Introduction: How to Package Dogtags With Vacuumed Formed ABS Plastic ==Made It at TechShop==

Ever clean out a room in your house only to find a small token that is attached to a bigger, more significant memory?  Well I have!  Those trophies from a sports league or a challenge coin from a community you once belonged to are just two examples of memorabilia that elicit a powerful response.  A sense of belonging, accomplishment, or honor is usually attached to these types of trinkets and thats exactly what I wanted my fans to experience when they held LevelBF dogtags.

Attaching a physical object to a specific time period in your life makes memory lane that much more fun when you take the stroll years later.  While the bubbly recollection may be the ultimate goal, it will never happen if fans never actually receive that special gift.  Then it hit me, I needed to take a page from Apple’s playbook and make the very act of unboxing an item more special for their friends and customers.  Enter Frank, my resident Techshop guru.  Frank suggested that I begin by forming simple trays that would hold a set of tags plus the neck and toe chains.  He suggested that I try and vacuum form a tray to hold a full set of dogtags, complete with silencers and chains.

This may not be the best possible way to tackle this problem, but this was my first attempt at a saleable package and just like everything else, this is only the beginning of a journey that will lead to better things.  I have already moved on to a newer, cheaper solution but you will have to check out my next instructable to see the next iteration!

Step 1: Materials Needed

As far as materials go, this project is fairly forgiving in that you do not absolutely have the exact materials listed below.

List of Materials and goods used for this project:
=2 - laser engraved anodized aluminum dog tags
=2 - rubber silencers
=1 - 24" ball chain neck-lace
=1 - 2" ball chain toe-lace
=1 - 2'x2'x3/32" white picture matting
=1 - 2'x2' white vinyl 
=1 - 4"x18" Frisk-it paper
=1 - 24"x12"x0.030" Black PVC plastic
=1 - Double stick tape

Tools and Machines used:   
= Picture mat cutter
= Vinyl cutter
= Laser cutter
= Vacuum former
= 12" Paper cutter

To access the Tools and Machines used head on over to TechShop and get started making things today!

Step 2: Getting Your Branding On

As you can see from the picture above there is a variety of heights as well as an embedded LEVEL brand that I was able to produce because I used the vacuum former.  

To achieve this result I cut out 3x6 inch cards from White Picture matting and set them aside. Next I went to the vinyl cutter and cut out my companies logo out of standard white vinyl.  Using frisk-it paper I transfered 4 logos onto 4 mat cards that would be my templates for the vacuum forming machine.

Step 3: Creating Packaging

You can view a short mobile phone video on Youtube Here

Once the sheets of 4 had been formed I took them to my paper cutter and made easy work of trimming excess Black PVC plastic from the mold I made from the picture mat. After being trimmed, I was tasked with getting the chain to lie flat while in shipping and for that I turned to double stick tape.  It didn’t work very well, but it did get the job done.  I cut pieces of tape to fit inside the circular recess reserved for the neck & toe chains.  Starting from the outside, I worked my way to the interior making sure that the ball chain was stuck to the double sided tape for shipment.

Step 4: Getting Swag Into the Hands of the Gamers

With the chains stuck down and the tags fitting snugly into their place it was time to stuff envelopes and get them out to customers waiting for my coveted gamer swag.

Thank you for checking out my first instructable!  I have just begun my techshop journey and I hope that I can continue to document my experiences at this amazing community.


Joseph Rodriguez