“I had a very simple business card for years, but I was just plain tired of it. It was too bland and looked like all of the other business cards that I had amassed over the years. I was catching up on the Amp Hour podcast and in one of the episodes Dave Jones mentioned something that really caught my attention: bring your projects to social events. I thought about it for a bit but could not think of any good way of bringing large, partially completed projects or populated boards to an event without looking like the ultimate king-of-the-nerds. Of course, I mulled about the idea some more and thought: would it even fit in my pocket? What dimensions make it too big for a pocket? I could reduce z-height. What about cargo pants? They have bigger pockets. I could bring a jacket, but wouldn’t it be odd to keep reaching for something in a jacket pocket?
After exhausting that line of thinking, I abandoned the idea completely and continued on with my projects. I decided that I would just bring photos along to hardware meetups instead. That all changed when I discovered the “elegant PCB artwork ruler” and “RF & MW Elegant PCB ruler” designed by Makis Katsouris. I originally found them through ebay, but Makis’ website, SV1AFN.com, details all aspects of the rulers along with some really top notch RF projects. Oh boy, I used “notch” as a way to describe RF projects. The jokes only get better from here folks :D.
Taking inspiration from these elegant rulers along with the Sparkfun, Adafruit, Digi-Key and Nvidia rulers, I decided to morph a PCB ruler into a business card. I wanted to focus my business card design on footprints, common measurements and useful reference materials to help folks who are interested in making their own PCBs. Of course, I could fill the card with references to all the types of op-amp configurations, diode types, and trace current capacity calculations, but I wanted to make something that would put a physical size to common part package sizes instead. This way, the designer would have something tangible in front of them to gauge the actual size of a package on a board and give them a better idea of how much clearance a package would need in relation to other components on a PCB.
Sometimes the best way to start a project is to check if someone else already did the same thing. Sure, I knew that it was unlikely that I would find a business card design to my exact tastes, but I wanted to at least check if something came close. Looking at other designs on the web gave me further motivation and validation that this was indeed a great idea. My hour of searching for PCB business cards on Hackaday and Github was quite rewarding. Just look at the Business card made by Tim Jacobs. What a fantastic idea of integrating a simple MIDI device into a business card. Very neat.”