Credit/Gift Card Upcyling

 

Introduction and Inspiration

I was scrolling down on my Facebook timeline one day until I ran into a video of someone recycling old credit/gift cards (traditional plastic card you use every day). The video featured him making keychains, guitar picks and replaced missing remote battery hatches. I thought it was such a creative idea to use these cards because are usually structurally strong and have a nice texture to them. When the upcycling project of the Aesthetics class was announced the first thing that came in mind with this video. I would love to reference the video here, but unfortunately the video was old and it is hard find where was it on Facebook. So I used YouTube to search for it and other similar videos, I was really impressed with all the ideas people came up with for these old cards. One of the most prominent ideas that stood out the most to me was making a phone dock out of a card. I really liked its simplicity and functionality and most importantly I liked to have one of these docks since a while ago (I am a big desk person and I love to have all my gadgets easily accessible on the desk). I adopted one of the designs I saw on the internet and then I started diverting to other designs of phone docks and other desk gadgets. Please join me in my journey of these products:

Inspiration and design credits for some of my work

As I said in the intro I was inspired by one of the videos I saw on Facebook at first. I quickly began searching

  • A Facebook video. I still can’t trace this back in my timeline because I saw it 3 years ago.
  • Have a website of how to recycle your credit card:
    http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/8-crafty-ways-recycle-reuse-credit-cards-1273.php
  • Have a video of the first Design of dock (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYGWoxy_pII).
  • Have a video with the sharp design of the dock https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPRaMmijJ3I
  • Website for the Dock that stands with one card
    http://www.mobiletransaction.org/20-practical-ways-recycle-credit-card/
  • Add setup wars and other setups
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTW2MN17j-L12h8Jq5fGGt8VV1ISZT-De
  • Amazon headphone wrap
    http://www.amazon.com/Kikkerland-HH40-BL-Small-Bobino-Cord/dp/B0042RVA38/ref=sr_1_5?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1454563118&sr=1-5&keywords=headphone+wrapper
  • Amazon cable management
    http://www.amazon.com/Quirky-Cordies-Management-charging-accessory/dp/B004GUS4XK/ref=sr_1_10?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1454563094&sr=1-10&keywords=cable+management

Design Process

Before I show you the products I would like to include what I had in the progress blog because it gives me and the reader an idea of where I was at the start of ideation and what it the project ended looking like: The following is what I had from the progress blog post:

For people who love to step up their game on Desk Setups, Phone and Tablet docks became a big part of this trending aesthetic. Docks are a nice way to hold your phone and/or tablet while charging, watching a movie or Facetiming (video conferencing) and allows you to easily operate and display content from your phone without holding it.

Here are a few of the most popular phone and tablet docks found on the internet:

I have a bunch of old/unused Credit and store membership cards that are sitting in my drawer doing nothing but taking space and occasionally causing a mess. Looking at them I thought I can probably us
e them for a charging dock for my phone and other gadgets.

Credit cards are usually associated with the reputation of bad spending habits. Americans spend more with credit cards than they make.  Irresponsible spending results in huge debts to a lot of households. In 2015 “The average household has $129,579 in debt $15,355 of it on credit cards” (Erin El Issa). So I think it will be ironic to some of these cards along with white cards.

 

Before moving forward in the report, here is a simple diagram which I believe is a nice representation of the some project objective and how it might change. Below is an image adapted from Design SOJOUN: http://designsojourn.com/design-processed-explained/

process-explained

The map I am showing above is usually the case for projects that are not set in stone. One of these examples in the real world is doing research. This happens a lot in research specially when unanticipated findings reveal more interesting ideas than what was planned for. This happened to me on this project when I planned to have phone docks made out of credit cards. This reveled the trending aesthetic of desk setups, which inspired me to do different accessories

