QR Code 3D Printed Business Cards

Created some 3D printed business cards using Autodesk Inventor.  I had the designs printed at Shapeways using: Full Color Sandstone, Strong Flexible Plastic, Frosted Detail Plastic.  Some turned out better than others:

I had all kinds of problems designing these cards:

– Text can be easily aligned in Inkscape and Adobe Illustrator but it’s not that easy in Autodesk Inventor.  Sizing/alignment are a struggle.

– Adding the QR code was surprisingly easy.  The QR code design can be exported from Adobe Illustrator into a format that Inventor can read.  Then its a matter of resizing and alignment.

– Had to use a different program to create the WRL file to print the full color sandstone.  Create the design fine in Inventor, then import the file into Autodesk Maya, then export to WRL.  Took me hours to figure out how to get the output file in color.

As always there are always observations and concerns:

– The yellow card with blue text is UGLY!  Wow, didn’t look that bad in the design file, but some things will surprise you.

– Missing details on the full color sandstone:  I’m not sure what I did different in the black and white sandstone cards, but they are missing the colon, periods and the dot on all the ‘i’s.  I reviewed the WRL file I uploaded and it has the details but the file on Shapeways is missing them.  I’m guessing that there is a minimum detail size and in the processing for printing that they are edited out.

– All the cards are 3mm Thick.  I would have preferred them to be thinner, but Shapeways doesn’t give me the option to print in full color sandstone if it’s not at least 3mm.

Besides for the ugly business card, I learned a lot creating these cards.  The file requirements for full color sandstone were interesting.  How the different material types work.  I would have preferred to make the cards thinner, but there are some things that cant be changed.

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4 Responses to QR Code 3D Printed Business Cards

  1. Pete says:

    Hi James, I commented about your business card and said I had been printing a similar design and offered to show you once completed.I put my blog in my contact info, so feel free to visit if you still wanted to check it out. My card did not come out as clean as yours did, I had a lot of leaked wax issues but was still a fun experience overall.

    • Hey, Pete. Thanks, I took a look at your blog over the weekend. The FUD business card looks good! I laughed out loud when I saw you submerged the cards in a fishbowl. Good luck with your designs.

  2. Yen says:

    Hi James! I want to add a QR code to my metal namecard, and have it engraved instead of printed in black ink on the metal… but I’m scared simply engraving it would make it too light (in color) to be scanned! Would you have any experience in that? :)

    • Hello, Yen. Thank you for your comments. I have in the past laser engraved a QR code on metal business cards but I was asked not to post pictures of that on my blog. I found that it does work but it isn’t easy to get the QR code reading app (I use my phone) to read the QR Code due to light reflections but if I held the card at an angle it worked. Half of the fun and the pain of laser cutting/engraving/3D printing is trying new things. If its not too expensive, give it a try and let me know how it works out.

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