Vending Machine

In this Eureka Crate, you'll explore the science, engineering, and history behind vending machines while building one of your own!


  • Ratchet Mechanisms
  • History of Vending Machines
  • Anti-Fraud Engineering

Behind the design

Peek into the KiwiCo product design studio and the design process behind the Eureka Crate Vending Machine.

    1. Capsule Conundrum

    2. We always start our design process with a simple, bare-bones prototype to make sure that the basic design actually works. This first-stage prototype was held together with rubber bands instead of bolts! We would’ve added more mechanisms to it, but we realized at this point that the capsules could get jammed in the ramp. So instead, we went back to the drawing board to redesign the capsule container area.
    1. No Two Prizes Alike

    2. Once we had a basic design for the vending machine as a whole, we ended up trying a lot of different designs for its smaller parts. Check out these prototypes to see different paddle wheels, coin wheels, and even ramp placement! By trying out a bunch of design versions, we got a better sense of what worked best.
    1. To Be Fully Transparent…

    2. We wanted it to be easy to see how the vending machine’s insides worked, so most of our designs actually featured clear front and back panels. Unfortunately, with so many clear parts, it was hard for users to tell which mechanism was which (and our illustration team got headaches trying to draw all the transparencies). Our final design still has some clear plastic parts, but it also uses opaque wood and colored plastic so it’s easier to tell the mechanisms apart.


Preview of the Make Your Own Prizes! printable

Make Your Own Prizes!

Print out these prize templates to stock your vending machine!

Download PDF  ➜