Pretty cool, right? Business cards are anything but out of fashion in this day in age, especially if you’re passing out these puppies. In this article, I’m going to show you how to laser engrave or laser cut your very own customized business cards in three simple steps.
(Note: if you have no interest in doing any of this yourself, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can work out an arrangement where I do it for you).
Here is a link to the SVG file that I used to make my business cards. Feel free to crack this file open in Adobe Illustrator, edit it, print it, and distribute it as you please. If you don’t have Illustrator, download <Inkscape>, a free, open source project that offers very similar functionality.
2.) Optimize for the laser cutter
A couple of things to be aware of as you edit:
- EVERYTHING MUST BE AN SVG PATH--that means you must ungroup everything in an illustrator file, and if you are using Inkscape, you must convert all objects to a path using the function in the “path” dropdown menu.
- Red lines are for cutting. Any line width greater than 0.001 will do for most laser cutters. While cutting, a laser cutter will not take the width of (cut lines) into account.
- Black lines on some laser cutters are “raster drawn,” meaning that laser cutter will engrave them pixel by pixel. For laser cutters not equipped with "raster functionality," these lines can be configured to be engraved as line paths.
- Depending on the laser cutter, pure blue lines are often used for “line engraving,” but I almost never use this functionality, because it rarely works for me.
Once you've got the design that you want, simply copy and paste as many copies as you want to (and can) print in one shot into the document.
3.) Print it
This step depends on the particular laser cutter that you are using, and if you don’t know how to carry out this step on your laser cutter, you need to have a human being teach you, as laser cutters are dangerous to operate if you don’t know how--pure and simple. Safety precautions aside though, both of the cutters that I have access to function on a simple “file > print” workflow, just like your printer at home.
If you’d like to learn how to operate a laser cutter, find your local makerspace using this website or searching for it on your own. Email me if you have any issue locating a makerspace near you or if you have any other questions.
Again, if you have a file that you want to have cut out, I can cut it for you. If you don't have the file that you want to engrave/cut, again...you know what to do.