Home > Project > I don’t always eat cereal, but when I do, I make business cards from the box.

I don’t always eat cereal, but when I do, I make business cards from the box.

July 24th, 2011

This idea was shamelessly lifted from another space after Craig showed us a business card cut/etched from cereal box cardboard from them. I think the space in question is in Hawaii. (Update: That space is Maui Makers and Jerry Isdale in particular. Look to the first comment – he posted a link to the card he made that was the inspiration for this.)


Anyhow, no one had yet engraved a bitmap successfully with the laser cutter, so I set out trying to do this (more or less coincidentally – I couldn’t figure out how to export a filled shape from Inkscape in a vector format LaserCut would grok, so I rasterized it).

I tried first on the corrugated cardboard that we have a near-infinite supply of. However, this didn’t engrave well for me – its top layer is too thin and once you’ve burned parts of it off you have only the sparse ridges holding the other parts of it on. Maybe someone else will have better luck with less power. (This is not the first corrugated cardboard issue we’ve had…)

Cereal cardboard, interestingly, both cuts and engraves really well (though in the following photo, I set the power far too high and it visibly burned through). I would have preferred to etch from a vector logo, but it seems easier to get different shades if you start from a raster image and Floyd-Steinberg dither it to a halftone monochrome image, as LaserCut requires monochrome.


The LaserCut file is here: http://hodapple.com/files/hive13%20business%20card.ecp. If anyone wants to make a better-designed variant, please do – I consider this to be just a draft. A faster version might also be good. This one is around 7 – 8 minutes per card, but the speed probably could be cranked up a bit.

P.S. I suffered a cereal-induced sugar headache in the process of making these business cards. You all better be nice to me.

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  1. July 29th, 2011 at 18:09 | #1

    Hey guys! That was my biz card from MauiMakers (http://mauiMakers.com) that Chris brought back.

    Glad to see the meme is catching on – and you have an open source methods.
    I use Corel Draw and regular Epilog drivers. I can set up multiple cards on a box – different cereal boxes yield different usable areas # cards, etc. I also found there are different cardboards used for different cereals – so watch the settings!

  2. July 29th, 2011 at 18:19 | #2

    Here’s some pics of my cards in the laser…
    lots of other laser cut samples in that album.

  3. July 31st, 2011 at 18:56 | #3

    Cool, thanks for posting that! It is a cool idea. I tried setting up multiple cards on a box too and had good results except that it took quite awhile to cut. We were changing settings last week and got it down to a few minutes with a combination of defocusing the laser and increasing the scan gap, but the quality is noticeably lower. If we defocus too far then we have to do it in two passes at different focuses to get have the final cut (around the edges) get all the way through.

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