Written by 6:27 pm 3D Printing

How to 3D Model and Print Challenge Coins

As a big Star Wars fan, I recently attended Star Wars Celebration Europe and had a blast. It had everything a Star Wars convention should have, from cosplay to big reveals and exclusive merch. As a cosplayer myself, I wanted to create some of my own branded merch or swag to give away.

Over the years, I’ve collected stickers, patches, coins, poker chips, and all kinds of cool cosplayer and 501st trooper branded swag. So, I decided to make some challenge coins that collectors would love. A coin is something that’s easy to design and print, so I thought, why not? I had only three days before the con, but with some basic Adobe Illustrator and Fusion 360 skills, a 3D printer, and some Rub N Buff, I was ready to go.

Stuff you’ll need:

  • Adobe Illustrator and Fusion 360 software (or equivalent)
  • Resin 3D printer (I use the Elegoo Saturn)
  • Wash and Cure Station (I use the Elegoo Mercury X)
  • Sandpaper
  • Rub N Buff or similar material
  • Foam Paintbrush

Step 1

Design your coin in Adobe Illustrator, or whatever your go-to vector graphic design software is.

Adobe Illustrator with copy that says MADE BY AP highlighted.

Whenever you’re satisfied with the design, convert all your text and art into OUTLINES. Just select, right click and hit “Create Outline”

Export the file as a DXF. I didn’t change any of the export settings.

Step 2

Open up Fusion 360 (or your go-to 3D design program.

Import your DFX file by going to Insert > Insert DXF then select your plan, select your file and presto.

Repeat for the other side.

Step 3

Create a coin body by drawing a circle over the two DXF images.

Step 4

Extrude the circle from two sides and set each side to ½ of the total width of the coin. So if you have a 3mm coin, you’ll enter in 1.5mm for each side.

Profile view of a circle in Fusion 360 showing how to extrude from both sides.

Step 5

Starting with the front, select all the text and images that you want to be raised on the coin. If you’re not able to individually select the letters and art, go back to Illustrator and create outlines and resave.

A circle with the text MADE BY AP highlighted in blue

Select Extrude and set whatever distance you’d like, including the half thickness of the coin you set previously. For example, if you want a 1mm extrusion on the coin, then you’ll set the distance to 2.5mm (1.5mm for the ½ thickness of the coin, and 1mm for the actual text extrusion).

A gray circle with the text MADE BY AP raised out from the center

Step 6

Repeat on the bottom of the coin, using a negative number for the extrusion since you’re extruding downwards. For example, if you want a 1mm extrusion on the back side of the coin, you’ll set the distance to -2.5mm.

The back side of the coin, showing the Death Star and text in aurabesh.

Step 7

Save and export the file as an STL so you can slice it in your favorite slicing program.

Step 8

3D print using a resin printer or a very high-resolution FDM (if that’s a real thing). Clean, cure and remove any nubs from the supports.

Step 9

Since I printed these in black resin I chose not to prime or put a base coat on. Use a foam brush to apply a small amount of Rub N Buff to the coin, swiping gently. Don’t worry about making it perfect – the goal is to give the coins a weathered appearance.

Step 10

Give away your new challenge coins as swag!

That’s it! With some basic design skills and a 3D printer, you can create your own custom challenge coins for cosplay, conventions, or other events. Enjoy.