Introduction: I Made a Member Referral Card at TechShop San Jose

I had wanted to join TechShop since I first saw them at the Bay Area Maker Faire, but the Menlo Park location was too far away to get to via Public Transit for a non driver like myself. Then to my jubilation, TechShop announced that they would be opening a location in San Jose, I was ecstatic, I was telling friends left and right trying to get them interested in TechShop, but all to no avail...But TechShop had a policy that was perfect for a guerrilla marketer such as myself to take advantage of, their Member Referral Program.
When I found out about this, I was all over it, like powder coat on a charged piece of metal, like machining lube on an end mill or popcorn residue on a hungry members hands. I was to develop this remarkably effective way of plugging TechShop and benefiting from referrals all in one fell swoop
This Instructible has all the things you'll need to entice new members, and get classes from referrals.

It contains an interactive PDF of the card, you can click on the image to import your own picture, a modifiable text field to enter either your name or whatever you desire (the referral number is just my member number), as well as as a description of TechShop and a cut path so that you can give your cards rounded corners on the laser cutter.

Things you will need:
  • Cards printed using the supplied interactive PDF either on paper or card stock. Don't cut them apart, as you'll get to use a laser to do this for you in a later step.
  • An Epilog CO2 laser.
  • Material to etch the flavor text into and adhere to the back of your referral card, wood, acrylic, leather or something else.
  • A vector file with the cut path for cutting your cards apart with a nicely rounded corners.
  • A glue stick or spray mount adhesive to attach the front of your card to the back (you can also just print double sided cards).
Only a basic knowledge of Adobe Illustrator is necessary if you want to change anything on the back of the card.

Step 1: An Image of the 10UP File Without Your Pictures or Text.

This is the card layout, the PDF I have included has interactivity for picture and text insertion.
When you open the PDF with Acrobat Reader, and click on the pic insert area, you'll get a pop-up window with a browse button, find the image that you want and hit Select. The image will be sized to fit the area and then repeated on all the cards in the template. As for the editable text field, just use the Hand Tool, click anywhere in the blue box, type what you want and then click outside of the box, it will auto-populate all the fields. 
The file is now ready for printing. TechShop doesn't have a small color printer, so I take it to the print shop right across the street.

Step 2: The Back of the Referral Card, Also Known As "The Hook"

As flashy as the front of this card is, I wanted to have a basic synopsis of what TechShop was and why it was so fun, I used verbiage that I thought would not only intrigue folks, but point out the benefits of being referred as well.
Often when I actually hand these cards out, I mention that if they are in TechShop the same day I am, I am more than willing to help them with any tips and tricks that I have gleaned during my tenure.
The supplied files are Adobe Illustrator files, they can be used to cut the card with rounded corners and/or etch the flavor text on the back of the card on whatever substrate you desire using the laser cutter.

Step 3: Trying Alternate Materials for the Back of the Card: 1/8" Plywood

I had printed up a bunch of double sided cards on a heavyweight stock, but wanted to try something different.
I thought that if I etched the flavor text into another material, it would spotlight one of the neat things that you could do at TechShop.
The first alternate material I used was some thin plywood, I didn't have any black paint handy, so I took a black marker and made a big black rectangle. I then set up the laser with both the vector cut path file and the flavor text file. I am sorry for the fuzziness of the text, but the laser I was working on was having focusing issues, probably caused by the upcoming planetary alignment.
(yes I realize that this reference will be void in a couple of days).

For more detailed information on using a laser cutter at TechShop just use the search field and type in "Lasering at TechShop" you'll come up with oodles of examples.

Step 4: Trying Alternate Materials for the Back of the Card: 1/8" Mirrored Acrylic

Acrylic is one of the easiest things that you can cut/etch on a laser cutter and get instant gratification, and mirrored acrylic even more so.

Step 5: The Types of Folks to Target With Referral Cards AKA "TechShop Profiling"

Actually, there isn't a single "Type" of potential TechShop member, most of the folks I approach are intrigued by at least one of the pieces of equipment that I list as available for use at TechShop (I have memorized them all).

This is the 1st of 6(or more) Instructables to be posted as part of the San Jose TechShop's 1st Quarter 2013 Resident Artist Program

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