Say "Thank You" in a fun and interactive way with this money-sensing tip jar. Whenever someone drops in a tip, the LED matrix at the back of the jar will reward them with a fun animation and some heartfelt gratitude. 

This is a fairly easy build, using an upcycled snack jar to collect your bountiful tips and powered by a Matrix Portal M4 board plugged into the RGB matrix of your choice. Use our premade images or upload your own animations to make a custom "thank you" message for your most generous customers. 

Difficulty Level

This is a beginner project that doesn't require any soldering - you just need a screwdriver, some cutting tools, and some strong tape. I've also included an option that uses soldered headers for a slightly more secure build.

Materials Needed

A plastic jar with a lid, large enough to hold ALL the tips.

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1 x USB C Cable
USB C to USB C Cable - USB 3.1 Gen 4 with E-Mark - 1 meter long

Choose the RGB Matrix size that best fits your jar. You can see all the different sizes here. I used the 4mm pitch 64x32 size.

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You'll also need a Time of Flight sensor. This is a very cool little sensor that uses a laser to detect proximity, and works within a really tiny range of a few millimeters.

Be sure to get one of the suggested cables to attach it to your Matrix Portal as well. Check out the "Add the Sensor" page for more details.

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1 x STEMMA Cable
STEMMA QT / Qwiic JST SH 4-pin Cable - 100mm Long


1 x STEMMA to Male Header Cable
STEMMA QT / Qwiic JST SH 4-pin to Premium Male Headers Cable - 150mm Long
1 x Female Headers
Header Kit for Feather - 12-pin and 16-pin Female Header Set

Tools Needed

  • Goo-gone or other solvent to remove any labels
  • Box knife, rotary tool or saw to cut the plastic jar
  • Rotary tool or heat tool to cut the lid
  • Soldering iron if you're using the header-attachment method for the sensor (not needed if you're using the STEMMA plug-in cable)
  • Gaffer's tape or other strong tape
  • LED diffusion panel (optional)

This guide was first published on Nov 24, 2020. It was last updated on Jul 19, 2024.

This page (Overview) was last updated on Mar 08, 2024.

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