Introduction: Spinning Wheel Business Card (or Mother's Day Card!)

Picture of Spinning Wheel Business Card (or Mother's Day Card!)

With three layers of materials and a little thinking you can create a spinning wheel card that fits almost any need. I wanted a unique way to describe what I do for my business card, but quickly realized I could use the same format to create a fun and interesting card to describe my amazing mother!

For a head-start, I've included the Adobe Illustrator file, but any vector drawing program has what you need to create this project to your own specifications.

The materials shown include a 2mm single-ply bamboo and a slightly thinner press board. 2mm is the upper limit on thickness in my opinion, but much thinner and it begins to feel fragile. Obviously with modifications it could be made out of many different materials. It could also be made using less "high tech" methods.

If you like this design, please consider voting for it in the Mind For Design contest (above) as well!

Step 1: Creating the Artwork

Picture of Creating the Artwork

If you have Adobe Illustrator, the file attached will give you a head start on your own creation. I start by creating a rectangle the the size I want-in this case 2" x 3.5" for a business card. Then I design the top layer. I Add each layer's elements on one at a time until I have an image that looks like the one above.

Step 2: Creating the Wheel & Adding Words

Picture of Creating the Wheel & Adding Words

Your wheel doesn't have to be a gear. Actually, a shape with less bumps turns a bit more freely, but I like the gears. There are many ways to make gears, but I used an online tool called Gear Template Generator. It creates a file that needs a bit of cleaning up, but the one I've included in my file is ready to go.

Add words to the wheel by creating a word box and typing your first word in to the oval so it fits neatly.

Select the word, and rotate it 45 degrees to create a new open space on your wheel to type your next word. Of course, if you want less than 8 words, divide 360 degrees by the number of words you have to find the degrees you should rotate your words.

Each time you add a word, select all the previous words and rotate them together.

Step 3: Separating the Layers

Picture of Separating the Layers

Once you are satisfied with your design and you've added the words to your wheel, Select everything and copy it to two new layers.

Label each layer so you can easily tell them apart. I call mine Top, Middle and Bottom.

Starting with the top layer, delete all components of the design that don't relate to that layer. Turn off all other layers so you can focus on just that one.

Once you've carefully removed all lines and graphics that don't relate to a specific layer, combine the layers and see how they line up.

Step 4: Define Your Lines

Picture of Define Your Lines

For our laser cutter vector lines are defined by a line width of .1pt. All other lines will be etched or rastered. Make sure you know how to do this on your machine, and have defined your lines the way you want them. Complex designs can get confusing. In the example image above, the little horizontal line will be rastered, but all others will be cut lines.

Step 5: Cut and Assemble

Picture of Cut and Assemble

Cut the parts according to the material and machine you have. If using a single-ply material like the bamboo, make sure one layer is cut with the grain running opposite to the other pieces to help strengthen it.

Once you have your parts, do a quick test fit by layering them together. If everything looks good, use a sparing quantity of quick-setting glue to assemble, starting with the bottom. The graphic above should help you avoid the major pitfalls. Any glue on the wheel will stop it from spinning, so be very careful around that area. Also, be sure to not press down too hard when assembling or the wheel may be overly tight and hard to turn.

Step 6: Innovate!

Picture of Innovate!

The more you think about it, the more ideas will come to you. For example, I realized with a few changes, I could make a card with writing on the front AND back. The file for that is above. Let this serve as inspiration for your own enhancements.

Now go forth and create!


Bomberkid made it! (author)2015-06-10

So I thought I could be cheap and quick by making this out of foamcore. I still glued it together using Gorilla Glue.

Suffice to say it didn't come out looking and working the best but my mom absolutely loves any handmade gift so the quality didn't matter at all. These are the (obvious) lessons I learned:

- Yeah, the wheel shouldn't be be foamcore as well since it's the same thickness as the cover and bottom making it hard to spin. I'd probably use a cardboard sheet for the wheel since that would be thinner.

- I couldn't find my exacto knife so I used scissors to cut the foamcore. If you got the time use an exacto knife. Actually, if you want to save time use an exacto knife.

Bomberkid (author)Bomberkid2015-06-10

It also comes out looking like a brick so you could scale the whole thing up a bit to make a bigger card. :P

dstmartinmaker (author)Bomberkid2015-06-10

Thanks for sharing! I'm stoked you tried it!

htetlwin (author)2015-06-04

Hi, very nice idea. Which type of laser cutter do you use?

dstmartinmaker (author)2015-05-08

Consider voting for this design above! The design is so easy to modify we've used it in several applications already, including as a gift, an award and as a business card!

amberrayh (author)2015-04-30

This is adorable! Very tempted to make one for mom. Thanks for sharing!

dstmartinmaker (author)amberrayh2015-04-30

Thank you! You can do so much with the idea once you start thinking this way.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am a lifelong maker and artist with 15 years experience teaching students to make things better for themselves. I teach at Mark Day School ... More »
More by dstmartinmaker:Material Fastener for Laser CutterLaser Cut a Notched Box with BoxMakerA better Hold-Down Foot for your Scroll Saw
Add instructable to: