Monday, September 2, 2019

A Coin and Wallet Holder for Prius

About a month ago I was driving down the highway when a pickup just ahead and to the right of me slammed into the barrels at the start of a concrete barrier.  That spun him around and I swerved to the left, but the rear end of the truck caught the right side of my car and tore it up pretty badly.  The driver of the pickup suffered a minor injury when his airbag went off, but I came out unharmed and no airbags blew.

My car was a 2008 Audi TT convertible.  I really liked that car.  Unfortunately, it had a lot of years and miles on it so it wasn't worth much.  The body and most of the frame were made of aluminum.  That means you can't hammer out dents or bend the chassis straight.  Anything that is damaged has to be replaced, and that gets expensive in a hurry.  The result is that the repair costs would have exceeded the value of the car, so the insurance company totaled it, wrote me a check, and I had to find a replacement.

My poor car!

I had been planning to sell the TT at the end of this summer anyway, so my plans got moved up a little.  I replaced the TT with a Prius.  I chose the Prius over the available all-electric options mainly because of its ability to haul stuff, reliability (I had a 2007 Prius and it never needed fixing), and low operating cost.  My next car will be electric, after the wheels fall off this Prius.

Yes, it's a big change!  The two cars are on opposite ends of the performance spectrum, but now I'm getting 60+ mpg, which is pretty satisfying in a different way.  I went for the "limited" version so I'd get heated seats and steering wheel, and a decent audio system.  It's also got adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning/assist, blind spot warning, and even parallel parking assist.  It also has a nice big 11" display for the GPS that I can read without glasses.  It's a huge improvement over the 2007 base model Prius I used to own.

New Car, New Problem

I hate sitting on my wallet, and I hate having to dig in my pockets for coins when I order coffee at a drive-thru, so I needed a place to put my wallet and coins when I drive.  The most obvious place in the Prius is the center console that has a tray that sort of works, but it's pretty easy to spill the tray inside the console, and then you have to dig all the coins out from the dark abyss that is the console's interior.  As the cowboy said in the Big Lebowski, it's "Darker than a black steer's tuchas on a moonless prairie night."

This is the console with the tray full of coins and my wallet.  Yes, that's my wallet- it's made from polyester and kevlar sail cloth, not duct tape.  I chose it to be easy to spot in a dark bag or console in a car.
There's a pocket in the driver's door, but I wouldn't want to take a chance on my wallet falling out when I open or close the car door, and it doesn't seem like a good place for coins.

There are two cup holders up front, but I'd rather keep those available for drinks.

The glove box is too far to reach.

I decided to go with the center console but not the tray that was already in there.  I wanted the coins organized and easy to grab without having to move my wallet out of the way first.

I checked Thingiverse and Youmagine for other people's designs and came up with nothing, so I set about designing it myself.

Designing A Coin and Wallet Holder

Step 1- measure everything.  I looked up US coin specs and got the dimensions and bumped the diameters up by about 0.7 mm so the coins would very easily fit into their slots.  I also measured the tray in the console (130 mm wide) and my wallet.

Step 2- layout.  I wanted the coins stacked vertically so they'd stay put and I wanted to drop my wallet into a vertical slot so it wouldn't take up too much lateral space in the console.  Everything had to be easy to reach and remove, and I didn't want crud to accumulate in the bottom of the wallet slot, so I left it open.  The wallet hangs over the thin back edge of the holder, and I put in a wide enough slot that it can easily hold even George Costanza's wallet.  The coin slots are 40 mm deep, so they'll hold quite a bit of change.

A Fusion360 render of the coin and wallet holder.

Step 3- print it.  This is going to be in a hot car so no PLA!  I printed it in ABS, 15% infill density, 0.2 mm layers, and turned on support material for the tabs at the top.  

Printing on UMMD.  The image is one of a sequence captured at 2 minute intervals using my old cell phone camera to monitor the printing process.  I printed in fluorescent green so it will be very visible in the darkness of the console.
More coins than I'll ever need, but if I ever forget or lose my wallet, enough to get a sandwich or a couple gallons of gas.

When it finished printing I loaded it with about $8.50 in coins and tried it in the car.  You have to rotate it a little to get it past the console's top cover, but once it's in, it's in.

It fits with or without the original tray and holds about $8.50 in coins.

The Fusion360 CAD file for the coin and wallet holder is located here.  You can download and edit the file or just export an STL file to print it as-is.

Update- Already!

After using it for a couple short trips in the car, I found that unless I was very careful lifting the wallet out of the holder, the wallet tended to pinch the holder and lift the whole thing.  It would be easy to spill the coins doing that!  I don't want to have to be careful- I want to just grab the wallet when I get out of the car. 

I added a printed plastic loop to the bottom of the wallet slot to allow me to drop the wallet into the slot and have it lifted high enough that it was easy to grab without lifting the coin holder.

Printed loop added to the wallet slot to lift the wallet a little higher than the coins.

The loop printed in about 20 minutes.  I solvent welded it to the coin holder with a couple drops of acetone.  Perfect!

A couple drops of acetone weld the loop to the coin holder.

Now the wallet stands up above the coins, making it easier to take it back out when I get out of the car.

The wallet fits easily and doesn't interfere with closing the top of the console in the car.
Putting it in this way risks spilling coins if you carelessly remove objects from the console.

Putting it in this way protects the coins from spilling.  They're still easy to take out when you want by sliding the coin holder back a little.

Wait a Minute!

After I designed and printed the coin and wallet holder, it occurred to me that there's no good place to put my sunglasses in the Prius.  Hmmmm.  As we used to say in high school drafting class, "back to the drawing board!"

I'll make another post when I come up with something.

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