Ever felt the thrill of building something amazing with your own hands? Imagine creating a DIY vending machine that not only sparks your creativity but also serves a practical purpose. This article will guide you through the exhilarating journey of assembling a vending machine from scratch, employing simple tools and materials. Ready to embark on this inventive adventure?

To make a DIY vending machine, gather materials like cardboard, Arduino, servos, and a coin acceptor. Follow a step-by-step guide to construct the frame, integrate the electronics, and program the mechanism for item dispensing.

Materials and Tools Required

Embarking on the journey to create a DIY vending machine requires not just enthusiasm, but also the right set of materials and tools. Here’s what you need to gather:

  • Arduino board: The brain of your vending machine, managing all electronic functions.
  • Servo motors: To drive the dispensing mechanism.
  • Coin acceptor: To validate and accept payment.
  • Cardboard or acrylic sheets: For the body of the machine.
  • Push buttons: For item selection.
  • LCD display: To show instructions or prices.
  • Power supply: To power the Arduino and motors.
  • Wires and breadboard: For connections.
  • Soldering iron and solder: For securing electronic components.
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks: For assembling non-electronic parts.
  • Scissors or a cutter: For shaping materials.
  • Screwdriver set: For assembling parts.

Gather these tools and materials, and you’re set for an exciting build!

Step-by-Step Construction Guide

Creating your DIY vending machine involves several steps, from the basic build to the electronic integration. Let’s dive in:

Design the Frame

  • Start by designing the frame of your vending machine. Use cardboard or acrylic sheets. Cut them to size for the machine’s body, shelves, and the dispensing area.

Assemble the Frame

  • Using a hot glue gun, assemble the pieces. Ensure it’s sturdy enough to hold your products and the electronics.

Install the Coin Acceptor

  • Position the coin acceptor at a convenient spot on the machine. Secure it in place, ensuring it’s aligned correctly for easy coin insertion.

Set Up the Servo Motors

  • Attach servo motors inside the machine. These will control the dispensing mechanism. Make sure they’re strong enough to handle the items you plan to vend.

Integrate the Push Buttons

  • Install push buttons on the front panel. Each button corresponds to a different product in the machine.

Add the LCD Display

  • Mount the LCD display to show prices, instructions, or messages to the user. Connect it to the Arduino board.

Wire Everything to the Arduino

  • Connect all electronic components – servo motors, coin acceptor, push buttons, and LCD display – to the Arduino board using wires and a breadboard. Follow a wiring diagram specific to your vending machine design for accurate connections.

Program the Arduino

  • Program the Arduino with code that manages coin acceptance, product selection, and item dispensing. Test each function to ensure it operates as expected.

Final Assembly and Testing

  • Once all components are correctly installed and programmed, close up the machine. Test the entire system by inserting coins, selecting products, and ensuring items are dispensed correctly.

Customization and Decoration

  • Finally, personalize your vending machine. Paint it, add decals, or design it to fit the theme of its location or contents.how to make a diy vending machine

Congratulations, you’ve now built your very own DIY vending machine! Test it thoroughly to ensure reliability, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Advanced Features and Final Touches

Here are some of the advanced features you should read:

Integrating Electronics 

Diving deeper into the heart of your DIY vending machine, the integration of electronics is what brings your creation to life. This process involves meticulous attention to detail and a basic understanding of electronics and programming. Here’s how to get started:

Arduino and Motor Integration

The Arduino board, essentially the brain of your vending machine, controls all electronic components, including servo motors which actuate the dispensing mechanism. Here’s a step-by-step guide to integrating these critical components:

  1. Connect the Servo Motors: Attach your servo motors to the Arduino using jumper wires. Each motor will require a ground wire, power wire, and a control wire connected to different digital pins on the Arduino board.
  2. Install the Coin Acceptor: Wire the coin acceptor to the Arduino. This will usually involve connecting power, ground, and a signal wire that communicates when a coin is inserted.
  3. Program the Arduino: Use the Arduino IDE to program the board. Your code should include instructions for coin acceptance, product selection via push buttons, and actuating servo motors to dispense the selected item. Libraries such as Servo.h for servo motor control can be very helpful.
  4. Test Your Setup: After programming, test each component individually. Ensure the servo motors respond correctly to product selection and that the coin acceptor accurately detects and validates coins.

