2015-12-06 (Su) Rubber Stamps From 3D Printer

Lots of Instructables have been made which show how to carve an eraser into a reusable stamp. I thought they were cool so I tried it myself. It required meticulous work and still didn't come out right. My first attempt was a simple asterisk. There was a work project which required me to place several hundred asterisks in key places and it was tedious so I tried to carve one instead. It didn’t work but it got the gears turning.

First/failed attempt at stamp cutting

I wanted an easy way to create rubber stamps which were machine precision rather than hand crafted. There is a time and a place for each. What I wound up making was a method that’s really inexpensive, except for the 3D printer, doesn’t need any cutting or sharp tools and the most dangerous thing is hot water. Basically, this could be done in an elementary classroom and each kid would cost less than dollar and end up with a small stamp. Pretty cool.

Enough background

A model was created using the STUFF symbol. This emblem was chosen because it can be represented with bold lines and squat proportions which should translate well to a stamp. The measurements of the base were taken from a Prismacolor eraser. The symbol was mirrored in OpenSCAD by scaling with a negative value for the X axis. (This turned out to be a mistake so don’t try to do this. Just insert the image as it should appear on paper. I didn’t realize this at the beginning of the project so don’t copy my mistake. In fact, I first printed the mold correctly but thought I made a mistake and reprinted a mirrored version. It was a good thing I didn’t throw out the first print.)

(Incorrect) Mirrored model

When the mold was printed a white polymer eraser was put into hot water for five minutes. Pink erasers were not tested, only the white polymer erasers. Once the eraser reached the water temperature it was removed with chopsticks, tongs would work best, and the water was shaken off.

Eraser heating in hot water

The mold was aligned with the hot eraser and clamped to a table with two clamps and a wooden block. Table, eraser, mold, wooden block. The pressure on the hot eraser would force the eraser to take the shape of the printed mold. It was allowed to cool for a couple hours. The exact cooling time was not measured. For this example the eraser cooled overnight. Rubber is an insulator so heat will not flow out of it quickly.

Eraser being pressed

Top view of eraser pressing

The result was promising. Pressure caused the eraser to bulge over the edges of the mold. A larger mold or smaller eraser would prevent this. Rubber bulging over the side could make stamping messy as the edges will touch the stamp pad.

Resulting stamp


To do:
  • Reverse image on stamp
  • Create stamp from other format
  • Make usable stamp
  • Test
  • Publish on Instructables

The rest of the posts for this project have been arranged by date.

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1.
Completed projects from year 2

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2015-11-05 (Th)