Laser-cut business cards version 1.1 have arrived. Watch out world.

Pictures:

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Skills used:

Rhinoceros CAD software

Description:

Being that I don’t have a job (as of 4/21/14), I am not entirely sure why I need business cards. However, the time is always right to make something cool. These contact cards feature my name, email address, phone number, my favorite quote, and a QR code that links up to my gateway site.

However, the most distinguishing factor of these cards is the fact that they are laser cut from pure basswood (I have a couple of cool acrylic ones, but they are less than stellar, and the QR codes are unreadable).

The QR codes themselves are an interesting point. Since the laser cutter does not have a setting for basswood, I had to go through a couple of not-cut-all-the-way/light-on-fire trials to get it to a reasonable point of order. However, a quarter of the way though printing, I noticed that the QR codes were not easily readable because of some of the residual burning, so I lowered the power. The result is that 75% of the QR codes are readable, and the other 25% are difficult to read, but it is possible. The acrylic models however, are impossible to read.

Still, a stack of burnt wood looks quite nice, and given the right atmosphere, can be a real aid to my cause.

 

Pros:

    • Looks professionally made.
    • Extremely creative, and draws attention to me in a stack of others.
    • A unique style of business card that can get the attention of recruiters.
    • As many of my fans (a rather grandiose term for “people who know me”) understand, I like to bend the rules of professionalism (see “water bottle résumé” and “light-up duct tape tie”), and this is right up my alley.
    • I, for one, have always liked the smell of burnt wood. Must be from my boy scout background.

Cons:

    • 25% of the QR codes are unreadable, which may cause an issue down the line, depending on who gets what card (if I hand a non-working one to a really nice company, it may hinder my efforts). [===Update (4/22/14) === All of the wooden cards are readable, but some require special lighting (holding it at a 90 degree angle), since QR codes are read based off of shape and contrast.]
    • I need a laser cutter to cut more. I am thinking of building a desktop version dedicated entirely to this purpose, but that Is way down the line.
    • Much thicker than a standard business card (about five or six times as thick).
    • A stack of them is inconveniently large.

 

Opportunities for improvement:

I really need to make these thinner. The size makes them inconvenient to carry around. The acrylics are a tenth of an inch thick, while the wood ones are slightly larger.

 

Conclusion:

For what they are, they are really nice. This is one of those times that I can genuinely say that this version is better than the original in terms of creativity, style, professionalism, and general positive attributes. I will likely take these with me to career fairs and hand them out as necessary. Look out world, I’m on my way.

 

3D Printed Glasses

 Pictures:

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Skills used:

Autodesk Inventor, spatial reasoning

Description:

A pair of 3D printed glasses made on the uPrint in Lee Hall. I made the frame in inventor and printed it out, then put in prescription lenses I pulled out of an old pair of glasses that I had lying around.

This is actually the second version of this idea, and the original was extremely flimsy. For those of you who don’t know, 3D printer material is durable, but extremely brittle, and my original pair succumbed to this fault. This newer edition features a beefed-up form, as well as some stylish slots in the sides.

However, this version’s most outstanding feature is the inclusion of two flashlights in the sides. These flashlights run on standard button-cell batteries, which are easy to replace.

During field testing of version one, one of the waitresses at the ice cream shop I go to referred to my glasses as “legendary.”

[== Update 6/7/14 == I, with a heavy heart, regret to inform the world that these glasses were killed in action today on the volleyball court outside of Campbell Hall. They will be sorely missed.]

(The IPT and STL files for this part have been made freely available here.)

Pros:

    • It is a pair of glasses which I use every day.
    • It has flashlights in it. I have found this to be especially useful when working with electronics.
    • It shows others that I know how to use a 3D printer.
    • It makes me legendary.

Cons:

    • If you will ever see a stereotypical pair of “nerd glasses,” this would be it.
    • The material is brittle, and every time I use it I risk breaking it.
    • The lenses are old, and slightly out of tune from my current prescription.
    • It’s rather bulky, and It does not fold.

 

Opportunities for improvement:

A folding joint would be helpful. Since this version does not fold, it just sits on my desk since I can’t put it away.

