Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab
Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab

Author Archive

Coin sorter-3D modeling&printing

Part 1: in-class exercises


Illini castle


Added antennas and wings

3. 3D scanning:

My face (with cone hat)

Part 2: Coin sorter (3D printed part)


I saw my friend having problem with coins where he spends long time searching for quarters from piles of coins to do his laundry. I decided to make him a gift.

My friend can make better use of his time if coins are sorted.

Initial sketch:

Coins will be sorted by going through rotary sorter.
Assembly sketch.

I made 4 different parts in this project: Coin inserter, rotary sorter, body, and coin collectors for each types of coins.


1. Coin inserter

Coin inserter drawing with dimensions.
3D modeling with TinkerCAD.
Finish design

2. Rotary sorter

Rotary sorter drawing with dimensions.
3D modeling with TinkerCAD

3. Coin collectors

Coin collectors drawing with dimensions.
3D modeling with TinkerCAD

4. Body

Body drawing with dimensions.
3D modeling with TinkerCAD


Assembly order
Added collectors
Added rotary sorter
Added coin insertor and finish

Final design:

coin sorter with coins
top view
side view

Finish Product:



Like always initial planning was crucial for this project. Because 3d printing actually take a very long time, I couldn’t take a chance to fail and go for second try. I triple check dimensions and fitting of each parts before I start printing.

Accounting for tolerance

During printing process, I encounter few surprises.


Cost of 3D printing was higher than I expected. I estimated my cost around $5, but actual cost of printing was around $20.


Time duration of 3D printing is surprisingly long. Without any failure, it took over 13 hours.

3.Availbiltiy and reliability of 3D printer:

I visited Fab lab and makerlab in business building. It seems like half of the 3D printer were broken or going through repair. I was lucky that I arrived early and printer was available, but I can imagine people not finishing their project because they couldn’t find available printer.

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Eagle-Pop up card(Paper Circuit)

1.Basic paper circuit

Simple circuit with components such as copper tape, LED, and battery.
LED light up when switch is close

2.Picture with 2 LEDs

3 LEDs are hidden under the top part of paper
When “success” is press, “Genius” show up

3.Pop up card with 3 or more LEDs:

3.1.Design stage:

Initial sketch:

Original sketch where I planned to use 4 LEDs: 2 for the eyes and the other 2 for the wings

Circuit diagram:

Utilize both parallel and series connection. 100 ohm resistance is needed since white LEDs have bigger effective resistance compare to orange LEDs.

3.2.Build process:

Located 2 LEDs for the eyes and combing face with the body
Added colors to face and body
Added cloud
Decided to put 2 LEDs on the cloud instead each wings
Finalized circuit design and added switch

3.3.Finish product:

When card is close
Front view when switch is open
Front view when switch is close
Side view when switch is open
Side view when switch is close


To be honest this was a very hard project compare to first two project in the semester. It felt like it was two different projects: creating 3-d object and creating copper tape circuit.

Challenge 1: pop up card

I never made pop up card nor 3-d object before (although I have some experience on 3-d modeling in computer), so it required me to do some additional research and practices. Good initial planning was crucial for this project since I have to consider other part of project; adding copper tape circuit to pop up card.

Challenge 2: copper tape

Although it was nice that using copper tape did not require any soldering and wiring was fairly clean, only able to use one side of tape was a huge caveat. In addition, reliable connection was not always guaranteed when it comes to copper tape. A lot of people including myself were having battery connection issue where people have to press on the switch with some force.

Final thought:

So copper tape was not a magical tool that I thought it would be. It was versatile in some sense but there are certainly a limitation.

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Hornet-Vinyl sticker


Mixture of two different bug!

2.Logo decal

Simplified Fanta logo

Layer separation:

Finish product & reflection:

Many rooms for improvement…

As you can see, I made many error during my attempt. However, it gave me chance to practice with transfer tape and sticker cutter. After enough practice, I decided to move on to grand finale: my own multi layer sticker.

3.Multi Layered:

I decided to design my own sticker from scratch. Objective was to make unique sticker that I can stick it on front of my laptop. Main character for this project is my personal favorite insect: bee.

3.1.Design stage

Initial sketch:


Final design:

Made change on colors from original design where new colors are close representation of colors available in fab lab.

3.2.Building process

Tools and material used:

Sticker cutter and 5 different colors of vinyl sticker

Layer separation:

1st layer
Added 2nd layer
Added 3rd layer
Added 4th layer
Added final layer

3.3.Finish product & Reflection:

BAM! First test on my laptop

Build process went smoothly. I often forget about importance of initial planning and design and tend to jump straight into building soon as possible. However, I spend extra time on designing stage for this project and figured out layer choice that made implementation easier. Only regret is that I forgot to plan beyond finishing project where I should of took more picture for blog post (Which made me go back to Fab lab just to take picture).

People have been asking me that where I bought the sticker and I can proudly say I made it in the Fab lab.

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Buster (Laser name tag)

For the laser name tag assignment, I made a name tag for my friend’s dog. I thought it would be more practical this way, and I can show off to my friend.

Design Planning:

As a initial design, I thought about making name tag that look something like this:

However, these design were too common to find and too simple. I wanted to make something unique and would be hard to make without help of machine. As a result I came up with new design.

New name tag design:

Although it didn’t turn out to be scary as I wanted, I decided to stick with it.

polishing and update:

As first design as reference, I made line more smoother and add friend’s number. (It is blurr out due to privacy issue)

Final design:

image for raster

Silhouette for vector (by tracing out the outline)

In the final design, I add ring on the top.

Alright, now let’s move on to building process.

Build Process & finish product:

I decided to use two tone acrylic plastic since etching wood did not show the color(tone) well.

First attempt:

Although I used the recommended setting for 1/8inch acrylic, laser did not etch deep enough. Thankfully, one of the TA helped me to find the right setting.

Second attempt and finish product:

Alright! Time to test on my friend’s dog.


when I brought my newly made name tag to my friend with a big hope, it did not work out as I planned. Mainly because my name tag was too big. I designed it to be 3×3 inches (although it might look bigger in the above picture since my hand is pretty small) where I should of made it half of the size. It’s not a big deal in this case since shrinking and reprinting are easy task, but I understand that situation might be different in the real world. Triers and errors would not be the most efficient method, thus I will be more considerable in the planning stage next time.

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Smart table (story boarding)

I choose topic 1 which is about restaurant smart table. Main goal of this story boarding is to inform audience about few functionality of smart table, such as food recommendation, ingredient analysis, and user interaction through voice and table screen.

Problem arise because many people are food sensitive and waiter do not always know everything about their menu. Main character in my story board have fruit allergy and he wasn’t sure about food content in the menu. Smart table was able to provide accurate information about the food, ingredient and recommended dish base on condition of the main character.

Although I think the idea is not so practical after all, it was a fun idea to think about since everything is becoming “smart” these day: smart phone, smart TV, smart refrigerator, smart watch, and so on.

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