Assemble a Super Mario Brothers Coin Block Lamp

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Picture of Assemble a Super Mario Brothers Coin Block Lamp
UPDATE: A number of steps have changed, since we've started getting professionally produced circuit boards and screen-printing the design on the insides of the box. All the old photos are still here for reference purposes.

Ah, the classic Super Mario coin block. So tantalizing with its mysterious question mark - just a gentle bump with your fist will reveal its unknown contents. Will it be a lowly coin, the rare vine, or perhaps a power up? If only such a thing existed in real life...


OK, so it doesn't actually spew coins and mushrooms, but it does light up and play some sounds that are sure to make you smile.

This Instructable assumes you've bought one of the kits for sale on Etsy. Here's what it will contain:
- 6 yellow acrylic laser-cut exterior pieces
- 4 white acrylic laser-cut interior pieces
- a number of black "shadow" elements for the interior
- custom printed circuit board
- 4"x4" touch sensor plate
- ATTiny85 microcontroller
- 10 extremely bright LEDs
- 10 68-ohm resistors
- 2 NPN transistors
- an 8-ohm speaker
- 2 100-ohm resistors
- 1 10M-ohm resistor
- 5v USB wall wart
- 12' two-prong extension cord

You're going to need some tools and supplies to get this build done:
- a soldering iron and some solder
- a hot glue gun (preferred) or some double-stick tape
- superglue - the brush kind is best
- a pair of diagonal cutters or wire cutters
- a wire stripper or a knife
- a few short pieces of wire
- masking tape (optional)
- spring clamps (optional)
- a vise for holding things in place while you work (optional)
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Gadarq5 months ago

could you please share the source code?

alloyhuman1 year ago
Rly, it's $10,000 lol wit?
I accidentaly spammed this im sssooooo sorry >.<
mmatt22 years ago
This is not the original circuit board you have pictured at the beginning of your instructions. The one I have and the one you originally pictured is copper. I need to know how to assemble the copper board. This one is completely different than the one posted above. I have been waiting nearly a month for an answer....
bduxbury (author)  mmatt22 years ago
Hey there, did you manage to figure this out? I can try to scrounge up the old photos if you still need them. Feel free to email me at 8bitlit at gmail dot com if you need help!
ultimac2 years ago
When I was soldering in the resistors at the top and bottom of the board, I found it very difficult to not get solder in the hole next to them where the LED would go. I might suggest spacing these out just a little bit more to avoid this issue.
ultimac2 years ago
You say that they are oriented differently but the picture shows that they are oriented in the same direction. I followed the picture.
Dave5472 years ago
I really want to make this but I don't have the parts }:
So uhhhh....when are you going to restock so I can give this a go?! This looks awesome and fun to do.
bduxbury (author)  beyondrandom2 years ago
We're out of stock right now, but we expect to have more assembled lamps available around Christmas. Send me a quick note at if you'd like to be notified when they're available.
g dude2 years ago
you took the kit off of etsy how do i buy it.
bduxbury (author)  g dude2 years ago
We are currently out of stock, but we're hoping to have more assembled lamps in time for Christmas. If you'd like to be notified when they're available, please send me a quick email at Thanks!
aguerra42 years ago
I just finished putting the lamp together, it was definitely a fun experience!
But the lamp is only making the "coin" sound when I turn it on and off, as oppose as the lamp on the video which makes the "1-up" sound when its turned off. Any particular reason as to why?
bduxbury (author)  aguerra42 years ago
It only plays the 1-UP sound on every 8th touch.
jeong57282 years ago
Yellow and white acrylic composition question mark could you please?
wuulf2 years ago
Is the PDF download broken or does it only not like me to be downloaded?
bduxbury (author)  wuulf2 years ago
Worked for me when I tried it.
super8ben2 years ago
Hey! This is Ben, whom you met at the recent Maker Faire in San Mateo. I have finished putting together the electronics portion, yet nothing seems to happen when I test it with the wall plug. I've checked over it several times, and was wondering if there was a chance you could give me a little advice or something along those lines. Thanks again.
jc2692 years ago
Where did you/ how did you make the acrylic pieces that have the question mark on it? Did you have it manufactured somewhere?
bduxbury (author)  jc2692 years ago
We screen print the question mark on them and then lasercut them into the dovetail-joint design so the box can be put together.
jc269 bduxbury2 years ago
Sounds intense. Is there a video of a similar process I can view somewhere (such as youtube) so I can get a better understanding with a visual.
so i can make this from scratch if i gather my own parts yes ? and it will be cheaper ?
bduxbury (author)  curious youth2 years ago
You certainly can put this together from parts you find yourself. It probably won't be too much cheaper, since we're buying our parts in bulk. Plus, you won't have a PCB, so you'll be stuck wiring it up on perfboard.

