I finally got around to creating a project that uses a mix of both my artistic and technical skills. While rummaging around at the local Goodwill, I found a small bingo cage. At the time, I had no idea what I might do with it, but it seemed too good of treasure to simply pass up. Because the store sells everything for $0.79/lb, it couldn't have cost me a couple of bucks.
A few days later, I had an idea.
I started by painting tiny little scenes, designs, and patterns on each of the balls. Unfortunately, because I'm getting old, I had to rig up a magnifying stand so I could see what I was doing. Here's the complete set (well, all the balls that I got, I imagine that there's still quite a few rolling around the bottom of a bin somewhere at Goodwill):
Long story, but end result was that I ended up with some unexpected cash. I splurged and bought myself an Arduino development kit. Basically, it's a set of circuit boards and components that you can program to do just about whatever you can imagine. I had been teaching myself how to use the kit, when I realized I could use it for this project. It's not very pretty, but the circuitry looks like this:
Then, I needed to create a box for it all to fit in. I gave it all a good coat of paint and put it all together. It ended up looking like this:
Every good project needs a drawer, right?
After turning on the master power switch and selecting the speed, you press the start button and the cage begins to turn. When the hopper scoops up a ball and it rolls down the chute, it breaks a beam of light and the cage stops turning. You can then retrieve the ball and see what fortune it reveals.