Working Mario question block uses an Arduino to spit out coins

In what must be the antithesis of a piggy bank, maker Jonathan Whalen has used 3D printing and an Arduino to make a Super Mario question block that mimics the in-game item, as long as you provide the coins.

Inside of the printed shell there’s a geared mechanism that will hold onto up to three coins until the block is hit. When that happens a rubber band shoots out a single coin, so you have to strike it multiple times to get your investment back.

To replicate this project you’ll need the free files available on Thingiverse. The finished version measures in at around 145 millimetres cubed so you won’t be spending a lot on filament.

You will, however, need the electronics listed in the summary. You can use anything you have to get the job done, but it calls for an Arduino Nano, a stepper motor, vibration sensor, and a 9V battery to power everything.

It’s designed to work with US $1 gold coins, but those files thankfully come with similarly-sized Mario coins for anyone outside of the country. Print them with a gold filament for the full effect.

If you don’t want to bother with 3D printing the block and messing around with an Arduino, Whalen is selling completed versions on his Etsy store for $50. Considering the custom work being done here and the usual price of such things on Etsy, we’d say that’s a great price.

The demo video also gives you some tantalising slo-mo shots to sell you on the idea further.

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