If you want to create a name for yourself in the maker world, the most important thing you can do is, well, make stuff. But that probably won’t be enough on it’s own to make you well known. You also have to present your projects in an entertaining way, interact with the maker community, and come up with a way to help people remember you. Giving away swag is always a great option for the last step, which is why Ivan Miranda built an automatic swag dispenser.
Ivan is attending Makers Central in the United Kingdom, along with James Bruton and Tom Stanton. He needed a way to give out swag to other attendees, but wanted something more interesting than just handing out business cards like everyone else does. What he came up with is the Automatic Swag Dispenser, which can print out information for him, James, and Tom. Attendees just push an arcade button for the person they want information on, and it pops out!
Like all of Ivan’s projects, the Automatic Swag Dispenser is built into a 3D-printed case. Inside is a Teensy development board, a thermal receipt printer, LEDs, and a LiPo battery to power it all. When one of the arcade buttons is pressed, the Teensy sends the image to be printed to the thermal printer via a serial connection. Once it starts printing, LEDs inside the enclosure light up to make “SWAG” flash on the front. It’s a simple build, but it’s far more interesting than another boring business card.