 

Conclusion:

Cool thing. Interesting idea. Not horribly practical as a pair of glasses, but more of a statement that I can work the necessary devices like Autodesk Inventor, etc.

 

The Bottle Résumé version 1.2 is here!

Pictures:

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Skills used:

Microsoft Office Powerpoint

Description:

This is version 1.2 of my résumé printed on a water bottle. It looks unusual at first, but it has a number of advantages over a traditional paper résumé, as well as a number of disadvantages that traditional ones do not have.

One of the biggest things is its hit-or-miss nature. During testing with version 1.1 at a career fair, I attempted to give the bottle to two companies. The first was Nissan automotive company, which I thought would be a good first choice due to my highly mechanical nature. When I offered the bottle to the recruiter, her eyes lit up, and proceeded to say, “Oh my gosh, that is so cool,” then call her co-recruiter away from another interview to look at it. After questions and salutations, I left. Afterwards, I received an email from Nissan, stating how impressed they were by my résumé, and encouraging me to apply for one of their development jobs, but they were all in Bern, Switzerland, and over a summer that I needed to take classes in. I will never know if this was a genuine complement or simply sent to all applicants, but I prefer to think the former. Next up was Exxon Mobil, which was setting expectations high to begin with. The recruiter had a rather startled look on his face, and declined it, so I simply gave him a paper version and asked some questions. Not surprisingly, I did not hear anything back.

Updates to this version include a QR code that leads to my gateway site, updated computer skills, updated GPA, removal of my (soon-to-be outdated) school address, experience on the Human Powered Submarine Team, and a new backdrop featuring photos I took in Costa Rica.

 

Pros:

    • As with many of my other ideas, it is creative, and some recruiters (especially engineering recruiters) respect something different than the normal.
    • Recruiters stand around a desk for hours at a time in a hot room, meaning they are likely to be thirsty.
    • From the last point, think at how often you look at a water bottle you are drinking. Unless the reader is extremely good at chugging, they are going to look at it for more than thirty seconds, which is the big drawback of regular résumés.
    • It is a bit of a longshot, but because the bottle does not fold easily, it generally gets placed on a desk, in full view of competitors, I know that, for a fact, at least one person has been phased by this, and gives me an edge in the eyes of recruiters.
    • If a company looks poorly on creativity, than it can be argued that I do not want a job in that company anyway. This is highly disputed.

Cons:

    • The bottle itself is not easy to store, does not lie flat, and is overall rather bulky.
    • It has an inherent shock value. Some traditionalist recruiters may be scared off.
    • It is not as professional as a traditional paper résumé. The importance of this varies by company.

 

Opportunities for improvement:

The next thing I am going to do for version 2.1 is make the label larger vertically. This will give more space to provide information, and hopefully keep things from being put in 4-6 font size again, which is quite a pain to read. I also need to add my new address when I get my room assignment for summer semester, and again in spring.

 

Conclusion:

This may be one of the best or the worst ideas I have had, based on which company I interact with. The idea is extremely hit-or-miss, but in the world of job searches, it only takes one hit. The format of the résumé as a water bottle should be used in conjunction with a traditional paper résumé not as a replacement, because trying to jam a comprehensive amount of data onto a water bottle label is difficult, and it is always good to have a backup.

A laser-cut nameplate. Wow.

Pictures:

20140410_201247

Skills used:

Rhinoceros CAD

Description:

A basic nameplate for my door. It contains a pretty standard name, email address, and phone number. It also has an amazingly realistic doge decal, as well as a QR code that links up to my gateway site.

It was created by making cuts into acrylic using a laser cutter in Lee Hall, Virginia Tech, then painting the entire thing in black paint, followed by using a razor blade to scrape the paint off the main panel, without removing it from the depressed cuts.

 

Pros:

    • Allows people to know where I live, as well as get a feel for what I do.
    • Lets everyone know I’m an engineer. It’s better to tell them that up front.
    • Lets everyone know I’m not the most formal of people. It’s also better to tell them that up front.

 

Cons:

    • Anyone who passes by has my email address and phone number.

 

Opportunities for improvement:

Some of my laser cuts were not as deep as they should have been, especially on the doge. In addition, the doge meme will go out of style.

 

Conclusion:

Interesting to see as you walk down the hallway, but not of any purpose other than that.