High Schooler Turns Empty Locker Into A Soda Vending Machine, Inspiring Us To Pursue Odd Projects Everywhere

And it's theft-proof.

When Kansas high school student Blake Hawkins discovered an empty locker at his school, he didn't just fill it with books and equipment — instead, the innovative teen turned it into a soda pop vending machine.

Hawkins explains in his Instructables tutorial that the "Soda Locker" vending machine uses a coin acceptor, an LCD screen, an Arduino micro-controller board, a magnetic reed switch, some old video game switches, and batteries. 

Hawkins explains he had Valley Center High School's support when he was developing the prototype, and was able to come up with a design that would not damage the existing locker. And he was able to do it for approximately $160 spent on parts.

Another important design feature is that the Soda Locker is theft-proof.

It has a design where no one can remove the control panel from the locker and the door swings shut after use to protect it. Furthermore, it's programmed to take exact change only, and to let the operator know when someone is trying to cheat the coin system.

On Instructables, Hawkins explains he originally thought about the idea for having a soda pop vending machine in a locker a year ago on his way to history class. While he initially treated it as a joke, he has proven how you can take an idea and turn it into something brilliant. He wrote, "Whether you build your own Soda Locker or not, I hope you're inspired to build whatever odd project you've come up with!"

See the video below to see Hawkins' Soda Locker vending machine:

(H/T: Gizmodo)

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