Drinks Machines

(Mike Ando) #1

We now have two drinks machines (not to be confused with the solid-object-dispensing Vending Machine). This is fantastic! Some of us want to hack them to be prettier, less generic-looking & at least 20% cooler.

A few design ideas have been kicking around. With two machines it makes it even easier to pick a favourite, since we’re picking two favourite designs & not just one. This place is a do-ocracy, meaning the people who put in the time, effort & their own money to re-style the machine will have the artistic control, but it’s the hackerspace’s group property & we’re totally up for suggestions, feedback & cool ideas. Tell us what you want!

For the old drinks machine currently in the lobby which is sporting a generic “cold drinks” design, the current winning idea is a design that looks like a Slurm machine from Futurama. Examples/references:

For the new drinks machine that currently resides in the warehouse and is currently sporting a Coca-Cola logo, awaiting its final location in the warehouse… Who knows! As a test, Timeka knocked together this quick piece last Tuesday, to replace the Diet Coke logo & to see how it looked on an actual machine:

Pretty swanky, but we’re undecided if we’ll stay with that theme. Mostly because there’s a lot of things to choose from… Current list of possibilities:
Port-Cola style (example pictured above)
Fallout’s Nuka-Cola (would look quite fitting in our old, rusted-up warehouse)
Simpson’s Duff or Flaming Moe
Lost’s Dharma Initiative generic drinks
Bioshock’s Plasmids
Monkey Island’s Grog
Oddworld’s SoulStorm Brew
Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster
Idiocracy’s Brawndo
Battlestar Galactica’s Ambrosa
Star Trek’s Synthehol or Romulan Ale
Grand Theft Auto’s e-Cola
Sam & Max’s Banang
The BFG’s Frobscottle
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s Fizzy Lifting Drink
Harry Potter’s Butterbeer or Dittany
Alice in Wonderland’s DRINK ME
Powerpuff Girls’ Chemical X
Alex Mack’s GC-161
Love Potion Number 8.5
various RPG games’ Ether potions or Phoenix Downs
a giant version of the HSBNE logo (personally not a fan of this one, we can do better while still incorporating our logo)
a steampunk or stained-window variant of any of the above
a “universal drinks machine” theme with a big grid of all the above-mentioned drinks next to buttons with fake “sold out” lights
our own unique styling. Dazzle us with your artistic abilities!

Getting designs printed up for us will be rather expensive, however because we’re planning to use only a few colours, the current plan is to just airbrush the design on ourselves with some stencils. While the sides can be easily painted over, stripping the existing design off the machines’ front isn’t doable without destroying the polycarbonate in the process, so the current plan is to just replace the polycarbonate sheets. Relying on the fact that these machines will be in members-only-access areas in rooms containing security cameras, the likelihood of intentional vandalism is low, so I think we should be able to get away with thinner & cheaper 3mm polycarbonate sheeting which is the same thickness used on vending machines destined for office buildings to be used by staff only. The current price to beat is $160 for 3mm, clear, smooth, UV-treated polycarbonate sheet that’s large enough to do one machine. If you know a cheaper source, let us know! :smile:

(Sean Reynolds Massey Reed) #2

Don’t have a cheaper source but live near global acrylics so could pick up sheet if you need. Was impressed when I came in on Wednesday to see the small logo you had already placed.

(Drew Triebe) #3

Oddworld’s SoulStorm Brew or Nuka Cola would be my vote.

Unless we have some talented people make our own beverage logo and swoosh.

(Joshua Hogendorn) #4

I suggested a while back that you could install a series of named donation boxes on the front of the machine(s), one for each art suggestion. Once all tins sum to the cost of new art, the tin with the most cash wins :smile:

Could probably do an array cheaply with some DWV pvc pipe and endcaps.

(Brendan Halliday) #5

Slightly off topic, but have you guys been able to see what the lighting is
like in the newest donated one?

I’m looking to throw money at a LED strip replacement of the scary 110v
bulbs. The frequency of the flickering of gives me headaches and would be
cheaper to maintain in the long run.

Interested to know what lights up the coke machine :slight_smile:

(Mike Ando) #6

The new coke machine uses 4 fluorescent tubes, each one only going half-way up the door. One tube is missing afaik. They look much more like standard modern fluorescent tube sizes to me, and hopefully much cheaper to replace than the “cold drink” machine’s huge 110V tubes. I haven’t seen the new coke machine turned on yet so I don’t know if it flickers or if all the remaining lights even work… Only one way to find out!

I agree the old “cold drink” machine’s tubes have a horrible flicker. I wonder if the flicker is related to the 110V transformer converting from 240V 50Hz to 110V 50Hz, but the bulbs are expecting US-standard 110V 60Hz… Either way, I agree with swapping those lights to LEDs or something else. Just make sure you patch it into the 240V part before the 110V transformer to get a smoother input supply :smile:

(Brendan Halliday) #7

Also I’m willing to help out vectoring/stencilling whatever ends up being the final design.

(Steve Dalton) #8

Glad you guys like the machine… looks like you will do a lot more with it that we did down on the Coast!

I’m still looking for an old snack machine that we can convert to see our electronics kits in if anyone sees anything about.


(Mike Ando) #9

The new Coke machine has been placed in a decent spot beside the retro-lathe in the warehouse room on top of a pallet, had its insides cleaned out, turned on, stocked with drinks & everything tested. Like the Death Star in Return of the Jedi, this may look like something under construction but it’s fully armed & operational!