Below is an image of our team design loop:IMG_5863

I think most of the class (including our team) visualized the process as a loop or iterative cycles. But while I was working on my designs for this class and other classes I realized that the process is always dependent on the need or the problem you are trying to solve in the project. I have had over 50 individual and group design projects while still being a student. After all these student projects I am confident to say that every project has its own chart. Not to say that they are different but the order of the processes is very different. Some times its cyclical and other times its organized. Time frame always plays a big role in the decision making as well as many other dominant deciding factors. Added below is a new diagram that I would like to add after the experience I had with their projects
Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 10.55.44 PM

The Diagram I have created centers around the design problem and need. Even though every one thinks of the process as a loop or unorganized I like to think of the process as some tasks that you have to always do and cross check back with the need and the other categories. And now for the design process of the three products I made

Phone Docks:

I started out with one of the designs I saw on YouTube. I further adapted other designs as I improved on them. My improvements were in the card stability and the aesthetics. Here are the three designs I had for the dock

Design 1: IMG_2771IMG_2773

Design 2:

IMG_2787Design 3:

IMG_2791

 

Cable Management:

The cable management device took the most prototyping and iterations. I lost my images for iterative designs for this one but it ended up being great. This is by far the favorite product out of the cards

IMG_2796

Headphone Wrappers

Once I have learned how to punch holes in the cards correctly I came up with the headphone wrapper pretty quicklyIMG_2804

Specifications, Aesthetics and Functionality Deliverables

My first vison of the project was to build a phone dock as I saw in one of the videos online. After I actually made one myself I moved to other designs with some improvements in terms of durability and stability. The phone dock worked as I intended. There were some stability issues with the ones I made due to the lack of perfectly straight lines on the edges and the contact points with the phone. I fixed that with some modifications and careful cuts of the cards I had.

My first objective was to make the phone easy to charge and use while on the dock. That actually worked simple. It was ideal in the landscape position. It was a good orientation to watch videos, skyping or with the use some apps on the phone. In addition to having the phone in landscape mode I also wanted to have the phone stand upright. Upright was ideal while navigating through the main windows of the phone. This was a little difficult due to the smaller size of the cards relative to the size of the phones. But I am sure given more time I can or someone else can come up with a smart idea of how to hold the phone upright with these small cards.

I started out with by using old cards I had in my drawer but then I asked the Buff one office for white cards to experiment with the color and maybe add colors to my cards. I found that having the designs out of plain white gave the devices a stylish, simple and clean look. It was initially intended to use white cards for coloring the cards, but whites worked better than expected and I decided to use the color as a final version. Colors can be added later as it will provide a great option for customizing the stands matching with the color of the phone or its case.

While looking at desk setups I was inspired by the great deal of cable management people had in their setup competitions. I really liked cable management devices and wanted to construct one on my own. Even though the need for such a device is easy but it’s a little challenging using a credit card. This took the most iterations until I got it right the last time. I wanted something simple to get wires into and out of. So what I did was punch holes with a paper puncher to look as clean as possible. I also used the hinge system found on the dock in order to hold the cable twice. The cable manager is my favorite device. I think it is a very clean durable device with excellent functionality. It could be modified for cable sized which is great but I think it is definitely a nifty thing to have on the desk to keep the hanging wires organized.

I always had the problem to headphone tangling while you put  them in a bag or a pocket. It is a frustrating experience. In the release of the iPhone 5 apple included a headphone wrapper, but it was bulky for anyone to carry around. I researched some methods of keeping these headphones from tangling. I found some kind of plastic loops which you can wrap the cables around. Using the idea of cleanly punching holes in the cable manager I thought it would not be a bad idea to use it for the headphone wrapper. It worked great I am really happy with its durability

 

Conclusion

I plan on using all three products on my desk. I have a set of improvements below that could drastically make the products highly polished.

