Happy Halloween! To celebrate the day of ghoulish creatures collecting candy, LEGO fan Jason Allemann (a.k.a. JK Brickworks) decided to build a Halloween candy dispenser to scare and delight kids who come to his door. Jason actually built a Halloween Chocolate Thrower last year using the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 kit, which was fun already, and this year he built an even better version with more features. See both below. 🙂
The first video shows Jason with his original Halloween Chocolate Thrower (I like that name, so I had to write it again!). It uses the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 infrared sensor to detect when something is in front of the machine to trigger the delivery mechanism. The chocolates are stored in a gravity feed stack, and are pushed out from the bottom using a simple piston arm. Once they are pushed out, they land on a platform that is rotated up to throw them. Jason designed the feed system to be adjustable, so it can accommodate a range of mini chocolate bars, or pretty much anything that will fit and stack reasonably well. If you are interested to build your own, and you already have the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 kit, you can find the building instructions and program file at Jason’s website: Halloween Chocolate Thrower Details & Instructions
This year, Jason built a Halloween Mini Chocolate Machine. The name is not as good, but the features are even better than the previous version. Instead of just staying with pieces from the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 kit, Jason decided to mix things up, and add some fun details with regular LEGO elements. The Halloween Mini Chocolate Machine uses the same gravity mechanism as the Halloween Chocolate Thrower, but that’s where the similarities end. To activate the machine, kids press down on the cute pumpkin, which is mounted in front of a touch sensor. This activates the feed mechanism, pushing a chocolate onto a conveyor belt, and delivering it to the skeleton hand at the front. Kids can then pick up the chocolate from the hand. To make the whole mechanism even more interesting, Jason programmed a couple of behaviors that can be activated using the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 remote control. So, when kids reach for the chocolate, Jason can remotely trigger the skeleton hand closing or the spider jumping forward, to give children a little scare. You can see all of these features in action in the video below.
Jason doesn’t have instructions for this second model at this point, but he explains it pretty well in the video, in case you would want to build something similar. He might also add instructions later, so make sure you follow his blog, JKBrickworks.com. And, if you would like to get into LEGO robotics, the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 kit is still available, along with the brand new LEGO BOOST kit, which is less intimidating and more friendly for tablet users. You can find both at the Online LEGO Shop.
What do you think? How do you like these LEGO candy dispensers? Are you doing something LEGO-ish this Halloween? Maybe a LEGO Halloween diorama, or filling your LEGO City with minifig trick-or-treaters Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below! 😉
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