Automatic Card Sorter

Hello, I am looking to construct an Automatic Card Sorter. It’s purpose; to scan a bulk amount of Magic the Gathering trading cards and sort them into designated boxes (First sorting cycle would be by color, then second by set name) so it would need to go through as many cycles as it needs to complete the sorted state

I have uploaded a quick sketchup of the structural parts to get a better visual representation.

Basically my current question is, what would I use to connect a stepper motor, and other low torque hobby motors to a component/module capable of running code, the code being scan, sort, and export the data to a database.


I should have mentioned this already, there is a very handy function on the phone app TCGPlayer that is capable of scanning(Identifying color and set) and can exporting said data to a database, I have an old samsung s7 edge that can be used for the scanner. (Can a phone be used to control a servo motor?)

From that point, I should be able to use a pre-written string of code to sort them based on set from the collected data, I am guessing this set of functions can be performed with a raspberry pi?

Many thanks for all thoughts and help,


Hi Jack,

Welcome to the forum :slightly_smiling_face:

Sounds like a complex project but one that could save a lot of time.

Sorting cards based on colour should be relatively simple using something like our PiicoDev Colour Sensor

Sorting based on the name will be a lot harder if the name has to be detected using camera image recognition. It also requires a lot more computing power, we recently uploaded a guide that includes a little bit of text recognition in it which might help to outline what’s involved.

As for turning the conveyor platform, you could use a stepper motor with a matching servo driver for very fine control of the rotation. A servo motor may also fit the bill and be somewhat simpler to implement.

In either case, you need to start with the force required and work your way backwards:

  • So you lock down how much power you will need and how fast you want to turn the conveyor
  • Then find a motor with enough grunt, then the spec the driver if it is needed to match
  • Finally size the power supply once everything else is locked in.
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