Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Patch Display - Idea to Actual Product!

When the patches that I had earned arrived, I wanted to proudly display them where I could see them daily. I didn’t want to sew them onto something risking damaging them, having them get dirty, or going through the wash. Each patch is a piece of art. They are incredibly detailed. Even more important is the meaning each patch holds for the maker.

Since I have always been fascinated with the trail map of skills, my initial idea was a patch holder that was sort of like the skill poster. I hand cut each hexagon and posted it as a project. 

From there I received feedback from the DIY Staff on my prototype. Several excellent points were brought up including this size of the initial prototype and the number of skills available on increasing. After playing with patches on the initial design, an improved design was born. 


My favorite thing about this design was that as one Patch Display was filled up, another could be added since the displays interlock. This design gave the makers many arrangement options when hanging their Patch Displays. 

This introduced a small problem to be solved. There needed to be an easy way to mark where to place the nail when adding additional displays. The nail hole also needed to be modified so that it would discourage tilting depending on how the patches were inserted into the display. I added a small hexagon in the base layer of each patch Display to solve this problem. The hanging cut out will then be covered by a patch.

Our local library’s Fab Lab had just added a laser cutter to their inventory, but in order to laser cut it, I needed my idea in digital format. I explored various programs on my own, with no luck getting the measurements exact. Finally I scheduled some Tech Time with Pete and Mike at the Fayetteville, Fab Lab. With their assistance the Patch Display was transferred into a digital format using SolidWorks. I was then able to laser cut the Patch Display using their Full Spectrum Hobby Laser Cutter.

The Patch Display is composed of two pieces, a base and a top layer that are then adhered together.

Here they are drying.

Finished product, ready to mail. 

Here I have hung four patch displays together. This is just one possible way to configure them.



  1. Love this! How I can order this for my son's trail patches?

  2. Love this! How I can order this for my son's trail patches?

    1. They are currently only made for skill patches.

      You could check around the area where you are located at for a fab lab, most of the time they have laser cutters that you can use for free. If one is near you could laser cut your own made specifically for his patches.