Do you like making things? Do you do it for money, or would like to? If so, you need a business card. These can be your best advertising, but we all know business cards are boring and get thrown away. I have toyed with plastic or etched stainless cards before - these are really cool, but cost a lot, and are not really distinctively "you".
Do you make goods out of leather? Then make a leather business card. Do you make handmade greeting cards? Then make your business card look like one of these! Even better, make one that is actually useful for whoever you're giving it to, so it CAN'T be thrown away. I'm into making electronics, so what better way to advertise my skills than an electronic business card. Here are two experimental "extreme" business cards that are almost impossible for someone to throw away - one in the form of a key ring torch and one card that actually dials me up by itself! This one has a computer inside with more processing power than took the first astronauts to the moon (No, I'm not kidding!), yet the main part costs less than 50 cents. I'm also working on one that plugs into a USB port on a computer so that people can email me directly from a link, or look at a portfolio of my work.
Even if these ideas don't grab you, maybe they'll fire your imagination to think how you could make a truly unique card that uses your skills and tells people how creative you are.
Step 1: The Torch
Firstly the torch. This is the easier of the two. Although you could use some PVC cards to enclose a hand-wired version (keep reading on to see this technique used in the "dialler"), making copies is much easier with a proper PCB. A tutorial on how to make a PCB is beyond the scope of this article, but if you haven't tried it before, it is a really good technique to be able to do and opens up a countless variety of electronic projects. Here is an instructable on a simple toner transfer PCB - personally I find more repeatable and professional results with the photographic method - couldn't find an instructable for this one, but there is plenty of info on the web - I use a very cheap 500W halogen light from the local hardware store to expose mine for a few minutes, and then develop, etch and tin. If there is enough demand, I might get some universal "torch" and "dialler" boards commercially made.
Anyway, assuming you can get a PCB made up, the file which I used is included below - this can be modified on a standard graphics package. If you can't read EPS files, then try the 300dpi bitmapped version included below as well. You can of course use a specialised PCB package, but I wanted an unusual cursive font on mine, so just hand-drew the design on a graphics package. This allowed me to incorporate my name into the actual circuit board - the electric current actually goes though my name! If you want to produce a reasonable batch, you will probably want to tile your image over the page after you have made your changes.