2024 Business Card Challenge: PCB Business Cards For Everybody

PCB business cards for electronics engineers might be very much old news in our circles, but they are still cool, not seen too much in the wild, and frankly inaccessible to those in other industries. For their entry into the 2024 Business Card Challenge, [Dima Shlenkevitch] is helping a little to alleviate this by providing a set of design examples and worked costs with suppliers.

Original green is still the cheapest option.

[Dima] lists key features every PCB business card should include, such as the expected thickness, restrictions for placing NFC components, and some aesthetics tips. Make sure to choose a supplier that allows you to remove their order number from the manufactured PCB, or it will look out of place.

Ordering PCBs with these specifications to keep costs reasonable requires effort, so [Dima] offers some example designs along with the results. If you want to have pretty gold lettering and graphics, you will need ENiG plating, increasing the price. Non-standard solder mask colors can also raise the price.

Will this help with the practical aspects of driving the PCB design software and actually placing the order? Obviously not, but the information provided gives you a leg up on some of the decisions so you don’t go down an expensive rabbit hole.

21 thoughts on “2024 Business Card Challenge: PCB Business Cards For Everybody

    1. Imagine you are a stonemason, looking for someone to work under you. One day a young wannabe apprentice pulls up with his info and contacts chiseled on a granite slab. Idk about you but I would hire the kid in an instant

      1. But the article is about fields outside of electronic engineering being able to produce PCB business cards. So your wannabe apprentice is handing their granite slab to someone who has nothing to do with stonework. Would get them noticed I supppose!

    2. You can get business cards with NfC stickers embedded in them. You can literally do everything that is shown, but you’ll need someone with a design skill set to prepare the artwork for print.

      For anyone else considering this, export your designed layers to a PDF. Then get a designer to take those PDFs, pull the vector data from them and prepare them for print.
      Provided you’ve prepared your PCB design to a standard business card size then its a relatively simple production step for the designer to adapt your pdf layers to a print-ready file.

  1. Instead of making the card slightly smaller than a regular business card, making it slightly larger will make it stick out when left in a pile of other business cards.

  2. And a reminder to *at least* go with the Lead-free HASL if you’re not doing ENIG. If you are legitimately handing out PCBs as business cards, don’t give away lead. Also have the fab cut them so the edges are clean and dull enough not to cut.

  3. Every card I have ever received has ended up in the exact same place in about the same time period

    The garbage can about 15 seconds after you leave. What decade is this? You still buy milk by writing a check too?

    1. Obviously the cost of the business card is a consideration. The attitude you describe only works if your cards are at a cost where you can give them away without a thought (I’d estimate somewhere around a $1/card limit). If your cards are $1000/card because you have a bunch of gold in it, then it’s going to matter when you give them away (and at some point you’ll probably end up on the wrong side of a bribery investigation).

  4. As said by other commenters, printing can be a much better option, you could also do spot varnishes and foil to have something stand out while still convey that you know hardware design. But even better… print two half size cards on one with a perforation between them and a call to action to tear and share with a colleague. You’ve then done a two for one, it’s something interesting for the recipient and something they can share increasing your chance of networking.

  5. For all the people with the thought of just using paper business cards – have never seen the magic these things create. Even at $3-$4 a piece they would be well worth their money. For one – the person on the other side is a lot less likely to throw it away. Most have a functional traces that you can add a simple circuit by adding common components.

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