3D Printed QR Codes: Beyond the Flat Surface

Shahla Abdulova

Jun 05, 2024

3 min read

3D Painted QR code

Have you ever wondered what a QR code with depth and texture looks like? Enter the world of 3D QR codes! These eye-catching codes not only pop out like mini sculptures. Imagine scanning a QR code that brings animations and 3D models to life right before your eyes!

Why use 3D QR codes? They are incredibly durable and can withstand harsh environments better than traditional stickers. They are also visually attractive and can be customized with colors and logos to match your brand perfectly. This makes them ideal for creating engaging marketing campaigns and promotional items that stand out.

Curious about how these advanced 3D printed QR code works, and what makes them so special? We'll dive into all the fascinating details and show you how 3D QR codes can transform the way you share information and create interactive experiences.

What is a 3D QR Code?

Imagine the classic QR code you see everywhere, but with a twist: it has depth, texture, and a bit of magic. That's a 3D QR code!

These upgraded QR codes pop out like sculptures, making them visually striking. They’re designed to be easily scanned from different angles, even in tricky lighting. Plus, they can be customized with colors and logos, turning them into eye-catching elements.

Some 3D QR codes can even unlock cool augmented reality (AR) experiences, making animations and 3D models pop up right before you. While they're not as common as regular QR codes, 3D QR codes are a fun and futuristic way to share info and create interactive adventures.

So, next time you scan a QR code, look closely—you might find a 3D version ready to wow you!

What are the benefits of using 3D QR codes?

Curious about how 3D QR codes can elevate your business? 3D QR codes are more than just a modern twist on traditional QR codes—they offer a range of exciting benefits that can take your marketing and branding efforts to the next level. Let’s explore some key advantages that make 3D QR codes an intelligent choice for your business.

  • Durability: 3D-printed QR codes are incredibly reliable due to their built-in error correction capabilities. Additionally, they are highly durable, meaning they are less likely to get damaged than traditional stickers or printed codes. This durability ensures they remain functional and readable for longer, making them a more practical choice for long-term use.
  • Eye-Catching Design: 3D printers have vast creative potential, encompassing many design possibilities. This allows you to create QR code designs that are not only functional but also visually appealing. With 3D printing, you can experiment with different shapes, colors, and textures to produce unique and attractive QR codes that stand out and catch the eye, making them more engaging for users.
  • Flexible Marketing: One key advantage of 3D-printed QR codes is their ability to enhance marketing strategies. By embedding a QR code onto a promotional item, you turn it into a mobile advertisement that many can carry and see. This adaptability allows your marketing efforts to follow your audience wherever they go, extending your brand's visibility and reach dynamically and effectively.
  • Custom Designs: 3D printing technology enables the creation of QR codes in various unique shapes and designs that can be customized to match your product specifications. Whether you need a QR code to fit a specific space or convey a particular message, 3D printing allows you to design a QR code that perfectly aligns with your branding and marketing goals. This level of customization helps create a more targeted and effective marketing tool.
  • Increased Engagement: If you aim to create a memorable and engaging experience for your customers, 3D-printed QR codes can provide that "wow" factor. These codes are more visually striking than their 2D counterparts, making them more likely to capture and hold your audience's attention. The unique and interactive nature of 3D-printed QR codes encourages users to engage more with your product and brand, fostering a deeper connection and increasing the likelihood of repeat interactions.

What are the disadvantages of using 3D-painted QR codes?

Curious about the challenges of using QR codes in 3D printing? Let's dive in!

While 3D-printed QR codes have many benefits, there are some challenges, too. The quality of 3D printers and the clarity of the printed QR codes can affect how well they work. The QR codes might not scan properly if the details aren’t clear enough. Additionally, 3D printing, especially on a large scale, can be more expensive than traditional methods, which can be a problem for businesses. Also, not everyone has a smartphone or the necessary app to scan QR codes, which means some people might be unable to access the information. These are essential things to consider when using QR codes in 3D printing.

Creating Your Own 3D QR Codes: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a 3D QR code is easy and fun. Follow these simple steps to generate your custom QR Code using the QR Code Creator website.

