscrews that hold the snacks. These types of machines are good because it's easy to put differently sized non-snack items in them and they're cheap. We're planning to replace its brain with a Beagle Bone Black.

Bill acceptor

The vending machine was working except for a broken bill acceptor and broken coin acceptor. They can likely be fixed but the bill acceptor only takes $1, $2 and $5 bills and doesn't take the new $5 bills.

We bought:

A ICT BL-700-USD4 bill acceptor that takes $1, old $5, $10 and $20 bills for $49 including shipping and an updated chip that allows for $21 that allows the bill acceptor to take the new $5 bills.

Coin acceptor

We need to troubleshoot and fix the coin acceptor

Bitcoin / altcoin acceptor

The vending machine will be networked and will monitor its bitcoin/altcoin addresses for incoming money.

sudo credit

Eventually your sudo room magnetic/rfid membership card + pin will allow you to buy stuff.

Brain, display and selection

We'll be using a $65 Beagle Bone Black for the brain and a $39 android tablet from Fry's electronics with a web app loaded from the Beagle Bone for display and selection. We're planning to have videos of sudoers presenting each item and headphones so people watch, listen and understand what they're bying. We'll probably still hook up the original dispenser buttons, but that's secondary.

One of the reasons for replacing the brain is that our dispenser has a max programmable price per item of $1.85, which conflicts with our desire to sell usb sticks out of the gum dispenser :) It will also make it easy for us to track how much money is spent on each type of item which means we can let other groups, like Counter Culture Labs sell stuff out of our vending machine and track who should receive how much money without manually counting.