Introduction: Punch Out Business Card

Break out the pieces and assemble your own little 3D printer. The design shown here is themed with one of my favorite places in Berlin.

Shown in this instructable are the steps to create such a card.

The tools I used:

  • Rhino 5
  • CO2 Laser cutter: Trotec Speedy 400 80W
  • 1.5 mm Kraftplex, a fine grained wood material similar to MDF, but without glue and stronger

If you just want to make the card from the provided SVG, all you need is a laser cutter and suitable material.

Step 1: Design the Pieces

Use a 1.5 mm grid. Note that for cutting you may later need to scale down the design slightly, to compensate for the width of the laser beam and for fluctuations in material thickness.

Target size for my card was 85×55 mm², and I designed it initially for MDF. As the sheets were slightly thinner than 1.5 mm, I had to scale down the design by a factor of 1.1 prior to cutting. That’s why I created an outline of size 93×60 mm².

Use layer names as shown. Put the outline of the card on a different layer. That allows it to be cut first, which is a good idea as Kraftplex does not lie flat on the laser surface, and the beam may go out of focus. Once the outline has been cut, the card falls down, and it stays in focus.

Step 2: Arrange the Pieces

As a guide for construction, I added a drawing of the assembled piece, and step-by-step numbers. For the drawing, I built the model in 3D in Rhino in the layer Assembly, then used the Make2D command to obtain a projection.

The green dots in the layer Creases indicate where the little bridges that join parts are supposed to be.

Step 3: Prepare for Production

Run the provided RhinoScript prepare_production_of_pieces.rvb. What it does:

  • Creates a tree of layers Production.
  • Copies the design.
  • Removes duplicate lines.
  • Adds little bridges, to hold pieces together.
  • Converts NURBS curves to Bézier curve, for optional export to certain vector formats.

Step 4: Cut

Scale down the design slightly, to give a tight fit. For Kraftplex I used as scale factor: 1:1.05

Adjust settings, focus, and cut. To good results for the marked parts on the Trotec Speedy 400, use a slow speed. Otherwise, the machine cannot keep switching the laser and movement in sync, resulting in missing lines segments.

Step 5: Test

Getting a good result may require some iterations. If pieces don't stick well, adjust scaling and possibly laser settings.