  • Fix stability issues using better line straightening
  • Add upright orientation
  • Have the edge finishes cleaner to prevent scraping some phone surfaces (avoid sharp edges in contact points)
  • Include the charger in the dock so that the phone plugs as you put it on the dock
  • Even though I love the fact that this project is made out of recycled credit card and that they an be found at a low cost I would love to Explore different material like acrylic/wood and shaping them using laser cutters
  • I really like the cable manager. I am definitely going to make other cable management devices for a nice gift to some people who love their desks.
  • I am currently using the headphone wrapper and I would like to clean those sharp edges off of them.

Please feel free to see my Checkout my presentation and refer to the making video.

Presentation link is: https://prezi.com/qe4paeushgi7/aesthetics-in-design-upcylcing-presentation/

 

Gallery:

 

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53 Comments. Leave new

  • Great project, and excellent example of giving function to something that has become useless. I love how simple these are too make. One issue I had was that the phone docks were not a sturdy as I would have liked. This artifact may not work for someone who has a more heavy or oddly shaped phone. One suggestion I have is if you want to make the docks more sturdy you can try to layer two cards on each other and glue them together. Taking this idea a step further I think if you had enough cards you could make a dock for something big like a tablet. Great idea nonetheless and I can’t wait to see what else you can make.

    Reply
  • Anfal Abdulrahman
    February 7, 2016 10:48 pm

    Some of the pictures and videos were down unfortunately but I do recall few things from your presentation. Your project was one of the interesting projects to me personally because I like my desk. I remember few years ago I bought this wire wrapper, it is essentially a bigger wire with some sort of key that can sollow few smaller wires, it was ugly though. I really cannot wait for the day when we get rid of all wires. Meanwhile, we need creative people to fix the mess. Finally, I have to say that the ear headphone wrapper is my favorite, I think I am going to make myself one so I am going to give your credit for the idea 🙂

    Thank you Aly.

    Reply
  • I really liked your idea. I also really enjoyed watching your timelaspes. Have you thought about different ways to make the stands? Maybe with a laser cutter perhaps? I think that making some of the stands that can support a larger phone would also contribute to the overall robustness of the stands. it is somewhat difficult to read your blog post, since many images did not appear to load correctly. I also liked that I could see your design process flow and reasoning behind your ideas. Excellent project.

    Reply
  • I made a bookmark with a credit card once. Let me know if you wanna know how I did it.

    Reply
  • This is a great way to recycle these cards that would have otherwise would’ve ended up in the trash! To make the cards more sleek looking to make the gamer-desktop scheme, you could probably put a coat of black spray paint on them too! I also love the time-lapse video!

    Reply
  • Well done! I like how you recorded the time lapse of the whole process! I like how you are sharing the procedure of DIY the phone stands. I know average phone stocks or stands cost $10+. Definitely going to make own credit card iPhone stands.

    Reply
  • Brandon Boiko
    February 3, 2016 8:58 pm

    I like the functionality of your project and how easy it is to make. Great way to organize.

    Reply
  • I loved your presentation for the credit cards. I need to figure out how you did the assembly video, gave a lot of insight into the creation of your project. A recommendation if you wanted to mass produce these would be to make a mechanically punch them out using a custom device.

    Reply
  • I dabbled a bit myself in making phone docks, but I designed mine in solidworks and then 3D printed the final product. It’s really interesting that you decided to use credit and gift cards that you no longer had any use for. Expired credit cards and empty gift cards typically meet their demise in the doors of desks or through office shredders, but being able to convert those objects into something which has an entirely new and unintended purpose is quintessentially “upcycle” to me.

    Reply
  • I’m always just throwing these things out, so I love the premise. I was thinking you could even combine more than one using some sort of slotted features or something, great idea though!

    Reply
  • Ashley Zimmerer
    February 1, 2016 2:30 pm

    I like the shapes you chose, they’re all really interesting. Also, your time-lapse video was neat. I would suggest softening the edges and corners of the cards a bit, so no one gets cut while putting their phone on the stands. I wonder if you could laser cut the designs?

