This 3D-Printed Vending Machine for Ants Is Actually Functional

Redditor EnosCamare built an amazing miniature Coca-Cola vending machine that can actually dispense tiny soda bottles.

Miniature modeling is a time-honored tradition and we've all seen tiny sculptures with insane detail. Most of those aren't functional, but there is a subset of the community that focuses on creating working models. Afford 3D printers that are capable of producing fine detail have revolutionized the hobby and made it possible for artists to build their models more quickly and easily than ever before. Need an example? Check out this 3D-printing vending machine for ants that can actually dispense tiny soda bottles.

This vending machine was modeled after a Vendo 39, specifically the third version that had a drum-based vending mechanism and no "Vendo" logo. It is, of course, a Coca-Cola vending machine, because that is the ideal for Americana. That drum mechanism is part of what makes the Vendo 39 such a cool machine. Several holes in the drum held 12oz glass soda bottles. The coin-op mechanism would rotate the drum slightly and the thirsty patron could then open the door on the front. Because the holes were cleverly arranged in the drum, only one bottle would be accessible.

Redditor EnosCamare has reproduced all of that functionality here. The entire vending machine is 3D-printed only a few inches tall, but it still accepts itty bitty dimes. The drum mechanism works as intended and miniscule bottles of Coke are retrievable after a coin is inserted. The vending machine resides inside of a dollhouse and receives 5V power from an outlet on the wall. There isn't much information available about the electronics inside, but EnosCamare did say that the coin-op mechanism detects the "dimes" using an infrared sensor and everything is controlled by a Seeeduino XIAO.

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