But if you do build one, let us know!
nitehawk3372 years ago
Got it today and the boy (9yr old) and I put it all together. One thing - it looks like you redid the board layout compared to the directions. All the pics and layout diagrams are incorrect in the instructions. On the upside, I got to explain to him how to read a schematic, follow the traces on a dual layer board, and teach him how to desolder a resistor when one isn't quite paying attention that the instructions are wrong :-) Also... VERY cool kit, and the silkscreened sides are done really well.
IF the lamp gets warm enough the hot glue could let go. This could allow the power supply to touch the plate giving you a shock.
Heat shrink on the prongs/wires would prevent them from touching anything. Adding Silicon adhesive prevents anything from moving & adds a second layer of safety. I sometimes work on "one of" props for movies so I speak from experience. Better safe than sorry !!
bduxbury (author)  Lectric Wizard3 years ago
The only thing in the lamp that could get hot at all is the power supply, but I don't think that it could get hot enough to activate the hot glue, considering it has a plastic case to separate the outside from anything inside that could be generating heat. (The lamp itself is 100% leds, so it should run pretty cool.)

Even if the power supply touched the plate (which would be hard, since it's glued conductive-side down), the plate is completely shielded by 3mm of acrylic. You're never in direct contact with any part electrically connected to the lamp's electronics, and as long as 60KV doesn't suddenly show up inside the lamp, you're probably safe.

I agree that some heat shrink or other insulation would improve the build, but mostly just by guaranteeing there's no incidental shorting that would destroy the lamp.
Also as soon as you soldered the wires to the adaptor you modified it & the UL cert. is void. Why not just use it as normal & run the low voltage to the lamp ?? Safer & simpler... Cheer !
I have to agree with Ironsmiter, you NEED to put heat shrink on the prongs of the adaptor. especially since you hot glued (melts when it gets warm...) on the back of your touch plate ! I would use silicone to attach the parts & cover the prongs with it too.
IF you're selling it you might want to check into the National Electrical Code. I believe anything using ac power HAS to be UL certified in the US & CSA certified in Canada. Could lead to a whole lot of trouble if someone got hurt or killed...
Otherwise, good instructable, good pix & easy to follow. Cheers!
bduxbury (author)  Lectric Wizard3 years ago
I don't understand how heat shrink on the adapter prongs would have any effect on the hot glue on the other side of the touch sensor.

You're right, it is probably worth looking into the electrical code. Right now, we're not directly using AC power, the adapter is. I would hope since it's unmodified that we retain some aspect of the UL certification the adapter does.
ironsmiter3 years ago
very VERY worried about the power supply.

thinking it would be MUCH better to simply de-case the power adapter, solder the power cord and 5V/gnd wires directly, then re-case.

Or, swing by the nearest place that sells cell phones, and grab a 5V mini/micro usb charger, delete the usb plug, and wire to the board.

At the VERY LEAST, include 2 pieces of heat shrink tubing in the kit, a couple inches long, to cover those plug prongs and the solder joint?
AWESOME idea, but needs "polish" to be safe enough to sell the kit.
Already at $55 plus $12-30 shipping. what's an extra $0.50 compared to the huge amount of added safety?
bduxbury (author)  ironsmiter3 years ago
I would be all for decasing the power adapter, but I've actually tried that, and it's kind of a pain. There's a screw holding it together that uses one of those non-removable slots, and while you can drill it out, it makes that step relatively clumsy.

Heat shrink tubing, or even just electrical tape, would be a nice to have addition.
tinker2343 years ago
nice job i wonder with a touch button and some leds i could make a simple cirruct and punch to turn on and off and painted arclyic for the side s
bduxbury (author)  tinker2343 years ago
The bottom is already a touch button and it is lit with LEDs. We are switching to painted sides for future models, as we've figured out how to screen print the question mark design to save time and money.
screen printing will be NICE.
should drop production costs immensely.
either more profit, lower kit price(for higher volume), or both!

wish you the best of luck.
thanks i was wondering if i could make it with stuff in my shop

sounds like you want to go simple.
just turning on/off leds, without the sound effects.

As long as your power supply is matched to the switch, and leds...
FightCube3 years ago
It would be a good idea to cover the exposed AC connections with heat shrink tubing. Also don't use scissors to cut wire, this will dull and kink the razor sharp edge of the scissors very quickly.
gasLight3 years ago
a918bmxr3 years ago
outstanding idea!!!!!!
and a great instructable :)
good job!
c-face3 years ago
Love the idea, I hope I have time to build one!