Introduction: Create a 3D Printed QR Code (using Blender)
Showing you how to 3D print QR Code from an image. The most important part is converting the QR code image (SVG) to 3D print format (STL) in Blender. If you have other ways please share with me.
I made a video version (above) same as the following instructions.
There are 3 steps:
1. Generate your QR code from websites in SVG file format.
2. Convert the QR code image to 3D format in Blender
3. 3D print your QR code
What you need:
1. The Internet.. Duhhhh!!!! to generate QR code.
2. 3D Blender software. Can download for free.
3. A 3D Printer.... Duhhhh!!!
Ok lets get going...
Step 1: Generate QR Code Image
You can use any websites that can generate QR code in SVG format. My personal preference, I use www.qrcode-monkey.com
Just a note, I wouldn't want to generate too complicated QR code because it will create very small boxes which may not able to 3D print. Well it depends on what 3D printer you have. So, you can try simple QR code like email, name or website for start.
Step 2: Convert Your QR Code Image (SVG) to 3D Printable Format (STL)
By now you would have saved your SVG file in your computer. Follow this steps to convert the file.
1. Open your 3D Blender software and import that QR Code SVG (as shown in the first image). If you cannot see the SVG file import, download the latest version of Blender.
2. After you import, the object appears to be very small so scale it to a workable size. All of the objects are 'Curves' not mesh. You don't need to deal with the exact size yet as you can do the final sizing in your 3D printer software. You will notice there is a flat white plane across your QR code, we don't need this so delete that plane or hide it. The plane should be called 'Curve' (as seen in the picture)
3. Next is to select all the other curves. You can select 'Curve.001' at the layer panel, then hold control key and highlight the entire QR code in your 3D panel window. You will see that all objects are selected.
4. Join all the selected curves into one by click on 'Join' under 'Object' menu at the bottom (See third picture)
5. Convert the curve into mesh by click on 'Mesh from curve/meta/surf/text' under the same 'Object' menu or use 'Alt' + 'C' .
6. While is selected, click on 'Edit Mode' and choose 'Face Select' (as shown in 5th image). Then use the mesh tool to extrude.
7. You will see the QR Code is extruded, because it is dark you can can the diffuser color to make it easier to see. This is optional. (See last picture). Add a platform box under your QR code.
8. Export both your QR Code and platform box together as STL file.
Note: I had to do an extra step in Blender to invert some of the faces outwards so that my 3D printer recognised the faces. Otherwise it will not print and create holes. However, some 3D printer software or slicing tool can fix this issue instantly.
Step 3: 3D Print Your QR Code
QR Code reader need to recognized color difference between the background and the little square boxes. There are two ways to do this.
First method, 3D print the entire piece in one color and then use a black permanent marker to color the extruded top surface.
Second method, 3D print in two colors which the second color in the last 5 layers (approximately). For example, my print model has 38 layers, at about 30th layer I pause the print and change the filament and resume printing.
Both method will work but the second method looks better.
So here you go and happy 3D printing!!!