During events, people would ask me for my business card, and embarrassingly, I would have to make an excuse up saying I ran out and didn’t have any more on me. I once gave a guy a bare Nabd board as a business card since it had our website.
At some point, I knew I had to actually make a business card. Well, that day is now. I knew I didn’t want a standard paper business card (boring). I decided I had to make my own business card and add my own spin to it. I knew I wanted my business card to be an actual PCB. I’ve seen a few of those online; they look very cool, and you can go crazy with those and make it actually do something.
However, I wanted something simple and cool-looking. It didn’t need to do anything other than hold my information and convey the essence of what we do at Remal with a single glance.
I fired up KiCad and got to work. I decided it’s going to be two layers: one clean side that displays my information, and the other side is what contains the “art” and two QR codes linking to my LinkedIn profile and Remal’s website. I figured it would be cool if it could relate to actual Remal boards out there. So, I decided to make the “art” layer be a combination of all of the current Remal boards: Shabakah, Nabd, and Atlas:
I took each of those layouts and combined them into an area of a single business card. I tried not to re-route traces and keep the original routings, but I eventually had to move stuff around and make modifications. A lot of things obviously had to be removed, but I tried to keep the coolest part of each board visible on the card, along with footprints and their silkscreens. Here is what the layout of the business card PCB looks like:
Pretty cool, right? Gives a much more personal touch than just a bunch of random traces. Yes, you could argue they are currently random traces, and electrically this circuit doesn’t make sense, but hey, this is done as an artwork and not anything that will even remotely work. You might wonder why I have traces and footprints outside of the board area. Simply put, KiCad would not let me remove them without removing a lot of the traces connected to it, which I didn’t want to do, so instead of messing up KiCad settings (check this for what that can cause…), I decided just to keep those things outside of the board edges and let the fab house know that this is an artwork and not a PCB that I expect to actually work.
Lastly, I decided to cover both the top and bottom layers with a copper pour that will help with two things: first, it will give the business card the rich golden color we use so much in Remal, and second, it will help outline the traces and emphasize the connections on the art side of the card.
After the design was done, I sent the Gerber files to the fab house and a few days later the cards arrived:
These look really cool! To be honest, it was better than I expected. This was a fun mini project to work on. And so, next time someone asks me for my business card, I can confidently say, “Yes, I actually DO have my business card with me.”