Ever thought of combining a hamster running maze with littlebits modules? Why not? They make for a perfect candy machine:)
The following bits were used in the project: power module+wire+button+wire+servo
The button is the control input for the servo's position. When it is pressed the servo moves its crossed horn to open the hole for the candy in the top compartment to fall through. The button is easily accessed by being mounted on the outside of the hamster maze. All the remaining modules fit snuggly inside.
Sugru, the mouldable glue that turns into rubber, was used to hold the servo in place. Sugru was also used to close the gap between the candy compartment and the rest of the maze.
One of the hardest questions to answer in this project was how the candy machine should look. We went from evaluating numerous designs to decide on the hamster maze. We thought it to be the most colourful, creative and unexpected medium to use.
: Choosing the tech
After evaluating the benefits and limitations of using an Arduino-controlled servo, we decided to go with the Littlebits modules for the project. The ease of use and simplicity in design have been the deciding factors.
: Assembling the hamster maze
Next step was to assemble the configuration of the maze and visualize the possible location for the tech inside it.
: Separate the candy compartment from the rest
Using soft plywood, we have cut out the hole, which separates the candy compartment from the rest of the maze and glued it to the walls of the hamster cage using Sugru. Note: Sugru is mouldable for approximately half hour, after which it requires 24 hours to harden.
: The servo positioning
The picture describes the mounting of the servo to the walls of the hamster cage using Sugru. As you can see, the servo was being held in place at the bottom by gluing the top of the plastic strip to the maze support.
: Test phase
Does is work? Does it hold? Does it let candy through? What is the smallest and the largest candy size which can pass through the hole?
: The education Bit
Now we get to explore the technology behind the candy machine, find out how to create a circuit, learn about electricity, electron movement, inputs/outputs and, of course, eat a lot of candy. The best science is sweet science.