    Reply
  • Nicholas Flood
    February 1, 2016 2:12 pm

    Using credit/gift cards is a good idea, since the plastic is sturdy. The plastic could maybe use some sort of finish, just to give a cleaner look (could be customized to go with the overall color scheme of the desk). I also noticed that the white phone stand is falling apart at the crease due to over bending. Good work!

    Reply
  • I think this project is exceptionally useful. Did you determine the minimum size needed to make cord holder before making the final design (aka, the cord holder looks like large compared to the cord and would take up extra pocket space vs using the minimal amount of material). I really like the idea of having the cord holders be themed, kind of like how some phone cases are.

    Reply
  • There’s something refreshing about a project that’s as simple as it’s useful, and yours definitely fits the bill. What’s nice about it is that you branched off to different ideas of keeping a desk organized as well as supporting your phone. Next time, maybe you could customize the look of your creations by painting or drawing on the cards? It would add some personality as well.

    Reply
  • Joseph Yoshimura
    February 1, 2016 12:43 pm

    Very simple and very practical. I love it. I feel like this is something I would definitely use at home. Most likely to watch netflix for hours on end. If you could somehow combine the two parts together and make the stand also hold your headphones that would make it even more marketable.

    Reply
  • Cool way of recycling cards, I like that you made multiple designs for different functions.

    Reply
  • This is cool! Everyone’s got these laying around, so an awesome upcycling opportunity.

    Reply
  • Jacob McCormick
    February 1, 2016 12:41 pm

    Awesome idea! I liked the time-lapse video, but if you ever want to manufacture these you might want to keep that to yourself.

    Reply
  • Maybe the product (line) is actually a specially shaped hole punch that allows customers to create the end result.

    Reply
  • Anfal Abdulrahman
    February 1, 2016 12:41 pm

    Gamers desk aesthetics, that is a very cool inspiration. I liked your project a lot especially that it is very applicable to almost everyone’s daily life. I especially liked the ear headphone house.

    Nice work.

    Reply
  • It would be interesting to put these on etsy and see if people would pay a few dollars for them – it could be come a mini business in your spare time.

    Reply
  • Great iteration to explore designs and finalize your vision and aesthetic exploration! I think you ended up with some really cool designs and products. Did you have to sand the edges to keep them from being sharp?

    Reply
  • David Holliman
    February 1, 2016 12:39 pm

    Great production on the video… would of liked to see how you implemented the designs into your personal desktop setup or perhaps a before/after of cable management. Cool idea!

    Reply
  • Thomas Brunsgaard
    February 1, 2016 12:39 pm

    This is a really creative idea, and a unique source of inspiration. Your photos look like they could be for a Kickstarter product. Could you use some sort of plastic that could be lasercut and still provide the integrity that you need? That would allow you to exactly reproduce and edit your design. If you end up pursuing an Instructable post, you could include to scale vector images of the outlines so users could easily replicate it.

    Reply
  • Sreyas Krishnan
    February 1, 2016 12:39 pm

    Nicely done, Aly! The time lapse videos were great. Given how sturdy these credit cards are, I bet you could connect a bunch of them together into an even bigger art piece if you wanted to do so.

    Reply
  • This is a very creative use of credit cards and gift cars. I have plenty of extra cards laying around and could use all of these products. The only issue I would see if that the edges are relatively sharp and scratch the phone or the person.

    Reply
  • Creative use of old gift and credit cards. The cable organizer would be useful for anyone! Maybe post how to make these more widely so others can benefit from your idea.

    Reply
  • Meridith Richter
    February 1, 2016 12:38 pm

    Besides having an interesting and useful upcycle design, I appreciated your thorough documentation. It was very helpful to see your design process/prototyping happen in the timelapse vid.

    Reply
  • I really like how you had precedent studies of where your inspiration came from as well as your various iterations. I liked the idea of recycling the credit cards/gift cards to give your phone docks and cord holders a personal touch.

