Stylish Business Card with a Stylophone Built In

If you’re in the electronics business, PCB business cards seem like a natural fit. They may be impractical and expensive, but they can really set you apart from that boring paper card from Vistaprint crowd. But they need to make sense for what you do, so for a musician and MIDI pro, this MIDI-controller stylophone business card is a real eye- and ear-catcher.

This business card is an idea that [Mitxela] has been kicking around for a while, and he even built a prototype a couple of years ago. The homebrew card, made using the spray paint, laser etching, and ferric chloride method, worked well enough as a proof of concept, but it was a little rough around the edges and needed the professional touch of a PCB fabricator. We’ve got to say that the finished cards are pretty darn sexy, with the black resist contrasting nicely against the gold-immersion pads. He selected a 1-mm thick board and made the USB connector as a separate small board; snapped off of the main board and reflowed back on, it builds up the edge connector to the proper thickness. The parts count is low — just an ATtiny85 and a resistor ladder to encode each key, with a simple jumper used as the stylus. The device itself is just a MIDI controller and makes no music on its own, but we still think this is a pretty creative way to hang out a shingle.

[Mitxela] has quite a few interesting builds, and is no stranger to our pages. Check out his recent servo-plucked MIDI music box, or these amazing miniature LED earrings.

19 thoughts on “Stylish Business Card with a Stylophone Built In

  1. Great stuff Dan Maloney
    A very nice thoughtful & intelligent design approach, takes me back to
    the product I did circa 2002 as a snap in type fuse holder for an
    enclosure free drop in replacement for the thermoplastic GMH unit
    which started out in USA then copied/transferred by Holden Australia,
    pretty much end of life now over here but, new markets for USA variant.

    Very old web page as linked on my hackaday name on this comment.

    Back to this post as I say I really like the approach, in high end
    production can use recessed/pressed flats for components and multicolour
    prints and few other processing shifts for far more than business cards :-)

    Hey this is a great move and provokes all sorts of production ideas, congrats

    Thanks for posting :-)

    Cheers

    1. This was always going to need an extension cable, how else would you play the thing if not out in front of you. Certainly would be pointless stuck in your desktops USB ports directly, slightly more workable in a laptop port but still not usable.

      Also, it would only not fit in a bizarrely recessed port. Should work in any port that’s flush mounted to the outer casing.

      1. Over a decade ago, I bought a USB thumb drive to save my college homework.
        The school’s computers had “a bizarrely recessed port”.
        I ended up cutting the case back on the thumb drive to get it to fit.

      2. Yeah, but if you must use cable anyway why not use standard micro usb connector?
        It’s safe to assume that everyone have micro usb cable at home/office also it is more robust connection, these pcb connectors are always loose fit.

  2. Nice project, but would you want to work for the sort of company that’d plug in your (untrusted, unknown) business card? Which makes having a business card like that kinda self-defeating…

  3. Business cards?!?!? Aren’t those a thing of the previous millennium? I almost never get handed business cards now, and if I do it is from contractors that are computer illiterate.

    1. I dunno what to say, you must be in a different field. Even in the tech industry I deal with business cards. If you’ve just met someone and want their contact details it’s much easier to hand a card over. Bonus points if it has a vCard QR

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