QR codes have become very popular because they allow you to access information easily and quickly. 3D printing has enabled many people to create QR codes that they can use for various reasons. For example, to share their Wi-Fi network or details of their business.
To create a 3D printed QR code, you will need to generate the QR code using a generator and import it into CAD software such as TinkerCAD or Fusion 360. After that, create a 3D model of it. When you’re done, export it to your preferred slicing software as an STL file, adjust settings, and print it out.
Keep reading to learn more about using a generator to create the QR code, creating a 3D printed QR code for your Wi-Fi, business card, and more.
How to 3D Print a QR Code—Generator
One of the ways to create a QR code is by using a QR code generator. There are many of them available online, such as:
Here are some of the steps involved:
- Create the QR code using an online generator
- Convert the QR code image into SVG or DXF format
- Create a 3D model of the QR code
- Slice and print the QR code model
1. Create the QR Code Using an Online Generator
The first thing you should do is search for an online generator of QR codes. I usually use the QR Code Generator for free. Here is an example if you want to generate a QR code for your website.
Go to the QR Code Generator site and choose the URL option from a list of options available.
Next, paste in your website’s URL, and the QR code will be generated automatically.
After the code has been generated, hit the download button in the bottom-right corner of your screen to save the QR code in JPG format to your computer.
If you sign up, you will get the option to download the file in SVG format directly. However, if you haven’t, you can still follow the next step.
You can also generate a QR code for a website, YouTube video, or blog directly on Google Chrome. Here’s the procedure:
Open the website you want to create a QR code for. Go to the left side of the address bar and click the “Share this page” icon.
A drop-down menu will appear. Scroll down this menu and select “Create QR code”.
Your QR code will be created shortly. Click the download button to save it on your computer.
2. Convert the QR Code Image Into SVG or DXF Format.
Convert your file into SVG by using an image conversion website like Convertio.
Here’s how to do it:
- Import your file into Convertio
- Choose the format you want to convert it to (in our case, SVG).
- Finish by downloading the SVG file to your computer
If you have already downloaded your file in SVG format, then you should skip this step.
3. Create a 3D Model of the QR Code
Once you’ve downloaded your SVG file, use CAD software to turn it into a 3D model. Below is a procedure you can follow if you’re using TinkerCAD:
- Click the import button and upload the SVG file from where you saved it
- When the QR model appears, center it on your workplane and size the model to what you’d like it to be in the final design.
- Drag the QR model horizontally and vertically to the specific dimensions required using the tiny squares shown below.
You can also reduce the height of the model by dragging the tiny square at the center down to 2.5mm.
- Make a base or background for your QR code by simply selecting a basic rectangular shape.
- Drag the rectangular block and place it on top of your QR code.
- Once the block is on your QR model, adjust its height to 2mm so that the QR code can lie on top of it.
- Also, readjust its size by dragging its edges so that it can surround the QR code (make its length and width greater than that of the code). Align both the QR code and base designs at the center.
- Change the color of the base so that it contrasts with that of the QR code.
For example, you can give it a white color and the QR code a black one. You have to choose two contrasting colors for a QR code scanner to read the code.
Choose the color by selecting the QR code design and click on the circular icon labeled “Solid” on the right side of your screen. Choose the black color from the list of colors that appear. Do the same for the base, but select the white color.
For good measure, always use a dark color for the background and a light color for the code. After that, click “export” in the top-right corner of your screen. Choose the STL format, and your model will be saved in a folder that you will select.
4. Slice and Print the QR Code Model
The next step is to import the STL file into a slicer like Cura or PrusaSlicer. Here’s the process:
Click the folder icon and select your STL file from where you saved it. Once the model is loaded onto your workplane, click the slice button in the bottom-right corner of your screen.
Click preview to identify the layer at which the QR code starts to print. This will assist you in determining when you will change your filament.
Toggle the slider that appears on the right side of your screen to view each individual layer and determine where you’ll change the filament.
Go to extensions > Post Processing > Modify G-Code
- Select Add a script > select Filament Change.
- You can then enter in the layer where you want to change the filament out – select the Use Firmware Configuration
Input the layer at which you want the filament change to occur. This will prompt the 3D printer to stop, so you can swap filaments. In addition, change the Z position so the nozzle lifts up to allow you to change the filament. Close that window once you’re done, and click the slice button again.
However, the PrusaSlicer has a function that automatically asks if you want to insert a layer change and inserts it when slicing your QR code.
Lastly, preview the model again and then click “save to disk” to store the G-Code file on your computer or SD card. You can print it out anytime.
You can then download a QR Code Scanner and scan the code. Just open your phone’s camera and point it at the QR code until it fits into the frame. The scanner will encode the information stored and display a link that will redirect you to the site.
One user recommended QR2STL for generating QR codes. It also creates models of QR codes that can be used for printing.
I found this video, which explains how you can 3D print a QR code using a generator.
Another user commented that you could print in two colors by using scripts in color. He gave an example where a white QR code ends at layer 8.
You would add the change filament setting at layer 9 so that the printer would move to the side, and you would swap the white filament for the black before it gets there.
He noted that this might cause minor stringing since there is no retraction. However, they aren’t hard to get rid of.
Check out how you can use Cura’s filament change setting.
How to 3D Print a QR Code for Wi-Fi
3D printing a QR code for Wi-Fi is a convenient way of sharing your Wi-Fi details with family or guests. Here’s how you can do it, step by step:
- Generate the QR code for your Wi-Fi
- Create a 3D model of your Wi-Fi QR code
- Slicing the model and print settings adjustments
- Print the QR code
1. Generate the QR Code for Your Wi-Fi
Like the procedure above, you first have to start by generating a QR code that encodes your Wi-Fi details. To do this, you can use the QR Code Generator.
