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3D Print Your Own Stamps – 9 Easy Steps

Picture of Daniel Subia
by Daniel Subia
Jun 13, 2019
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With your 3D printer, you can now expand into the world of making stamps. Stamps can be made for all occasions, and can depict your favorite characters, business logos, or text. The only limitation is your imagination.

3D Printed Stamps Stamps Made Easy

Some ordinary stamps.
Some ordinary stamps. Source: gshellprints.com

Stamps are used everywhere. This article will walk you through an example of how to make one. Here are the broad steps:

  1. Obtain or make a 2D digital design for the stamp.
  2. Make a mirror image of your design, if it isn’t symmetric.
  3. Turn the flat image into a 3D image.
  4. Place the image on a 3D block (base).
  5. Print the stamp.
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3D Printed Stamps Find or Create Your Design

Your stamps can be graphics, text or both.
Your stamps can be graphics, text or both. Source: Daniel Subia / All3DP

There are plenty of ideas on what designs are available to turn into a stamp. One major thing to take into consideration when you first start out making stamps is design simplicity. You will want to start out with designs that are simple. As you become more experienced with making stamps, you can add more complexity. For our example, we will create a simple text-based stamp.

The versatility of making your own stamps is that your stamps can be text, logos, pictures, clip art, or many other types of graphics. For simplicity, in this article we will make a text-based stamp. However, you can start with your own picture or logo. The process is the same.

If you already have a design in hand, you can skip to step three, and if your design is symmetric and does not have text, skip to step four.

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3D Printed Stamps Edit Design in a Graphics Program

Editing a stamp design in Inkscape.
Editing a stamp design in Inkscape. Source: Daniel Subia / All3DP

The stamp shown above was created in the free and open source vector graphics editor called Inkscape. Inkscape is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS platforms. You can use any graphics program you wish, such as Abobe Illustrator CC, GIMP, or Coral Draw. Also, you can just search the internet for an image that you would like to turn into as stamp.

For simplicity’s sake, stick to block style fonts if you’re stamping text.

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3D Printed Stamps Invert the Image

The inverted text design for the stamp.
The inverted text design for the stamp. Source: Daniel Subia / All3DP

When stamps are made, they have to be done in the reverse design of what you want your stamp to look like. If you do not do this, when you press the stamp to paper, the design will be a reversed mirror image of itself.

If you have a completely symmetrical design that you are turning into a stamp, then reversing the design is not needed. However, whenever there is text involved or the design is not symmetric, you have to reverse the design. Inkscape, or any graphics program, makes this easy. Select the text, then go to the ‘Objects’ menu and select ‘Flip Horizontal.’ The image will then look like a reverse mirror image of itself. Be sure to do all your proofreading before this step, as it is more challenging to look for typos when the image is reversed.

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3D Printed Stamps Create a 3D Volume from the Design

Importing a stamp design in Tinkercad.
Importing a stamp design in Tinkercad. Source: Daniel Subia / All3DP

Inkscape is a powerful graphic design program. However it is not designed to make three dimensional images. For that, we will import the image in to 3D modeling program, such as Tinkercad. Tinkercad is a free and simple, yet robust online 3D modeling program by Autodesk.

Tinkercad will import SVG files that you create in Inkscape, but before you bring it over, there is one important step that you have to do to the file that you are creating. That’s because Tinkercad does not like to import SVG files that have text in them.

If you are wondering how we are going to get it done if the stamp is nothing but text, don’t worry. All you have to do is select the text and then go to the ‘Path’ menu and click on ‘Simplify.’ Inkscape changes the text format into a format that is readable by Tinkercad.

After the file imports to Tinkercad, it will automatically turn the flat text into an extruded 3D volume. One thing to point out here is that you can make your stamp design completely in Tinkercad without Inkscape or other graphic design programs. However, there’s just one font style to choose from when making stamps with text.

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3D Printed Stamps Add a Base

Creating a base slightly larger than the stamp design.
Creating a base slightly larger than the stamp design. Source: Daniel Subia / All3DP

Now that we have the reverse image in 3D, we need a base to set it on. In Tinkercad, create a shape that will be the base of the stamp.

Depending on your image, you may want to make the base a square, rectangle, triangle or circle. In our example, we made a rectangle that is just slightly larger that the area of the text. In Tinkercad, you can easily change any of the dimensions, like length, width, and height by dragging the object with your mouse to the desired size.

What’s crucial to making stamps is the thickness of the base as well as the thickness of the design. Our example has a base height and design height of 5 mm each for a total thickness of 10 mm. You can play around with this number to get your stamps to a height of your liking.

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3D Printed Stamps Join Design with the Base

A side view of the joining process.
A side view of the joining process. Source: Daniel Subia / All3DP

The trickiest part of this whole process is placing the design on top of the base. in our example, once you have both set to 5mm in height, you then have to move the design “up in the air” a total of 5mm so that when you slide the design on top of the base, it is sitting on top and not inside the base.

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3D Printed Stamps Print At High Resolution, High Density

A fully-printed stamp on the print bed.
A fully-printed stamp on the print bed. Source: Daniel Subia / All3DP

Import your stamp file into a slicing program to get it ready to print. There are some settings to take into consideration at this point. First, you will want to set your printer to print at a higher resolution. This will be especially important when you begin to make stamps with finer details. Second, you will want to use a higher percentage of infill – no less than 50 percent. In some stamp designs, you may wish to go higher.

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3D Printed Stamps Optional: Making a Handle

A generic handle can be printed separately.
A generic handle can be printed separately. Source: pinshape.com

Print a handle for your stamps separately. The handles can be printed at a low resolution with low infill – there’s no need to waste filament on this part of the stamp that doesn’t need as much material to make it work. For this same reason, when you are making the base of your stamp, don’t make it too thick. Five millimeters should be plenty thick. When both are printed, a few drops of superglue should stick them together.

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3D Printed Stamps Start Stamping

The finished 3D printed stamp.
The finished 3D printed stamp. Source: Daniel Subia / All3DP

When you are done printing your stamp, get an inkpad and start stamping. Most people will likely be printing with ABS or PLA, which is a hard material. There are soft, flexible filaments out there that you can try if you find that printing stamps is what you want to do frequently. But when you do use a hard filament like PLA, be sure to use your stamp with a soft surface like a rubber mat under the stamping surface – this will help with the ink transfer from the stamp to the paper.

Feature image source: -Username-goes-here- / Reddit

License: The text of "3D Print Your Own Stamps – 9 Easy Steps" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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