Uncomplicate a free Outreach Vending Machine

I recently received a grant to set up a vending machine in town to freely distribute outreach supplies to community members 24/7. I have acquired the vending machine (no make or model number, the manual is unhelpful), but getting it to go into free mode is proving difficult. The machine and motors work fine if I were collecting money, but get glitchy trying to get it into the gift goods mode.

I was wondering if anyone might be able to help me scrap the complicated piece of it and turn down the business logic to something much more simple - someone I know mentioned Raspberry pi. Ideally it would look more like 1. User presses a button 2. Something displays on the screen to confirm user input 3. the springs twist releasing the supplies.

:Let me know what you think - If anyone is able to help me with this, I think this would make the machine a lot simpler and easier to troubleshoot in the future, hopefully making this project last a long time.


I might be able to help figure this out, I’ve done a project kind of like this before.

Is the machine already at Asmbly, or is it someplace else? Send me a message on here and we can figure out schedule; I’m gone Thurs-Sat this week for the holidays but other than that I’m around.


The machine isn’t at Asmbly and won’t be (the one currently there is @JoeN’s he’s working on getting rid of). @econtroversy is not currently an Asmbly member, but I encouraged her to reach out on here because her project sounded like a really cool thing to help people in Austin that members might be interested in helping with.

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Ah, that’s fine. I did think we might be talking about the one sitting over there in long-term storage.

Still happy to take a look!


This sounds like an amazing project. Please post as it makes progress. I know most of us here really love to see great stuff being made, and like to cheer things along

Best of luck on this work!

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Thanks all- it’s not at HQ, but it is pretty easily moved, as it’s a wall mounted vending machine, so I can bring it wherever it makes sense to be. I’ll touch back after the bananery of this week died down and maybe I can swing it through at a good time. Thanks, cjp and others! This is a really exciting project and hopefully an easy-ish fix.

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Just to be clear, this isn’t a project that would be stored at the space. If you decided to become a member @econtroversy to work on it at Asmbly that would be awesome, but it would need to leave with you each day. Not sure how big this thing is, but might make the most sense to meet elsewhere with people interested to look at it and discuss ideas in person.

Understood. Totally fine. I’ve grown remarkably attached to this hunk of metal. Wouldn’t dare let it leave my sight.


Hey there - hope y’all had a good vacation. Not sure I’m able to message folks directly since I’m not an Asmbly member. Was hoping to get with you and anyone else interested in getting this thing up and running. We would maybe have to consider a place to take a look at it, if not Asmbly HQ. I have a little time this week, Thursday probably being my best day, Saturday being my second favorite option - both days after 1pm. What are y’all’s thoughts?

The forum has what they call ‘trust levels’ it uses primarily to manage privileges and deal with spam/bots; probably your account is still at the lowest level still. If you goof around in here much more, it will bump you up so you can send PMs I think. In the meantime I will send you one. If you can’t start one, maybe you can at least respond to one.

A lot of the logistics of this thing have to do with its physical form. Can one person carry it? About how much does it weigh? Can you post a photo of it? (photos too might be prohibited for you still, idk)

If it is mobile enough that it can be transported, then we can arrange to look at it at Asmbly. It can really only be there while we’re there, but the space itself is perfectly appropriate I think.