- Go to the site and choose the Wi-Fi option
- Enter your Wi-Fi name, password, and type of encryption.
- Tick the box beside the network name if the network is hidden.
- After that, you can download the JPG file for free. You have to sign up to download it in SVG format.
2. Create a 3D Model of Your Wi-Fi QR Code
Import the QR code for your Wi-Fi into a 3D modeling software. I prefer TinkerCAD, as it is relatively easy to use. You can work with any software that is best suited for you.
You can follow the procedure for creating a 3D model using TinkerCAD outlined before to create a 3D model of your Wi-Fi code. It involves importing the SVG file to TinkerCAD, sizing the model, creating a background for it, and exporting it to a slicing software as an STL file.
3. Slicing the Model and Print Settings Adjustments
Follow the procedure for slicing a model using Cura, which is mentioned above, to slice your Wi-Fi QR code model:
- Import the downloaded STL file into a slicing software such as Ultimaker Cura, Simplify3D, or PrusaSlicer. If you’re using Cura, just click the folder icon on the top left of your screen.
- Open and select the file from its download location. This will load the 3D model onto your workplane.
- Slice the model and then preview it. Use the slider on the right side of your screen to determine the exact height at which your QR code will start to print.
- The main purpose of this is to enable you to add a post-processing script. This script will allow you to switch filaments since you will need to use a different color for the background and QR Code.
- To add the post-processing script, go to extensions, post-processing, and select filament change.
- Input the layer at which the filament change should take place, close that window, and reslice the model.
- Export that file in gcode format to your SD card or printer.
4. Print the QR Code
As a final step, export the gcode file to your printer and print it. The printer will pause at the layer where the filament change occurs to allow you to swap filaments before completing the print.
Test the code by scanning it using your phone’s camera. This should enable you to join the specified network.
One user who had a Wi-Fi QR code 3D printed said that they used QR Code Monkey to generate a QR code. He then downloaded the QR code as an SVG and used Fusion 360 to make it 3D. After that, he modeled a base on which the QR code would sit and proceeded to print.
Since he was using black for the background and white for the foreground, he had to add a code to the post-processing option to enable him to pause and switch the filament mid-print.
Check out this video to learn more about how to 3D print a QR code for Wi-Fi.
Here is another useful video for creating a 3D printed QR code for Wi-Fi using Autodesk Fusion 360 and the Creality slicer.
How to 3D Print a QR Code Business Card
One great way to stand out from your competitors is to give your clients or potential customers your QR code business card. It helps them access details about your business quickly, and it is very memorable. Below are the steps needed to create one:
- Design your business card
- Generate the QR code and merge it with your card
- Merge the QR code and business card designs
- Import the STL file into a slicer
- Print the business card with a QR Code design
1. Design Your Business Card
To 3D print a QR code business card, you begin by designing your business card using CAD software. I would recommend TinkerCAD since you can make the QR code from there. To design your business card:
Pick a basic rectangular shape on the right side of your screen and size it to the dimensions you would like your card to be.
You can click on the model and input the specific dimensions on the left side, or you can drag the central point and edges to that dimension. I would recommend a height of 2mm for the model because it isn’t too thin or thick for a card.
Change the color of the base to white. You can do this by selecting it and clicking the circle marked “solid” from the pop up menu that occurs. After that, select white.
After that, you can select “text” from the “basic shapes” menu. Input the name of your business and its details in the “text” section of the dialogue box that appears on the top-right side of your screen.
Size up the text design and place it on the card while leaving space for the QR code. Make the height 2.5mm so that it sits 0.5mm above the card. This will prevent any shadows from occurring.
2. Generate the QR Code and Merge it with Your Card
Next, you’ll need to go to the search button and type in “QR code,” and click it. This will place the QR code on your workplane.
Click the QR Code, and from the drop-down menu that appears on the right side of your screen, input the text you would like to embed in the QR code. This can be the business name, email, contacts, and goals. Don’t put too much information.
Size the QR code model to ensure that it fits on the business card. Ensure its height is 2.5mm so that it sits on top of the card by 0.5mm. Drag it and place it beside the name that you also embedded. Align everything so that they look proportionate.
Select the text design and click on the circular icon named solid that appears in the dropdown menu on the top-right side of your screen. Change the color of the text to black so that it contrasts with that of the card. Do the same for the QR code.
At this point, you can make any adjustments you need, e.g. changing the dimensions. After that, your QR code business card model will be ready. Click export and check the “everything in the design” option. Save the file in STL format on your computer.
4. Import the STL File into a Slicer
Import the STL file into a slicer, or just drag and drop it from the folder you saved on your computer. I mostly use Cura for slicing my models. Remember that you can use any other slicer and it will still function well.
Slice the model like I explained in the first section and also make similar printer adjustment settings.
Once your model is sliced, export it to your SD card or computer.
5. Print the Business Card with QR Code Design
To complete this process, put the SD card into your 3D printer and print your business card with a QR code on it. If you use your phone’s camera to scan the code, it should redirect to where you can get more info about the business.
Here is an image for the business code designed above.
Check out this cool QR code business card design that is available on Thingiverse and how you can create it: Business Card by Maeshmaker.
This is another simple, but impressive, 3D printed QR code business card that you can copy and personalize for your design: QR Business Card by Samdoyle
One user who was designing a business card needed a QR code that was redirected to a specific site and one that would last. Another user replied that they could generate the QR code that contains their contact information straight from InDesign.
Check out this YouTube video illustrating the whole process in detail.
Hopefully that answers your question on how to create a 3D printed QR code, whether it’s for business, Wi-Fi or some other cool project that you have.