Nearly a year ago now, Nottingham Hackspace ran a pledge drive to aquire a second hand vending machine, and after a number of generous pledges, bought a Westomatic with a faulty refrigeration unit and no coin mechanism.  With boundless enthusiasm, it was declared that we would build a RFID system to allow members to buy “things” from the machine with their membership card.

Daniel, Reprap Matt and James got to it, and just 11 months on, we now have a fully working vending machine!  During that time a coin mechanism was bought and installed, the refrigeration unit was completely disabled and a shiny new RFID unit was designed, built and installed.  It now integrates with Snackspace in the kitchen to allow members to manage how much they owe to the hackspace and will eventually update members automatically each month with how much they owe.

The vending machine is still a little empty, but Doc Little is fixing that as we speak.  In the next few weeks it will fill up with kits and bits, at the very least it will contain:

  • Sugru of various colours
  • Bat detector kit
  • TV-B-Gone kit
  • Flashy badge kit
  • Minimus AVR
  • Xino Arduino clone (soldered)
  • MiniPOV kit

More details, and eventually the full code and schematic for the cashless device, can be found on ourwiki, and you can see the cashless device in all it’s glory below.

Guts of the Machine

RFID Reader