Make a Custom Bic Brander





Introduction: Make a Custom Bic Brander

In this Instructable I will show you how to 3D print your very own custom Branding Iron that snaps onto a Bic lighter!
You don't need a 3D printer, just an image, an image editing program like Pixlr and to print your brand in real steel.

Yes, this is a branding iron, they get hot! Don't do anything stupid with one of these, like burn yourself or an animal! If you do, please don't blame me! :)

Second Disclaimer:
I am the designer of the branding iron, I 3D modeled the base file that your custom image gets extruded from on Shapeways, as the designer of the brand I get a bit of the profit for the sales on Shapeways ;) Don't hate me, your dollar is like a high five and makes my day more awesome :)

Step 1: Find Your Image

First of all you will need to find or create a black and white image for your branding iron.
When you upload your image the black areas will be extruded by 1mm, the white areas will stay in place. You should avoid any Gray scale or color images as they won't produce as clean of a final brand but you can experiment if you want!

Step 2: Use Autodesk Pixlr to Reverse Your Image (your Iron Should Be a Mirror Image of the Final Brand)

Almost every image will need to be reversed before uploading, that way the brand comes out the right way

This is super easy with Autodesk Pixlr, a completely free online photo editing program,
Navigate to and choose to open an image on your computer or by inputting a URL

Then just click "Image" and then "Flip canvas horizontal"

Step 3: Use Pixlr to Invert Your Image and Crop It If Needed

If you found the perfect black and white image but it's backwards, you'll need to Invert it in Pixlr

To do this, just duplicate the background layer and change the new layer's mode to "invert", that's it!

If you need to add white space around your image, just increase the canvas size by a few pixels with the center as your anchor. (do this if your brand gets distorted at the edges, you'll know what I mean later when you go to make your branding iron)

If you need to remove space around your image just use the crop button in Pixlr.

If you have a rectangular shaped image then you may need to rotate your image in Pixlr as well.

The 3D base models all have the longest edge of the rectangle running left-right, so if you have a tall skinny image, you'll want to rotate it by 90°.

Step 4: Upload Your Image to Shapeways

If your image is mostly circular or square shaped follow this link:

If your image is mostly rectangular shaped follow this link:

If your image is a skinny rectangle follow this link:

Next just click on the "Choose File" Button and pick the image you made earlier!

Step 5: Order Your Brand, Wait and Burn!

This step is easy! Just click the "Add to Cart" button on the right and follow the process to order your Custom bic branding iron!

Shapeways will then 3D print your custom brand in Stainless steel and it should arrive in about 14-18 days worldwide!

After it's arrived you just attach it to a Bic World Class lighter and then light it up for about 60 seconds or so (every brand is different)

Be sure to practice on some scrap wood first! Getting a good brand takes practice and you don't want to mess up your 1951 Mickey Mantle rookie bat with a sloppy batman brand. (really though, that's a dumb idea, if you have a Mickey Mantle bat just don't brand it at all).

Have fun!

3 People Made This Project!


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80 Discussions


1 year ago

Simple SOLUTION to the whole "flaring" problem. Use the BIC lighter to ignite the wick on a candle to heat the branding iron to the desired temperature to "brand" the item. When the branding iron reaches the correct temperature the BIC lighter could be used to maintain the proper temperature until the task is completed!!

when lighters melt and "explode" (I use quotes because the rate at which the volume of gas expands lands it on the lowest end of low explosive) it is because the plastic became soft and let gas out which then ignites thus there is minimal compression and no shrapnel. I would be and would like to see evidence of a lighter doing any damage. I personally have had a lighter i was holding melt and "explode" and only had a very small burn on one finger tip.

2 replies

The word your looking for isn't "explode" but "flair" the lighters will flair up when left on too long.


1 year ago

Another solution to achieve the same effect would be to use a laser/water cut stencil made from a small piece of non-galvanized sheet-metal or thin steel plate. Place stencil over object and use a small butane blowtorch to burn the image on to the object. Understandably, though, you're not burning the design "into" the material, but rather "onto" it.

Excellent ! Can't wait to try

Hello James,

We are a medium size manufacturing company that makes belts out of different kinds of leather/skin (bison, alligator, python etc...) We often order stamping die to stamp the back of our belts. I do like you products for our smaller clients who can't offered the larger dies. What is your turn around time for you to make one of these heat stamps if we supply you with a pdf or image file of what we need to stamp on leather.

Email me at

Actually, that's not entirely true, Shapeways profits when they 3D print your brand, pixlr makes a profit for serving ads while you're adjusting your image, then instructables makes a profit by serving ads while you read the instructable. Thats actually how the internet works, people put things out there for people to use and then they make a bit of money for their efforts. I worked hard creating and setting up the base file so other people could use it to make branding irons and a lot of folks have done just that and are pretty happy I did, I'm sorry you think its inappropriate :)

James you did a nice job on your branding irons, I hope to be able to use one someday. What I don't understand is why don't people read the ible before they ask a question about the ible, it's not like you didn't explain every question they asked, besides what's the matter with a little capitalism. Keep up the good work.

I know we are meant to be nice, but.
Reading between the lines of the comments, I believe you are the owner of that Shapeways store. If so, you should declare that and that you are likely profiting from every order. And it is not a new idea, you can get similar cheaper.

5 replies

Hey Micheal_oz,
I'm another shapeway designer like James (& I made custom iron like this in the past)
As it's fair to say he should be rewarded for his automation work in Shapeways by getting a small markup it is true he is mainly advertising for his product on Instructable and not really upfront about it.
I'm actually glad someone did finally automate this good for him.

In the instructable spirit he should have shown how to use a 3d modeler as an alternative to make the model yourself and upload it to the site.

You can find the original model from shapeway here:

Download the base model here:

And use you favorite 3D modeler software to build on top.
you can look at one of my comment earlier in the thread - you might want to review the design to reduce heat transfer and allow easier install.

Then upload it on Shapeways to be printed for your own use without the markup fees :)


Hi Michael_oz, I don't think that's "not" nice, you're right! I am the designer on Shapeways and I do make a bit of the profit off of new orders, as does Shapeways :) that's how it works on their site.

They just introduced the ability for designers like me to create 3D models that can be customized like this a few weeks ago and as far as I know I am the first designer to make a lighter branding iron that can be customized.
Up to this point you could get pre-designed brands but not ones that could be user customized, as far as I know this is it, but if another designer sets one up they should totally make an instructable of their own :)

I'm sure I'll make many more customizable objects that require an instructable in the future too. Best

Hi, JamesH76. I thought that your instructable is really great and convenient. But how can you make this, do you use milling machines and input data and do it, or you use like salt water to erode it? I really like to know how to diy it myself? (I mean the methods, not steal the thing from you)

Shapeways is a 3D printing service. The printers extrude the design layer by layer out of metal printing filament, not a destructive method like milling or eroding. The author of this 'ible simply designed the models to be readily available to order through Shapeways.

What resolution are you able to print to? :) Love this!

I've done everything step by step. less than 2000px by 2000px. when I upload it, its just a blank preview