Introduction: Business Card With Polaroid + Arduino

The goal of our project was to create a machine that produces business cards.
We decided to hack a polaroid exploiting the internal mechanism to create our personal business card that bear the logo of the Fab Lab Turin.

We replace the shutter with an RGB LED and, applying a diffuser, it generates a random color that imprints on a polaroid paper an image generated by a stencil placed over it.

Everything is managed by a program loaded on a Arduino connected with both the motor of the machine and the RGB LED.

Please note: to build this project you need an average skill in electronics and in programming.

Step 1: Sketch

Step 2: Unmount and Studing the Hardware

After opening the machine, we have identified the components useful for our project and eliminated unnecessary ones to optimize the space available.

Components used:

  • Self-starter
  • Shutter

Components included:

  • Mosfet
  • A power switch
  • A button

Step 3: Electronics

Now we have to identify the inputs and the outputs:


  • The button to start the machine process
  • A switch that indicates when the self-starter has completed the process of printing


  • RGB LED (Red, Green, Blue channels)
  • Self-starter motor

We noticed that, upon completion of a rotation of the engine, a small metal plate is raised.

We placed a button on the small metal plate which will then be read by Arduino like a button.

Step 4: Wiring the Arduino

In this phase, we connected the following components to Arduino:

  • The engine of Polaroid, connected by a Mosfet
  • The switch adapted on the small strip of metal that rises to the completion of the rotation
  • 3 channel of the RGB LED each connected to the NPN transistors
  • The start button
  • A switch of ignition

Now you can program the Arduino.

Step 5: Make the Stancil

After having designed on a drawing digital software we cut the stencil on a plastic plate (1mm) using a laser cutter.

Step 6: Assembling and Loading

The stacil obtained was placed over the container of polaroid's cartridge which is loaded into the machine.

Step 7: Results and Final Thoughts

After about 40 minutes the polaroid is fully developed.

Full Spectrum Laser Contest

Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest

123D Circuits Contest

Participated in the
123D Circuits Contest