3D Printed Greeting Card

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Introduction: 3D Printed Greeting Card

About: Community Manager for Instructables and Tinkercad.

A few years ago, I came up with a design for a 3D printed greeting card for my husbands birthday. I've made them off and on since then and I finally want to share how I do it with you!

The design process is pretty basic, and to make it into a usable, open and close card, we are just going to use tulle during the printing process as the hinge.

Instructable 370

Supplies

  • 3D Printer - I'm using a Prusa MK3 with MMU2 and while you don't NEED a multimedia printer, it will make this easier, in the past I did this without one and while possible, it is more difficult.
  • Filament
  • Tulle - or other fabric you can 3D print on, I like tulle because it's thin and easy to use, also you'll either want the tulle in the color of the card or a contrasting one
  • Blue Painters Tape
  • Glue Stick - optional
  • Exacto Knife, Flush Cutter, or something to cut the excess tulle off
  • Paper - if you want to make an envelope

Any Amazon links are Amazon Associates Link.

The image here is the very first 3D printed card I made about 5 years ago. I think I've improved since then, don't you?

Valentine Card with Flower

Step 1: Test

To get started, you need the base of the card.

Now, I've already done tests so you don't have to, but I discovered that if you do 2 layers (or about 4mm thick card) on both sides before adding the tulle, and the cards are 1mm apart, the card opens and closes well without pulling at the tulle or being loose.

You could do some tests prints to see how it works with your printer.

With the attached test print, add the tulle halfway through, which should be after 2 layers. If the card is too loose or too tight to open and close, adjust accordingly.

I'll talk in a later step about slicing.

Step 2: Card Base

As mentioned, you need your card sides to be 1 mm apart. From there, the size is up to you. Originally I was doing cards that were 4" tall by 3" wide, but I recently increased it to 5" tall by 4" wide. You'll be limited on size based on your bed size.

A traditional A2 greeting card size is 4.25" x 5.5" so that could be a good size to do if your bed is big enough as it will be a standard size.

So to start, as mentioned, I have 2 Rectangles that are 5" tall by 4" wide and they are 1 mm apart.

You can make them Transparent and Lock them to make it easier to work with your designs for the front and inside.

Step 3: Front

The easiest part of the card to design is the front. That is going to be on top of the right rectangle.

To make sure your design is where you want it, you can put your Workplane right on top of it.

Then, go to town!

For the flower/love one, I broke up the design into layers so I'd be able to at least print the top of the card by changing color between layers instead of having it change more often between shapes.

Step 4: Inside of Card - MMU Option

To do the inside of the card, you can either put the Workplane back where it belongs and flip your view or you can just flip over your card.

Unlike with the front of the card, this design will have to be flush with the card otherwise you'll have issues printing.

Once you have the text (I recommend personalizing this since you want it to be special, but I'm just leaving it generic for the example), you can also Duplicate it, make it into a Hole, and use that to cut out the text from the card. This will just make it easier for printing (I move the text to the side just to show you).

Now you have the inside and outside of your card.

""""""""""""""""""""

Export your design by color. So, for the flower Valentines card, it would be the Card, Inside Words + Love, Stem, and Flowers. [I'm showing them all separated so you can see, but make sure you export them while they are in the orientation you are printing so they line back up in the slicer.

Step 5: Inside of Card - Single Extruder Option

I'll try to talk through this method that I used originally when I didn't have the MMU to do the text on the inside of the card.

Take what you want on the inside of the card, I recommend making it minimal so it's easier.

Take your text, export it as an SVG and re-import it so you have the SVG import options (as a Note, this didn't exist when I did it so this was much harder, so much easier now with the SVG options).

Now that you have your text, you need to make your hole pieces and printed pieces.

Hole Pieces - Silhouette + Outer Line of text (I haven't tested this yet, but for outer line, I did .6 width).

Print Pieces - Original Text (.6 mm thick) + Silhouette (.2 mm thick)

Now, use the hole to cut out the card. Mine is .6 mm thick.

Your print pieces you will print it so the first layer is the color of the card, and the second and third layer are your text color.

The plan here is you print the text first, then, when you are printing the card, you pause after layer 3, drop the text pieces into the holes you created, add your tulle, then start the print back up. The goal is that not only do you print the tulle into your print but you also fuze the words to the remaining card print. It did work for me in the past and it should work for you now as long as the words don't stick up higher than the existing card print WHICH it shouldn't as long as you did the same number of layers.

The last image where it says Love is from the card I made a few years ago.

*I'm using a font that I imported. Learn how to do it yourself from this Instructable.

Step 6: Use Tulle As Decoration

Another option if you don't have a multi-media extruder is to just make cutouts for the inside of the card and use a contrasting tulle to add the color and fill in those blanks!

Step 7: Slicing

The main thing about slicing is adding the Pause.

How your Slicer handles it will vary, but with PrusaSlicer you can right click where you want the pause (do it on the layer AFTER the pause) and click to add a Pause.

Then you can fiddle around with settings until you are happy with how it looks.

Step 8: Printing and Pause Portion of Tulle

Your print should pause after the second layer (or whatever you set).

Now it's time to add the tulle. One way you can do this is just with strips that are big enough to cover the hinge and a little extra on each side. I'm doing three layers for extra strength, but a single layer should also work fine.

Use your tape to tape the tulle down. I found that the tulle likes to stick up a bit so I also put some glue down on top of it to hold it to the print.

Once it is ready, start your print back up again (make sure the temp is right if you are using an OctoPi and have to get it back to temp).

Keep on eye on this next layer to make sure the printer doesn't catch and tear the tulle.

Pop it off when it's done.

Step 9: Printing With Pause Full Sheet

Another way to add the tulle that I did originally, is to cut sheets big enough to cover the whole card.

I decided to try a contrasting pink tulle with my silky white filament and for this one the pink showed through decently.

Once it is all taped down, start the print back up.

Step 10: Trimming

Trim off the excess tulle.

For the Birthday card with Pink tulle, I left a little bit around all the edges for something different (and you can see how the pink shows through the Silky White filament).

Step 11: Finished Valentine Card With Flowers

Enjoy your cards!

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    8 Comments

    0
    jmoakland
    jmoakland

    12 days ago

    Do we have recyclable filament yet? Greetings cards go straight into the trash after a week so would be good if the plastic was recycled.

    0
    jmoakland
    jmoakland

    Reply 8 days ago

    Haha! That’s awesome! I’m going to show people at work (robotics engineering place. A lot of 3D printing goes down)

    0
    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    Best Answer 11 days ago

    People do reuse filament scraps but I don't know about recyclable filament. Though, the goal of this card is you DON't it in the trash. It's meant to be personalized in the first place and hopefully kept as a momento.

    0
    FinnishDynamite
    FinnishDynamite

    10 days ago

    absolutely cool !
    could you share the stl with the Man workink at the drilling Maschine ?

    0
    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    Reply 10 days ago

    Thanks!
    Unfortunately, I don't seem to have that design anymore, but it was just an image I found online, made into an SVG, and imported into Tinkercad.

    0
    RichardGreene
    RichardGreene

    12 days ago

    Way cool! Couldn't one just 3D print the text and patterns directly onto paper card stock, after spraying it with hair spray to help it stick? That would eliminate the need to print the card base and to create a hinge.

    0
    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    Reply 11 days ago

    I'm not srue but it would be interesting to see!