  • Visit the QR Code Creator and choose a QR code type. Go to QR code generator tool at QR Code Creator. From the options at the top, select the type of QR code you want to create, such as Website, PDF, Email, Text, Phone, WiFi, SMS, and more.
  • Enter the required info and customize your QR code. In the empty box, enter the information you want to encode, whether it’s a website link, text, contact details, or any other data. Then, customize your QR code. Choose a sticker design for your QR code. Scroll through the options and select the one you like best. Customize the color of your QR code to match your brand or style. Select different shapes for the dots and eyes of your QR code to give it a unique look. You can also add your logo to the center of the QR code to make it more personalized and branded.
  • Generate and Download. On the right side of the screen, you’ll see a preview of your QR Code. This lets you see how your customizations will look before you finalize your design. Once you’re happy with your design, choose SVG type and click the green "Generate & Download" button.
  • Modify the 3D design. With your QR Code in SVG format, the next step is to convert the 2D QR code into a 3D model using QR to STL software that features an extrusion tool, like ZBrush, 3ds Max, or Blender. Blender is particularly user-friendly for beginners. During this step, ensure you don’t change the squares in the code, as this could affect its readability. Also, make sure the background contrasts with the code for proper scanning. Consider the measurements of the object to which you’ll attach your 3D print QR code. When satisfied with your design, export the 3D model.
  • Choose a 3D printing method. Decide on a 3D printing method. The two common choices are Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Stereolithography (SLA):
    • FDM: Uses melted and layered material to create the model.
    • SLA: UV light is used to cure photopolymer resin, which is ideal for irregular shapes.

Choose the method based on the complexity of your design. For simpler designs, FDM is sufficient.

  • Select your materials. Pick your 3D printing materials, such as thermoplastics, ABS, and PLA. Consider the required durability, intended use, and desired colors. For example, PETG is excellent for water-resistant designs.
  • Print Your 3D QR code. Set up and initiate the printing process. Be patient, as printing QR codes requires precision and may take time. Avoid buffing the model to prevent altering the QR code’s pattern. Once printed, test the QR code to ensure it scans appropriately with your phone.

How small can a QR code be printed?

Can you imagine how small can QR codes be printed? The minimum size for a 3D-printed QR code is similar to that of a 2D QR code. A QR code size must typically be at least 2 x 2 cm (0.8 x 0.8 in) for reliable scanning. However, the size might vary depending on the 3D printing quality, material, and detail level. Different 3D printers have varying resolutions, which affects how sharp the tiny details of the QR code will be. Higher-resolution printers can produce more minor, more detailed QR codes. The type of material you use and the level of detail it can achieve are also essential factors. Some materials can capture finer details better than others, so choosing the right combination of printer and material is critical to creating a high-quality 3D print QR code.

Innovative Uses for 3D QR Codes

Have you ever wondered how 3D QR codes could transform everyday items? From enhancing marketing strategies to adding a touch of modern style to personal items, 3D QR codes open up a world of creative possibilities. Let’s dive into some of the most exciting and innovative ways these codes are being used today!

Marketing and Advertising

Marketing and Advertising

Imagine creating unique and interactive marketing experiences with 3D-printed QR codes. Picture a QR code embedded on a keychain or product packaging that, when scanned, leads to detailed information, special promotions, or even interactive games and augmented reality experiences. These QR codes can make your brand more visually exciting and engaging.

Interactive Learning Experiences

Interactive Learning Experiences

Incorporate 3D-printed QR codes into educational models or toys to create interactive learning experiences. Scanning these codes can reveal extra information quizzes or trigger augmented reality learning experiences, making education more engaging and fun for students.

Art Exhibitions

Art Exhibitions

Artists can use QR code 3D print in sculptures or exhibitions to add another interaction layer. These QR codes can provide additional context and hidden messages or allow viewers to participate in the artwork through smartphones. They can also serve as unique design elements, adding a layer of intrigue and modernity to artistic creations.

Product Identifying and Tracking

Ever wondered if your product labels could withstand harsh conditions? 3D-printed QR codes are the answer! They are far more durable than traditional labels and perfect for harsh environments. Plus, they can be seamlessly integrated into your product design, making them nearly impossible to mess with.

