In this blog post Shapeways community member James Herndon teaches you how to make a custom Bic Branding Iron that snaps onto a Bic lighter from a 2D image using Shapeways CustomMaker.
You don’t need a 3D printer, just an image, an image editing program like Pixlr and Shapeways.com to print your brand in real steel.
Yes, this is a branding iron, they get hot! Don’t do anything stupid with one of these, like burn yourself or an animal! If you do, please don’t blame me! 🙂
Step 1: Find your image
First of all you will need to find or create a black and white image for your branding iron.
When you upload your image the black areas will be extruded by 1mm, the white areas will stay in place. You should avoid any Gray scale or color images as they won’t produce as clean of a final brand but you can experiment if you want!
Step 2: Use Autodesk Pixlr to reverse your image (your Iron should be a mirror image of the final brand)
Almost every image will need to be reversed before uploading, that way the brand comes out the right way
This is super easy with Autodesk Pixlr, a completely free online photo editing program,
Navigate to https://pixlr.com/editor/ and choose to open an image on your computer or by inputting a URL
Then just click “Image” and then “Flip canvas horizontal”
Step 3: Use Pixlr to Invert your image and crop it if needed
If you found the perfect black and white image but it’s backwards, you’ll need to Invert it in Pixlr
To do this, just duplicate the background layer and change the new layer’s mode to “invert”, that’s it!
If you need to add white space around your image, just increase the canvas size by a few pixels with the center as your anchor. (do this if your brand gets distorted at the edges, you’ll know what I mean later when you go to make your branding iron)
If you need to remove space around your image just use the crop button in Pixlr.
If you have a rectangular shaped image then you may need to rotate your image in Pixlr as well.
The 3D base models all have the longest edge of the rectangle running left-right, so if you have a tall skinny image, you’ll want to rotate it by 90°.
Step 4: Upload your Image to Shapeways
If your image is mostly circular or square shaped follow this link:
If your image is mostly rectangular shaped follow this link:
If your image is a skinny rectangle follow this link:
Next just click on the “Choose File” Button and pick the image you made earlier!
Step 5: Order your brand, wait and burn!
This step is easy! Just click the “Add to Cart” button on the right and follow the process to order your Custom bic branding iron!
Shapeways will then 3D print your custom brand in Stainless steel and it should arrive in about 14-18 days worldwide!
After it’s arrived you just attach it to a Bic World Class lighter and then light it up for about 60 seconds or so (every brand is different)
Be sure to practice on some scrap wood first! Getting a good brand takes practice and you don’t want to mess up your 1951 Mickey Mantle rookie bat with a sloppy batman brand. (really though, that’s a dumb idea, if you have a Mickey Mantle bat just don’t brand it at all).