Building a Zoltar Fortune Teller: Part One

I have always thought the mechanical fortune teller machines where a thing of wonder and I've always wondered about making one myself. 

I have previously experimented with making a proof of concept miniature version here but as I had some spare time on my hands I decided to scale up to a full sized cabinet.

I started by rescuing an old wardrobe that was skipped and used the panels to put together the bottom half of the cabinet. The intention is to have the bottom half collecting the money and dispensing fortune cards, with the top half house Zoltar in a framed enclosure.

I removed the insides of the miniature fortune teller and made sure they still work. A friend of mine gave me a nice 1d coin panel and I made sure that this worked with the existing coin acceptor. The brains of Zoltar runs off a simple Microbit. I love these little programmable boards, they're easy to use as well as cheap and are perfect for projects like this.

The code is surprisingly simple too. The Microbit sits and waits on one of its pins to read the microswitch within the coin acceptor and when triggered first fires off a signal to work the blinking eyes before rotating a servo that points to an answer: YES / NO / UNCLEAR. More details can be found by playing the video of the project so far.

If you're interested in fortune machine builds and would like to follow down the rabbit hole, then check out this playlist of different cabinet builds here.


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