Marcus Vending Machine from Borderlands 3 - full scale

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Disclaimer: as you'll can probably tell I'm no expert fabricator, having worked as a panelbeater and a spraypainter I learnt some basic metalwork skills welding up rust on old shitters, making new sections of panels, basic chassis work (again normally just rust repairs), etc. So anyone with an engineering background who expects quality work - please look away now, this project is here just because I love the Borderlands series and when I saw the mechanics of BL3 vending machines I felt like I had to attempt and build one.

I'm hoping the end result will be relatively close proportionally, will have some sound effects (i.e. simple motion detection sound recordings using Marcus sound from the game), functional top screen, the centre part won't have the screen - instead I'll have the actual vending machine part with the moving conveyor belt.

Measurements - I assumed the total height at 1800mm so all of the measurements are done using screenshots from the game taking that height into account. For now I'm focusing on the frame, and may need to revisit the measurements once I get to the inner part to try and get the dimensions accurate.


Today's progress on the frame - I had to slightly deviate from some of the measurements to make it a bit easier i.e. using size of the box section into account when making certain parts e.g. the bottom part of the machine is meant have a 54mm tall lip around the outside, I've used the box section height of 25mm for this.

Also for now I'm only spotting this, once the frame is assembled I'll have to spend some time and dial in my settings and attempt and seam it up the best I can. Since I'm going straight off the measurements screenshots there is a chance that I'll screw something up, so spotting pieces on for now seems like a good idea.

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View from the left side - you can see the 60 degree bends which move the whole top section forward about 20mm. The actual angle was slightly different but the length of the pieces which are angled matches the proportions so I think this will be sweet.
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View from the front - the "widening" of the middle section is also done at 60 degrees which is slightly off, but the length of the piece is proportionally accurate.

The 3 vertical supports on the left are to accomodate the cylinder behind the transparent cover.

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I think this will make a lot more sense once I start putting sheet steel over the top, but for now I'm happy with this morning's progress.

More to come soon, I'm hoping to get at least half a day into this thing every weekend so the updates should be relatively regular.
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Nearly finished the middle section today. So far only had to break one weld to straighten a piece, the rest are spot on. The top bar was only about 1.5mm off so pretty happy how straight it is.

Next is to finish the top section and add a few horizontal beams on the sides.

Once that's done then it'll be time to work on the vendine machine mechanics, definitely looking forward to working that one out.

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Pretty much finished the top part of the frame, just a couple bits left but will sort that tomorrow. The pics seem to make it look like the top parts aren't symmetrical, they are - seems the phone camera is distorting things a bit close up.

Next is the fun part to try and start working out how the mechanism itself will be setup. Ive drawn it up a bunch of times, seems pretty straight forward on paper, but we'll see whether it'll be that straight forward in reality. Not gonna worry about any sheetmetal work until the mechanism is 100%.

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Looking awesome! That's when you tell the neighbor's "Oh it's going to be a vending machine that you can buy guns from." Hehe!
Haha thanks mate, appreciate it. Yeah I had to show them the GIF file I ripped of the vending machine in action in game to explain why this will be awesome IRL.


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Started on the mechanism today, this is gonna be awesome. I have no idea what I'm doing, pretty much working out each bit as I go. Trying my best to think as far ahead to avoid any screwups but we'll see how it goes.

Got a few old bike chains, a couple of them were pretty much rusted solid. Soaked them in degreaser, then rustkill and washed it all off, then some diesel for a day, now flooded them with CRC but still had to get a few links moving with pliers. Should be all good. Each one is approx 1.1m long, given that the height of the vertical section from sprocket to sprocket is 815mm plus 190mm horizontal bits top and bottom, plus there will be a slight angled section (to make the panels change angle as they get to the middle section) so all up I think i'm cutting it close, worst case will have to get another section and join it on.

