QR code stencil upmanship

As far as I know, I was the first person to publish a generalizable method for creating a QR code stencil or to even clearly document why such a method was difficult.

However, since that time, I have realized that other approaches would ultimately be superior. The two I have been pursuing are automated embroidery of qr codes and improved stencils using laser cutting or 3d printing.

I will likely be abandoning the latter work, now that my early attempts have been eclipsed by Golan Levin at the Studio for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon. This work is being released from fffff.at, whose motto is: release early, often and with rap music.

Here is a link to his post on his new laser-cutter QR code stencil generation code. Along with his first application, a remake of hobo-coding.

Golan gave me a shout-out on the post he made. In some ways, it is hardly justified, since his method obviously surpasses my chicken-wire method in several ways. In fact, the only outstanding benefit to my method now is that it is much cheaper, and you do not need access to a laser cutter. The codes generated from his method are cleaner, and could probably be made smaller than my methods, and do not require an hour of working with caulk.

In a private email, he mentioned the possibility of a githib release soon…

In any case, take a look at the wonderful photos of the stencil in action.

6 thoughts on “QR code stencil upmanship

  1. Hey Fred
    Thanks for the kind props. Though I’ll quibble with the idea that the chicken-wire method is cheaper 🙂 Online services like Ponoko.com will lasercut a wide variety of materials (e.g. acrylic) for just a few bucks, and ship anywhere in the world. In the cheapest possible scenario, the PDF generated by my software can simply be printed out (from a standard desktop printer onto heavy paper) and then hand-cut with an X-Acto knife and a ruler.
    Let’s stay in touch about this. I really liked your suggestion (by email) to implement an option for white-on-black stencil generation.

  2. Great point about the online laser cutter services. I had not thought of that. Still, laser cutters are fundemenatally a rich-world device, and chicken wire and caulk will work even in the poorest countries. Which sometimes matters for the environments I often target.

  3. hmmmmmm, ur worried about creating a QR code stencil with a laser cutter as a “rich world device” when the every user has to have a hand held computer with a a digital camera and an internet connection to make any use of it….OK.

  4. I am hopeful for the android digital-divide crossing devices. QR codes will be the first viable 2d-bardcode URL technology available in the third world. Its not perfect, but its the best idea I can think of…

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