View Full Version : Real 3D buisness card

Michael Simpson Virgina
05-22-2009, 7:01 AM
I was looking for some cool ways to do a business card when I found this.


Problem is they did not include and files. Further searching led me to a very bad jpg file. It must have been scanned at 50DPI as it was unusable.

Not to be thwarted, I decided to use the idea and design my own from scratch. Using a program called involute I started with the main internal gear. Its size set the pace for everything. Involute has lots of options. Sooooo many options it has been difficult to master. It also outputs in DXF format and I have yet to get the DXF to Corel scaling to work properly.

The main gear is an internal gear and it floats freely sandwiched between a front and a back as well as two sides. The center gear is set in place and is glued to both the back card and front card. The other gears are just floaters.

I used a lot of matt stock as I had to get the gears just right so that they would mesh.

Mattboard is a little rough at first but the gears will fall into place. I plan on doing one out of acrylic and it should run very smooth.

If anyone is interested in this I will post the CDR file as well as the instructions on assembly once I perfect a few things and take a few pictures for assembly.

Steve Clarkson
05-22-2009, 7:13 AM
That is waaay cool.....yes, please post the file!

Frank Corker
05-22-2009, 7:44 AM
Love it! Post the file please, would be interested to give it a whirl.

Stuart Orrell
05-22-2009, 8:24 AM
Cool Stuff. This is very creative!

I saw the card earlier this week on thingiverse.com Can't remember where I got the link from, I think it may have been from somewhere in the creek.

Here's the link: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:211

There's a dxf and pdf download at the bottom of the page.

This idea opens up lots of ideas such as a business card with built in calendar. I reckon it would also look cool made of different coloured pieces of acrylic. There could be some nice wood products come out of this concept too.

I'm going to take a look at that involute program that you mentioned.

Do you know where we can get it?

Thanks for the post.

Randy Walker
05-22-2009, 8:27 AM
AWWWWSOME That is the best card I have ever seen. Yes I'd love to see the CDR files too.http://www.sawmillcreek.org/images/icons/icon10.gif

Michael Simpson Virgina
05-22-2009, 1:28 PM
Than dxf would have saved me a lot of time making those dang gears. Oh well I learned how to use the Involute program. Here is my Corel file. I did mine at 3.5" x 2" so its a normal business card size.

These directions are for using two colored mattboard.


1. Burn parts. The main internal gear was designed so that the stationary insert gears is held in place by the cutout part of the main gear. (More on that later)

2. Take the two half's of the middle sandwich and glue them to the bottom card. The bottom card should be the white side of the mattboard. Make sure the outside edges line up as these are cut to leave just a slight amount of room so the main gear to turn.

3. Take the main gear and place it in the now created slot (No Glue).

4. Now take the cutout and place that inside the main gear (No Glue).

5. Take the stationary gear and place it inside the cutout. It should form the three a three piece just like they were cutout. This stationary gear gets glued to the bottom just like the two sides. (Don't over glue)

6. Remove the cutout. You should now have the movable outer gear ring (main gear) and stationary insert (glued) in place.

7. Drink some coffee cuz the hard parts done

8. Once the glue on the stationary gear dries take the 4 small gears and place them anywhere you want between the outer gear and stationary gear. You should be able to rotate the main gear.

9. Place some glue on the the two sides. (very light) Spread thin with finger.

10. Now stick the top piece (With window cutout) on to the glued pieces aligning the outside edges. Press firmly.

11. You can laser onto the front and back of the card. One variation is to use the windowed piece on the front and back. This way you have a double sided gear card.

About the worst thing you can do is get glue on the movable parts. (main gear ring and small gears). As long as you can rotate the main ring it will loosen up over time. Mine now runs very smoothly.

Please post your results once you have built the card. I would love to see them.

Steve Clarkson
05-22-2009, 1:51 PM
Thanks Michael! I'll give it a shot!

Steve Clarkson
05-22-2009, 2:57 PM
Made one out of wood and it works perfectly!

Angus Hines
05-26-2009, 8:02 PM
the Acrylic version,

Its 1/16" acrylic

Need to work on the gluing method a little or just use colored acrylic.

Bob Heltibridle
05-26-2009, 8:46 PM
You might try double sided carpet tape

Jack Harper
05-26-2009, 10:08 PM
That is great Angus. You need an ultrasonic welder, but I think they start around $6K used. I think the clear woks best for a business card. This way you can engrave your info over the whole card and still see the gears behind.

James Jaragosky
05-26-2009, 10:42 PM
Very nice work Angus.
Now for the lettering and color fill.
Can you put a mini led in that? That would b awesome:D.

David Harvey
05-27-2009, 7:38 AM
Yes...very cool cards!

Here's one that looks like it would be a cinch for a laser!


David Fairfield
05-27-2009, 9:08 AM
Nice! Does it run smoothly? I think pegs would hold it together neatly. If you tweak the peg diameter to hole diameter, they ought to friction-fit. A small dab of liquid cement will secure it.


Justin Harrington
05-27-2009, 3:14 PM
Here's another one you might like, also found it on the web so don't give me credit for it.119320

Justin Harrington
05-27-2009, 3:18 PM
The last one was in Corel X4 so I've attached it again in Ver 10 for those of you that are still working on earlier versions of Corel.

I just cut one out now and it really brings back some good memories, amazing the paterns you can make, sort of like Corel Draw without the computer:rolleyes:


Frank Corker
05-27-2009, 3:48 PM
Justin, looks good but what does it do and how is it asssembled?

Dave Johnson29
05-27-2009, 3:55 PM
Justin, looks good but what does it do and how is it asssembled?


You stick a pencil through the holes in the smaller (loose) gears and then run them meshed with the larger gears. They draw spiral patterns.

Justin Harrington
05-27-2009, 4:21 PM
Exactly what Dave said. It was also show as a business card online, the company logo was engraved onto the one side. This could easly be scaled up to make a larger spyro. I remember having one of these as a kid and using differnt colour pens to make designs.

Scott Shepherd
05-27-2009, 7:25 PM
Cool concept, but I'm not following how it could be a business card. It's a number of pieces. So do you hand the person a hand full of little gears to go with the card? Am I missing something?

Frank Corker
05-27-2009, 9:42 PM
No Steve, they actually answered the question for both of us. The second one posted is just examples of gearing to play with, not for making cards with.

Justin Harrington
05-28-2009, 5:11 AM
It was advertised as a business card and in the video they seem to cut through the perspex so that the pieces just don't fall through, the customer that you give the card to just pops the gears out, not sure that you'll get it right 100% of the time, best would be to leave a tiny portion of the gear not cut through so that it stays in until you press it out. I didn't save the web page after downloading it but I'll see if I can find it and I'll post the link that has the video clip.

Justin Harrington
05-28-2009, 5:18 AM
OK here is where the file was located, this is a really cool site by the way with quite a couple of interesting laser projects www.thingiverse.com/thing:641 (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:641) .

The video is located at http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2009/05/25/adafruit-business-cards-laser-cut-spirograph-cards/

David Fairfield
05-28-2009, 8:42 AM

One of my favorite business cards, just add water :D