As you can see the chain is meh, especially the 2nd from the top, that's the one that was rusted solid. But I think given such low movement speed these will do just fine.
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Lucky I have plenty of spare bearings, found 8 that I'll use for all 4 axles
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This is a rough idea of how the main structure will be like. Basically an H section, with each leg having a 90mm piece coming out perpendicular to the axles (i.e. facing to and away from). This is to make sure the vending machine plates have enough clearance and can pass each other. Also since I only have 4 bike sprockets will be attempting to make 4 more "sprockets" out of some of the bearings. Will probably attempt welding small studs to bearings to see how that works. All I need them is to hold the chain in place to prevent from moving sideways so I'm sure it'll be fine, but if not will figure it out once we get there.

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This is one of the bottom parts of the H section, haven't welded it yet, just lining it up, also thinking whether I'll mount bearings inside a piece of pipe that's welded to these 90mm pieces. This way the bearing isn't wrecked with heat, and instead I'll just bend the corners of the pipe in to keep the bearing in place. The bearing is only half a mil off the inner diameter of the pipe so it should sit in there very nicely.

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And this is the H section as it is at the moment. The goal for this weekend is to complete this, get all the bearings and the shafts matched, and then maybe even mount the sprockets and then work out the tensioners for both chains.

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Just got a spare couple of hours to work on it, so ended up mounting the H frame. Decided to bolt it up because I suspect since that's the skeleton of the entire mechanism, if it's removable it'll make it much easier to build and then maintain e.g. chain tightening, or repairs if needed, etc.

Lined it up, it's pretty close to the centre, within about 1mm, and the level is spot on. Not exactly the most professional way balancing it on a bar stool but it did the trick, especially when I could roll the frame around and position it perfectly.
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Made up a couple of brackets, these are then welded onto two pieces of box section that come off the main frame
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And there it is, pretty straight and strong as hell. I suspect even if bandits or vault hunters decide to bash on the side of it, nothing will give and it should still work.
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Have been hunting for more sprockets, seems used ones are difficult to find or bike shops only want to sell new. I need 8 more, so figured I'll try making some myself, and worst case will have to get some proper ones.

Measured up the chain pitch and found that the OD of a 6 tooth sprocket would need to be 24mm.
First made one test sprocket which seemed to work, then the next 7 made in one hit by locking them in on a bolt (also used the bolt shape to mark the 6 points), then carved them all out with a grinding disk, and then did some filing to tidy them up.

To my surprised they seem to match the chain well, only took a couple of hours so didn't waste too much time on this either.

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Still need to file them back more, but even in this state they match the chain pretty good.
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Decided that I'll only have a single axel that will join the left and right chains, the rest will just be short axels with a single bearing holding the sprocket. Figured the easiest way is to put a bolt through the bearing, and bolt up the sprocket on the other side.

Couldn't find the exact size / type bolts and nuts at our big hardware store chains, so will stop off at a local fastening supplies shop start of next week and get some, but this is how I'm thinking I'll be mounting them:


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Got the chain drive sorted today.

Found a few washers where OD matched the ID of these bike sprockets, and ID of the washers was about half a mil off the shaft diameter, so perfect match. Haven't locked the bearings in yet, won't do that untill all 12 bearings/sprockets are mounted and rotate without play etc.

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Also worked out what I'll use for tensioners. Ground these skateboard wheels down so the surface is slightly concave which will help keep the chain centered.

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Not sure about these homemade sprockets. Might have to just get some proper ones. But the concept of using bolts as an axel with them being bolted into the bearing and the other end holding the sprocket works very well.

Thinking before I get further I might remake some parts a bit more thoroughly, especially the bearing mounts. Just found a thicker pipe that I'll have to machine out to fit the bearings in.

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The top pair on the left side:
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Not familiar with the subject matter but enjoying your build process. Clever idea for the skateboard wheels. Amazingly clean and tidy workshop!
Thanks mate, I'm really enjoying this build as it's my first project for quite a while that doesn't involve cars in any way. Loving just being able to chop/weld stuff as i like (well you can with cars, but then you have safety or legality issues, etc), not having to look for parts etc (and if I do, its minor stuff like these sprockets where you can just wing it).

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