Are you curious about where your products come from or what they're made of? QR codes can help you find out! These codes can link to detailed information about a product's origin, materials, or care instructions. This means more transparency in your supply chain and more knowledge for your customers.

Personalization and Identification

Personalization and Identification

Imagine having a medical ID bracelet with a 3D-printed QR code that stores vital medical information, making it easily accessible to emergency personnel. Or picture a customizable business card that stands out, featuring a 3D-printed QR code that links directly to your online portfolio or contact details. These innovative uses of 3D-printed QR codes make personal identification and networking practical and unique.


Begin to Create 3D QR Codes Now!

Easily design and customize 3D printed QR codes with our intuitive tool. Enhance your marketing and branding with unique, eye-catching codes.

The Strategic Use of QR Codes in 3D Printing by Brands

Looking for ways to boost your marketing and customer engagement with 3D-printed QR codes? From adding interactive elements to products to creating unique customer experiences, these innovative strategies reshape how brands connect with their audiences. Check out how some of the biggest names stay ahead of the competition with 3D-printed QR codes!

  • Nike: By adding QR codes to their products, Nike offers customers access to exclusive content and personalized services, making the shopping experience more exciting and unique.
  • Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola uses 3D-printed QR codes in its marketing campaigns to create fun, immersive experiences that strengthen customer relationships and loyalty.
  • LEGO: LEGO educational kits include QR codes, combining building fun with access to digital learning resources, making playtime enjoyable and educational.

Real-world Success Stories

The positive impact of 3D-printed QR codes is evident from the successes of these companies:

  • Adidas: Saw a 30% increase in customer engagement by using QR codes in their customizable 3D-printed shoes.
  • Prusa Research: Experienced a 25% boost in sales after adding QR codes to their product packaging.
  • MakerBot: Improved customer satisfaction by 20% with QR-enabled troubleshooting guides.
  • Shapeways: Reduced product returns by 35% thanks to QR codes that help with design verification.
  • Ultimaker: Increased repeat purchases by 40% by integrating QR codes in their loyalty programs.

Can You Print a QR Code with Your 3D Printer?

Ever wondered if you can 3D print a QR code with your own printer? The answer is yes, but success depends on key factors. Here’s the scoop.

  • Basic QR codes: For simple QR codes with clear contrast between light and dark areas, even a basic FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) printer, commonly used by hobbyists, should work fine.
  • Key factors for success: The printer’s resolution and the material’s ability to capture fine details are crucial for readability. A higher-resolution printer and a filament that produces sharp edges will make the QR code more scannable.
  • Multi-color QR codes: If you want your QR code to have different colors, it gets a bit more complex. Some printers have multiple extruders that can print in different colors simultaneously, which is ideal for creating high-contrast QR codes.
  • Alternative for color: No multi-color printer? No problem! After printing, you can paint the raised areas of your QR code. If you have a steady hand and some patience, this method can still give you a vibrant, scannable code.

Can I modify a 3D-printed QR code after printing?

Absolutely! That's the beauty of dynamic QR codes. Regular (static) QR codes hold fixed information within their black-and-white squares. Once printed, that information is permanent. But dynamic QR codes work differently. Dynamic codes are designed to be flexible. The data they link to can be updated or changed, even after printing the code.

When you create a dynamic QR code through a 3D QR code generator platform, you can log into the platform anytime to update the information the QR code leads to. This means you don’t need to reprint the physical 3D code itself.

So, even though the QR code 3D print stays the same, you can update the information it directs users to whenever needed through the management platform. This offers great flexibility and saves you from reprinting the code if the information changes. How convenient is that?

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Content Manager

Shahla Abdulova

Shahla Abdulova is the dynamic content manager at QR Code Creator, where her creativity and intelligence shine through in every project. Renowned for her SEO-friendly blogs, Shahla crafts content that not only engages but also ranks. Outside of work, she immerses herself in the arts, finding joy in drawing and reading. Her unique blend of skills and passions makes her an invaluable asset to her team and a constant source of fresh, innovative ideas. Shahla's dedication to her craft is truly inspiring, making her a standout in her field.

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