As a first time experience with physical prototyping, I combined 3D-printing and laser cutting for an assignment in my Prototyping Interactive Systems (CS 6452) class. For this assignment, the task was to create a personalized name badge. The name badge needed to sit in a customized stand and attach to magnetic whiteboards to hold up class exhibits.  The assignment required any combination of laser cutting and a 3-D printing.


2 Weeks

Skills Exercised: 

3D-Printing, Laser Cutting

Software Used: 

Adobe Illustrator, 123D Design, UP!

The Process: 

         1. Rough Sketching

          The style of my name badge is inspired by the travel tags that I attach to my suitcases.

       2. Laser Cutting

After going through a few papers I came up with my final design and drew it up in Adobe Illustrator. I decided to go with an engraved "LauReL" with a fun mark as the underline to add a little playfulness to the travel tag concept. I also cut a circular opening so that my name badge could hang on objects, just as a travel tag would. With this design in Illustrator, I prepared my wood to be laser cut. In order to avoid burn marks, I placed a layer of masking tape over the wood before setting it into the laser cutter.

       3. 3D Printing

I created a base using the letters of my last name to act as a stand for my name badge,. To accomplish this, I created individual upper case letters in Adobe Illustrator and later imported the file into the 3D modeling software, 123D Design. In 123D Design, I extruded the letters in the positive direction and later placed them so that they overlapped in order to form a sturdy foundation for the name badge. Before printing the completed stand, I went through the process of splitting it into two separate parts, given that the entire stand was too large to be printed on the MakerBot’s build plate. I also created a ring to act as a key chain ring so that the name badge could attach to backpacks and other items of that sort. 

Prior to executing my final design, I had the idea to go with something extremely small but functional. I initially created a stand that fit into the circular opening. With this design, the opening would double as a key ring opening and the name stand's groove. As seen within the pictures below, the 3D print for this idea failed. As an object of three components, only two components were successfully printed. This occurred because the third component was too thin for printing. Rather than immediately changing my design, I modified the figure to make the third component a tad thicker. After about three tries I still had trouble with the design. I decided to scrap the idea and come up with a new one. Given the name badge was intended for actual use by my professor to remember names, I thought it felt that it would be nice to incorporate my last name with the stand. I took the failed print as an opportunity to do so.


The Outcome:

Click to expand each image.