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Picture of Card Sorter for a Trading Card Machine (Update 2019-01-10)

Card Sorter for a Trading Card Machine

The Change Log can be found in the last step.

The Background

I already explained the motivation of my project in the Card Feeder article. But in short, my children and I have amassed a large amount of Trading Cards by now. The handling, sorting, etc. is very difficult with these quantities. We have already tried it, but we gave up frustrated. For this reason I want to build a Trading Card Machine, which should take on different tasks.

Trading Cards should automatically be

  • managed (Which cards do I have?, Which ones are missing?)
  • sorted (Block, Language, Set, Series, etc)
  • rated (How valuable are my cards?, How much money do I have to spend for a full set?)
  • traded (Buy and Sell)

Because of this ambitious goals, I decided to split the huge machine into 3 parts.

  1. Card Feeder - a machine which grab and transport a single card out of a card stack
  2. Card Scanner - a part where the cards will be analyzed
  3. Card Sorter - a machine which will store the identified cards

This Instructable is about the 3rd part, the Card Sorter. Cards that have passed through the machine will be stored in the Card Sorter. The decision on what is sorted is made by the Card Scanner. The Card Sorter is only responsible for the right place to store the cards.

The focus of the Trading Card Machine is currently on the World of Warcraft Trading Cards, as we have by far the most cards from this type. That's why I designed the Card Sorter so that every set has its own storage compartment. There were 21 sets in the WoW universe, so I need space for 21 + 1 storage opportunities. The additional tray is for cards that were not recognized by the Card Scanner or that could not be assigned to the Card Sorter.

There are many ways to do it.

It was important to me:

  • as few mechanical and electrical parts as possible
  • to use gravity
  • cool look
  • a lot of movement
  • visible movement

It was NOT important to me:

  • space saving, lightweight, portable
  • effective or fast

After many considerations and a few sleepless nights, I had decided on the following variant:
The Card Feeder is in the middle at the highest position and put the cards on a ramp. These then slide down into the Card Scanner. After the Scanner, the cards slide down over a ramp into one of the 22 compartments. These 22 storage areas are arranged in a circle around the center and can be positioned by a motor to the ramp accordingly.

Exactly this part I want to show you.

Let's do it!
In this instructable I will show you Part 3 - How to create the Card Sorter.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

Tools and Materials

Here's what I used to create the Card Sorter:



Schabenstolz7 months ago
Top ! Did not think that you can work so precisely with cardboard. The timing belt is awesome. :D

Respect for the detailed documentation.
theguymasamato (author)  Schabenstolz7 months ago
Thanks a lot.
Cardboard is really handy. I love it more and more.
JeffM158 months ago
Super nice build.. Great Instructions.

In response to JayH25

Maybe cheaper to just purchase the bearing race already done.
Might be easier for those that do not have a plunge router and wood shop to make it in.

Here is one found one on eBay relatively quickly for $50 without much trouble.
theguymasamato (author)  JeffM158 months ago
Yes you're right.
It's usable for a smaller rotary sorting system.
JayH258 months ago
Good Buuild!
What you built is called a "slewing bearing" see design styles at this site:
They are excruciatingly expensive, but I thought you might like to see some pictures of how they are assembled to get some ideas.
theguymasamato (author)  JayH258 months ago
Thanks for the link.
It's very interesting to see some ways to assemble them.
Maybe I can use some ideas for the Card Sorter.
Wapata8 months ago
You... You really know how to make an instructable and videos.... And stuff too.
Waw... Respect for all the work done here !
theguymasamato (author)  Wapata8 months ago
Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.
tisaconundrum8 months ago
I love how you used the corrogation of the cardboard to create gear teeth, that is very creative!
theguymasamato (author)  tisaconundrum8 months ago
Thx. I'm also happy with the belt.
Today I got a new and bigger motor. I'm curious if the cardboard can stand it.
We will see :)
Sly Skiller8 months ago
I read the Card Feeder Instructable time ago but now I am impressed, great job!!!. Cannot wait to read about the Card Scanner
theguymasamato (author)  Sly Skiller8 months ago
Thanks a lot.
At the moment I'm creating the first sketches from the Scanner.
Have you considered using a reed switch and a magnet to set your homing position?

theguymasamato (author)  MysticHobo19828 months ago
Hmm,... not really.
But a good idea. To be honest a really good idea. Much easier than using IR sensors.
Thank you very much. I think I will go for it.
Sticky-Toes8 months ago
Cardboard timing belt ?!!??? That's genius !!!
theguymasamato (author)  Sticky-Toes8 months ago
Thanks a lot. After hardening, it works quite well.