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Enginursday: The LoverMatic

Revisiting the venerable HaterMatic project, with a Valentine's Day twist!

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Are you going to be alone this Valentine's Day? Or maybe you're searching for a way to tell that special someone how you feel? Either way, we've got you covered. For today's Enginursday post, I wanted to revisit an old favorite project of mine, the HaterMatic, with a Valentine's twist.

Meet the LoverMatic. This little baby will, for a small monetary donation, give you a compliment that's sure to make your (or your sweetheart's) day.

The construction is pretty simple. I connected one of our six-denomination coin acceptors to one of our thermal printers through an Arduino Pro Mini. The Pro Mini has all of the strings stored in flash memory, so it's capable of storing quite a few. I used a nice, big arcade button to trigger the print once the money has been received.

If you're interested in building your own LoverMatic (or HaterMatic, for that matter), all the code and wiring diagrams you'll need can be found on GitHub. It's also a great example project for interfacing the coin acceptor, the thermal printer, or for learning to store long strings in flash memory on Arduino boards.

Comments 6 comments

  • Does the new code check to make sure it doesnt cut off a sentence in the middle of a word to print on the next line?

    • Sadly, no. Adding a '\n' character to the string is the easiest way to do this, as the printer will recognize that as a newline request.

  • Hello can you help me? My project is like this, but it does not have a button

  • What are the parts used to build the enclosure?

    • We used to sell it. It's called "MicroRax" and it's an aluminum extrusion bar system similar to 80/20. Personally, I wouldn't recommend using it, as it has a number of flaws that make it less than sturdy. I bought up a bit when we discontinued it for projects like this.

  • The HaterMatic inspired a yet-to-be-completed project of an "Insult-A-Matic" that would print out an insult, the "quality" based on the amount of donation. Plans are to set it up at conventions of a club I'm in with all donations going to the club's charity (which provides scholarships and other educational and research funding). (I've also considered making "compliments" and "fortune-cookie-like fortunes" available.)

    Mine includes a Raspberry Pi as a main processor, and, amongst other things, some NeoPixels planted in translucent critters from the dollar store, with them getting more and more excited with larger donations. I was thinking about using a Big Dome button, but decided to modify a white button (from Adafruit) to have a NeoPixel so that I can vary the colors.

    Be sure to read my comments on the Coin Acceptor (from about 3 years ago) before you order. There is a "design flaw", and it WILL JAM if someone tries to put in a U.S. half-dollar coin. (It's a shame, as the spec for the half dollar is only 0.11mm larger than the maximum the acceptor will accept. The coin sizes, BTW, can easily be found with Google, so it shows that the designers didn't bother doing any research.

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