PCB Creation and Soldering

For a more robust and reliable setup, creating a custom PCB (Printed Circuit Board) for your vending machine can be invaluable. This process involves:

  1. Designing Your PCB: Use software like Eagle or KiCad to design your PCB layout, incorporating connections for the Arduino, motors, coin acceptor, and any other components.
  2. Ordering the PCB: Once your design is complete, order your PCB from a manufacturer. Services like PCBWay offer an easy ordering process and rapid delivery.
  3. Soldering Components: When your PCB arrives, use a soldering iron to attach all electronic components to the board. This includes the Arduino microcontroller, connectors for the servo motors, and the coin acceptor.
  4. Final Integration: With all components soldered, connect your newly created PCB to the corresponding parts within the vending machine. This not only tidies up the wiring but also significantly improves the reliability of the electronic system.

Testing and Troubleshooting

After integrating your electronics, thorough testing and troubleshooting are crucial to ensure your vending machine operates flawlessly.

  1. Systematic Testing: Begin by testing each component individually—coin acceptor, buttons, LCD display, and motors. This helps isolate any issues to specific parts of the system.
  2. Debugging: If a component isn’t working as expected, check the wiring and connections first. Review your Arduino code for errors or misconfigurations, particularly in the pin assignments and logic controlling the motors.
  3. Mechanical Adjustments: Ensure that the mechanical parts like the dispensing mechanism move freely without obstruction. Adjust the positioning of servo motors if necessary to achieve smooth operation.
  4. Load Testing: Once individual components work correctly, perform a full system test with actual products. This will help identify any final adjustments needed in the mechanics or programming.

Applications and Customizations 

Your DIY vending machine, now fully operational, offers a canvas for creativity and customization.

  1. Custom Interfaces: Enhance user interaction with custom graphics on the LCD display or additional selection buttons for a broader range of products.
  2. Product Variety: Experiment with different products to vend, adjusting the size of compartments and dispensing mechanisms as needed.
  3. Decorative Themes: Personalize the machine’s exterior with paint, stickers, or themed decorations to attract attention and create a unique vending experience.
  4. Advanced Features: Consider adding more sophisticated features such as wireless payment options, remote monitoring of stock levels, or energy-saving modes for a high-tech vending machine.

Your DIY vending machine project not only showcases your creativity and engineering skills but also provides a practical and customizable solution for vending needs. Whether for personal enjoyment or educational purposes, the possibilities are endless.


Embarking on the journey to create a DIY vending machine from scratch exemplifies not just a triumph of engineering and creativity, but also an expression of personal innovation. This project not only challenges your technical skills with tasks like programming and electronics integration but also invites you to dive into the realms of design and customization, making the machine uniquely yours. Whether it serves as an educational tool, a home gadget, or a prototype for larger ambitions, the process itself offers invaluable learning experiences and a sense of accomplishment.
Innovation doesn’t stop here. With your newfound skills and confidence, the possibilities for what you can build next are endless. Whether you choose to enhance your vending machine with more advanced features or embark on an entirely new project, you’re equipped with the knowledge and experience to tackle complex challenges.

In the spirit of continuous improvement and curiosity, keep exploring, learning, and creating. Your journey through DIY projects like this vending machine is just the beginning of what you can achieve with dedication and creativity.


How can I select the right Arduino board for my DIY vending machine?

Choose an Arduino with enough digital I/O pins to manage the servo motors, coin acceptor, push buttons, and LCD display, like the Arduino Uno or Mega.

What are the best materials for building the frame of a DIY vending machine?

Durable materials like acrylic sheets or thick cardboard are ideal for a sturdy and lasting frame.

How do I ensure my coin acceptor accurately recognizes different coins?

Program your Arduino with precise calibration settings for the coin acceptor, testing with various coins to ensure reliable detection.

Can I customize my DIY vending machine to dispense different products?

Yes, adjust the size of compartments and the servo motor settings to accommodate different products.

What troubleshooting steps should I follow if my vending machine isn’t working?

Check connections, ensure the Arduino is correctly programmed, verify servo motors are properly calibrated, and confirm the coin acceptor is accurately set up.

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