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Instead of writing a couple of addresses, just cut them out. This way you can just send a piece of wood and your buddy won't mind that it doesn't literally say anything. The material speaks for itself. Besides, sending an old-fashioned message is what email and IM and text message and cell phones are for.

Step 1: Cut It Out!

Or burn it out. I grabbed the nearest stencil font I could and dumped in a couple of addresses in Illustrator. I then sent that over to a laser cutter and after a few tests with the material I cut out the whole thing. If you do this, it's important to reverse the stencil since the wood can get charred. I could've tried to clean it up a bit, but I like the burnt effect in there so I left it.

Step 2: Look Really Closely

Do people really click through the other images? I just wanted to highlight this macro photo and looking at the finished work doesn't "do" anything really. But it is fun to do.

Step 3: Stamp It and Hope*

I was hoping to talk to a postal employee about the postcard before I mailed it, but no such luck. The line was long so I went to the automated machine instead. A 63-cent debit from my card and I had a sticker for official stencil travel across the lower 48. Now to wait and see if it makes it.

Step 4: Success!

The postcard made it through, but not in one piece. Oddly enough, it split in a vertical line and not along the grain. I think that it was going through a curved mail sorter and couldn't make the turn.
<p>Great man and simple design :)</p>
Great job... ED!
here is why it cracked <br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.dailymotion.com/swf/1Ig0imgc956yg3Akj">http://www.dailymotion.com/swf/1Ig0imgc956yg3Akj</a><br/>
Darn .gov,they banned the content This is too much
In the UK it takes you down to the nearest 6 houses. However in the US I have no clue.
If you send something to 91344-3523, it will get to me. Nothing but the numbers (and postage) is needed. In the USA, the zip+4 (the "9-digit zip" narrows down to one particular address, generally. Very few exceptions.
You could always just mark it "Hand Cancel Only"
In Canada it usually narrows down to 2 or 4 buildings though sometimes they are unique addresses or whole streets .... A#A-#A# .... makes reverse lookup and address confirmation so much easier. Have you thought of adding a backing material to strengthen the wood card? Maybe add a do not fold lable?
Hopefully people will find this cool: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://acg.media.mit.edu/people/fry/zipdecode/">http://acg.media.mit.edu/people/fry/zipdecode/</a><br/><br/>So you can see how each digit of a zip code narrows down.<br/>
I've seen that before. It's cool up until you get to the last couple numbers when I wish it would show the boundaries of each code.
The Building i work in has its own post code. But i live in the UK so its irrelevant! HAHA"!
Thats good! I am curious to see where it cracked. If you really wanted to experiment, you could make a replica(s) of it, and try to snap it while using a gauge to see how much force it took. Then you can see if making it thicker, or out of different materials helps.
I finally got some pictures of it and updated the instructable to include them in a new step. The wood was some scrap at Squid Labs and I doubt that the same piece is still there to test. I'm definitely interested in looking at some more materials in the near future.
I think it should make it... Any non-standard "packages" are done by people, not machines. :-) (People read all the mail addr., but computers scan envelopes)
Well, it's been three business days so far and it's not there yet. I've heard that unusual packages can take longer, though.
UPDATE: It made it! It split down the middle, top to bottom, but it was placed in a plastic bag and after four business days of travel it got to my friend in two pieces. I'm sure that masonite or acrylic would've made it in one piece, but I was really attached to the grain of the wood. I'll put up some pics when I get 'em.
In the US, a Zip Code can include almost all of a small city, so you're looking at at least several hundred homes. However, US zip codes also have a second part, which narrows things down a lot, but no one knows or cares what theirs is.
Right. I used to live in a town of 30,000 and it had one zip code. In Brooklyn, with tons more people, this should narrow it down to a neighborhood, I'd guess.
yeah, it's in williamsburg
Not quite. My buddy lives in Red Hook.
Isn't Williamsburg 11211?
Nope. I know that zip code narrows it down, but I have no clue by how much.
is that sullivan st?

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Bio: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at supamoto.co. You'll like it.
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