Coin Sorter Is Elegant And Beautiful

Counting change is a great way to teach children about mathematics and money, but it grows tiresome for those of us that have passed the first grade. Thus, a machine should the job, as [Daniele Tartaglia] demonstrates.

A vibrating motor is used to shake a hopper full of coins, letting them fall through a feeder slot into the machine at a steady rate. They then go through a size-based sorter, which flicks the coins into a different channel depending on their physical dimensions. The coins are counted via infrared sensors wired up to an Arduino, and then pass through a rather lovely maze on their way down to sorting bins at the bottom of the machine.

It’s a tidy build, and a great thing to have if you regularly find yourself needing to count change. We haven’t seen too many coin counters before, but we have seen a laundromat given an overhaul with some hacker skills. Video after the break.

32 thoughts on “Coin Sorter Is Elegant And Beautiful

  1. The roller coaster mid-part is visually interesting (which is likely the point of this project) but it doesn’t add to the functionality. Some minor improvements : use a hinged door so that no screw driver is needed to recover the coins. When sorting, you’ll probably want to know as well how many coins are in each bin.
    Some more nit-picking: The €-sign should be placed in front of the amount.

    1. I can understand why you want the currency symbol before the amount, but from a pure grammar standpoint it should be after in practically all languages. (Since one doesn’t say, “Dollars 25 and 50 cent.”)

      One of the main reasons it is written before the amount has to do with how transactions used to be made back in the day. Putting the currency symbol ahead of the number meant that whoever one gave the check to couldn’t add a digit in front of the number and make it larger. (putting digits behind the number is pointless, since the decimal point is written already and any amount after cents is usually disregarded.) Some checks even used square boxes for the digits where each box only contain 1 digit for the check to be valid and the decimal point were as well already written.

      Though, the same system were typically used in ledgers as well for the same reason, so I guess people just got used to that way of writing. So that is has managed to become a standard of sorts in some places isn’t particularly surprising.

      But logically speaking, they could have just chosen to write any non digit instead to cap off the higher side, like an X, but they didn’t.

      1. And if you write currencies with the three letter codes, you write “100USD” or “25GBP” etc.

        Love the sorter, though wish some of the sorting logic was in the middle of the “rollercoaster” section to make that section functional as well as awesome.

        Could be great to encourage kids to save!

          1. Convince the company I rent from to not charge “processing fees” for digital payments. Checks and money orders have no fees, and if they accept payment by credit or debit card (depend on which apartment complex) they charge extra.

            And since my bank has free checks, it’s worth the little extra time.

    2. The rollercoaster part is more elaborate than it needs to be, but it does add to the functionality:
      It swaps the positions of 50 ct and 1 € coins as well as the positions of 5 ct and 10 ct coins.

      The diameter of 50 ct coins and 5 ct coins is larger than the diameter of 1 € coins and 10 ct coins respectively.
      This can be seen in the labels at the top of the machine, since the holes for the coins get smaller from left to right.

      However, the output columns are sorted by value and not by size.

  2. “It’s a tidy build” except for one thing: that LCD display hole! It’s too big, and that’s a common mistake made by hobbyists. It really annoys me. Especially in projects like this, which took considerable amount of time and work.
    The hole should be big enough to leave 1-2mm margin around the dot matrices on the LCD screen and cover everything else, including the metal frame of the LCD.

    1. Look a bit more closely.

      And since you couldn’t be bothered the first time here’s the traditional HAD response: you are wrong because there’s a black bezel around the LCD. Please look twice next time before posting an idiotic comment.

      1. I am partially blind. But not THAT blind. That “bezel” is the metal frame/bracket that holds the display assembly to the PCB. It should be hidden, instead there is a huge hole cut in the panel to fit it. You can see that at 6:41. This part of the LCD should be hidden behind the front panel, so the PCB won’t get damaged by being accidentally hit. Also making the hole smaller makes it look better and hides the LEDs that illuminate it.

        I have somewhere a project enclosure I bought few years back that includes a 16×2 LCD hole with some mounting posts molded too, and it hides the metal frame of the LCD, and is just big enough to show all characters. This is the way it’s meant to be done and should be done.

        1. Who says the bezel must be hidden?

          Personally I think recessed displays look like crap and would rather them be flush. The “might get damaged” argument is also weak.

          Your complaints can be solved by a thin face plate that’ll both protect the panel and be printed so that the hideous metal bezel is covered.

          Or just use a black case so the bezel blends in, but no doubt you’ll find something else trivial to complain about.

    2. Exactly. I have not see a commercial product that expose the metal frame. This also include those 5510 LCD where you *want* to have a narrower window to cover the 4 bright LED backlights.

      It is about observation skills of how things are intended to be.

      1. This is not a commercial product, and it’s easily solved by a decal (laminated printout for the hobbyist).

        Much complaining about nothing, considering the original comment was complaining about a non-existent gap (followed by a bit of “oh, now I’ve a new complaint”). HAD at it’s usual.

  3. Live the workmanship and whimsy in this – kudos to the creator!

    One suggestion: paint the board behind the coin ‘maze’ white or some other very light color: the natural wood background is close enough in color to the coins I had trouble following the action on a cellphone screen.

  4. I like this project but it can be simplified by feeding the coins through a single slot and then letting them roll down a J-curve ramp. Then you can place a set of target slots across from the bottom of the J-curve to receive the coins. A J-curve works because each coin type will exit the J-Curve at it’s own unique angle, corresponding to each coin’s slot..

  5. Beautifully made. That was a ton of work. I totally enjoyed watching the process. I don’t think I would undertake it but I sure enjoyed all your hard work. I hate paying to exchange my loose change when I’ve accumulated enough and end up hand rolling it. Something like this would surely come in handy. Thanks for sharing.

  6. A visually appealing, carefully made, multi-layer analog sort “circuit” – what’s not to like? It’s also nice to see a project that doesn’t make a 3-D printer and laser cutter mandatory* which discourages the beginner – rarer and rare these days.

    Needs to be able to reject the odd button/washer/gasket that gets into the coin jar though…

    *The tracks could be cut with a hobby knife if done carefully.

  7. It bothers me to see people “nitpicking” such an elaborate incredible creation such as this when I would bet money most of you couldn’t creat anything close to this complexity. This requires so many forms of knowledge and skill so few possess these days. I say, Respect to the creator! While SOME different input and opinions help a creator grow with new and better ideas, most of you are just being d!€£$ .. That is all

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