The current selection of drinks is just the initial 96 cans I bought plus some stock from the server room. Expect the selection to be in a constant state of flux until we get a more regular source of cans. The price is still set at $1.20 per can because I haven’t had a chance to fix that yet. This will be changed, fear not conspiracy theorists who think we’re charging 20% more for Pepsi Next! (though an idea has been kicking around to charge more in this machine but offer 600mL options, energy drinks, canned iced coffee, imported drinks like Dr Pepper, etc. Nothing locked in stone yet. All up in the air. Your mileage may vary. Take only as directed. Always replace the cap after use. May cause hyperactivity, insomnia & death) Currently only one column is configured for bottles because the process involves permanently cutting a notch off a disc in the machine, but we can epoxy it back on if need be.

One of the four fluorescent light tubes inside is blown so to have a nicely-lit front, we’ll need to either replace that tube or swap to a different lighting style (non-flickery LED would be great). There’s a built-in dispensing counter & just for future reference, the current count is 064242. For those who have a key to open the machine, please don’t remove the bottom 8 cans in the columns for any reason, not even to just grab a cold one while restocking the machine. If you do, you’ll need to re-prime the vending system by running at least 4-8 cans through that column, during which you’ll have the fun time experiencing one can dispensed, zero cans dispensed, four cans falling on you all at once, etc. Instructions on this procedure are inside the machine. If we’re changing from one flavour to another, I highly recommend we just unload to the do-not-cross line we marked on the machine, load the new stuff & manually vend out the remaining cans.

(Drew Triebe) #10

Hurrah Dr. Pepper!
And thank you for Pepsi Next.

(Brendan Halliday) #11

Thanks for your work on this Mike! I’ve ordered 15m of white LED strips which should allow us to replace the horrible flickering tubes!

(Mike Ando) #12

Not related to the vending machine re-skinning process, but I figured here is as good a place as anywhere to put this…

If you’ve noticed lately, the drinks machines have been running a little empty. This isn’t because people have been lazy about restocking the machines, but because our stockpile of spare drinks in the server room had run out. We try to buy in bulk when there’s sales happening, to maximise our profits in the drinks machines. It’s hassle, but buying in bulk from supermarket sales is cheaper than if we went straight to Coca-Cola ourselves. I checked - they want around 60c/can (even in bulk for the quantity we use), whereas under 50c/can is common for supermarket sales. I went hunting for sales & managed to find some at 43c/can, then I proceeded to literally clear out the entire drinks shelves of two supermarkets of sale drinks.

12 flavours. 28 boxes. 220.5 Litres. ~235 kilograms. Five hundred and eighty-eight cans. At our current rate of consumption, this will keep us going for a couple months of the main flavours I bulk-purchased. We drink a lot of soft drinks. :stuck_out_tongue:

(pro tip: if anyone comments on why you’re buying so many cans of drink, the best response is “yeah, you should see the guy buying the meat for this party!”)

Of course, once they were sitting in my garage, I thought that having them lined up in a row on the floor doesn’t look like much. So I got creative with my LEGO-like building skills.

Behold my masterpiece… A chair of cans! A seat of soda! A bench of bubbles! A lounge of liquids! Or whatever other alliterative option whizzes through your mind at this sight of this carbonated monstrosity!

And well, I’ve been rather overworked & sleep-deprived lately… Silly ideas float through my head… One thing leads to another… And before you know it, this photo happens:

The drinks machines will both be fully stocked up with carbonated drinks once I get there on Tuesday.

Happy hacking! :smiley:

(Drew Triebe) #13

Seen better, my old sharehouse bought a literal ton of soft drink at $5.88/12 pack.

It was over a cubic meter of carbonated beverages.

(Joel Byrnes) #14

I don’t think it was actually a ton… even 1m^2 of cans wouldn’t be 1000L of drink.

But here it is… most of it still in the plastic wrap because it was bought before it even hit the shelves. After we’d gotten through a few cartons.

Also it turns out red creaming soda doesn’t come out of carpet at all. And it’s not a good idea to stack them like this for long because the bottom ones tend to leak. This brought back painful memories of being a shelf stacker and having to clean damp, rotted cardboard stuck to the lino at a supermarket. You wouldn’t believe how bad rotting cardboard and sugar smells.

(Drew Triebe) #15

I recall there being a lot more than that. Im reasonably sure it was… well, a lot of soda.

(Drew Triebe) #16

Wait, it might have been Irradiate that we went through a ton of coke products.

(Joel Byrnes) #17

100 geeks at a LAN for 3 days? Yeah, gonna need a lot of soda.

(Mike Ando) #18

Another image I thought I’d share, just because, even though it’s not directly related to the skinning process… If you were wondering why we need to buy so many drinks, here’s the smaller of our two machines - the “new Coke” machine - loaded up with a little over 300 drinks… The other machine holds even more.

Also I realised I forgot to buy bottled water so I picked up 96 bottles on the way to the hackerspace. Make that 684 drinks weighing around 290 kilograms. We go through a lot of drinks. :stuck_out_tongue:

Also, a bunch of the drinks boxes had competition labels on them, so because I had so many empty cardboard boxes from filling the machines I bothered to enter the barcodes into the competition website… and I won a pair of thongs! Not much but hey, free footwear. :stuck_out_tongue:

(Drew Triebe) #19

Delicious carbonation.

(Brendan Halliday) #20

Delicious carbonation makes me think one of the machines should have a han-in-carbonite front.