Tinkering Vending Machine

Tinkering Vending Machine
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Tinkering vending machine
We've retrofitted a vintage snack vending machine to dispense tinkering tools!

Tinkering is all about using what you have around and messing about with everyday materials, but for some projects, you need a special little bit of something that is hard to find. That’s why we have set up a vending machine in the Tinkering Studio where you can purchase these materials and other fun items to get you inspired and help you tinker the moment you get home! Here are some of the items we have for sale.

Toothpick sculpture starter kit    

Toothpick sculpture starter kit

We were inspired by Scott Weaver, who made a fantastic sculpture of San Francisco entirely out of toothpicks and Elmer's glue over 37 years. Check out this video to see it in action, and here are his thoughts on how to work with toothpicks.
In this kit, you will find: a bunch of Scott’s favorite brand, Diamonds, which are flat and easier to layer; enough Elmer's glue to last you a long time; and a nail clipper, Scott's tool of choice to trim toothpicks to just the right length.

Paper Circuit starter kit    

Paper Circuit starter kit

Inspired by our friend Jie Qi, we developed an activity called Paper Circuits which allows you to make a fully functional electrical circuit on a flat piece of paper. In this kit you will find: some fun colored pieces of paper to get you started; a length of self-adhesive copper tape, which conducts electricity; a coin-cell battery, perfect for lying flat on a piece of paper; a strip of small surface-mount LEDs to light up your card.


Surface-mount LED packs

For more variety, you can also purchase individual strips of surface-mount LEDs. These are particularly useful for our Paper Circuits activity.


Sewn Circuits starter kit

Thanks to conductive thread, you can now easily create your own wearable technology masterpiece! Check out our Sewn Circuits page for some tips on to get started! This kit contains: a spool of conductive thread, made with stainless steel; a sewable battery holder; a coin cell battery; a few pieces of felt, which is an easy-to-sew material to get started with; and a few colored LEDs to brighten up your project.


Alligator clip leads

This is an all-purpose tool for your electronics projects: just pinch to open up the jaws of the clips, and easily connect together components that you want to wire together.


Copper tape

Sometimes all you need is a handy length of conductive copper tape for your Paper Circuits


Conductive thread

This high-quality conductive thread is made of stainless steel fiber, so it won't tarnish over time: perfect for your Sewn Circuits needs! It feels just like regular thread in all other ways.


Assorted LEDs

Some say you can never have too many shoes, but we think the same is true of LEDs. Here's a small assortment of medium and small 3V LEDs in a variety of colors, good for a variety of projects.


Sewable battery holder

This handy device will take a 3V coin cell battery and allow you to sew it right on your Sewn Circuits project.

3V Coin Cell Batteries

These powerful and flat batteries are useful in a bunch of projects. We use them as the power source in our Paper Circuits, Sewn Circuits, when making Digital Bling jewelry, etc.

Hobby motor

Here is the Tinkering Studio's favorite little motor! It has a voltage range of 1.5V to 3V, so it will work with one or two AA batteries, and comes with leads pre-attached, so no soldering is required to start tinkering right away. We love these for Scribbling Machines, and build them into our Circuit Boards sets.

Salvaged switches

This is a fun collection of salvaged switches that come from all kinds of machinery and electronic devices. They feel great to “throw” and can be a fun addition to a Circuit Boards project, or a repurposed toy after you've taken it apart!

Masking Tape

Here in the Tinkering Studio we like to say: "tape helps." This one has our website stamped on it, so you can rip off the initial piece and tape it somewhere very prominent in your home or workplace. That way you'll never forget where to go to check out wonderful activities, projects, and tinkering-related blog posts.