    Reply
  • Cool idea, I would have never thought of reusing credit cards for something else. I like the aesthetic that the card adds to the phones. I would be concerned about the stability for those wire holders, how are you securing them to the table?

    Reply
  • Shawn Sprinkle
    February 1, 2016 12:38 pm

    Cool aesthetic to add onto, I’ve always wanted a gaming set up like the examples you showed. Have you thought about painting/decorating the products?

    Reply
  • Ryan Yankowsky
    February 1, 2016 12:38 pm

    Great use of plastic that is likely to be trashed, consider punching out / hot knife rather than scissors or razor blades for cleaner cuts and a more finished look.

    Reply
  • The credit card phone dock is slim and sleek. The time lapse video was a great addition to presentation. My only suggestion is to add some sort of rubber to the base so the dock does not slide around on the table.

    Reply
  • Awesome idea! I like how you looked at a common wasted material and focused on a variety of ways to solve it. These methods also solve common day to day issues and are things I think people will buy! I also really like how you provided videos as well too! One suggestion would be to maybe make them thicker with multiple cards to make them more stable. Awesome project!

    Reply
  • Chip Bollendonk
    February 1, 2016 12:37 pm

    Interesting variety of products you’ve made here – and cool time lapse.

    Reply
  • Brittany Warly
    February 1, 2016 12:37 pm

    This is a very functional idea I’ve never seen before. What a great idea and I like how minimal it is! I like the cable management system. That is a great idea being someone who consistently loses my cables on my desk. Great job on the video time lapse too! It’s simple and doesn’t take up much space, which is much needed in modern day given that everyone’s space is pretty cluttered.

    Reply
  • I really appreciate how unique your products are! Very cool recycling idea and professionally done! How did you learn how to do the folding, or was it a trial and error process?

    Reply
  • Peter Brunsgaard
    February 1, 2016 12:37 pm

    Super cool and simple idea! I really liked the time lapse video.

    Reply
  • Gardner Nichols
    February 1, 2016 12:37 pm

    Really cool idea. I feel like these are well developed products that are very useful. The cable holder idea is a very functional and simple design. I could see a packet of these devices being sold in a set! Nice idea and really good work!

    Reply
  • Brendan Warren
    February 1, 2016 12:37 pm

    Great video. Really summed up the project well. I really liked how meticulous you were, focusing on making sure they were all perfectly symmetrical.

    Reply
  • Cool idea! I definitely would do that as a DIY project. My cables are an absolute mess on my desk. Do you think you’ll expand outside of that to things like monitor stands, keyboard accessories, etc.? I love simple solutions like this! Nice work!

    Reply
  • Interesting design! Really good to see how you make those waste cards into those useful designs.

    Reply
  • I like the idea for the phone stand, but I tried to use it and it didn’t work at all. I saw a number of others having a similar experience. Perhaps you could reinforce it? Or does it only work for certain phones?

    Reply
  • Nice idea. I love the irony of your project. Next time, try to file or sand down the corners/edges so that it’s not as sharp. Maybe also include a larger stand for bigger phones in the future. It was great to see the headphone and cable management aspects as well.

    Reply
  • I horde my gift cards, this is great, especially the cable manager

    Reply
  • Samantha Maierhofer
    February 1, 2016 12:36 pm

    I like that you explored a variety of products that could be made with the credit cards. Which do you think you will use the most?

    Reply
  • Innovative idea! Could you publish a design for a laser cut version? Cable mgmt looks very slick. Great video!

    Reply
    • I like that idea, but you’d want to be careful- most credit cards are made from PVCA, which emits chlorine gas when burned. Most laser cutters advise against the cutting of polymers that contain chlorides because chlorine gas is corrosive to the optics, as well as being highly poisonous.

      Reply
  • Rachel Grosskrueger
    February 1, 2016 12:36 pm

    I love the presentation and the explanation behind your inspiration and design. These could be really marketable to students and seems really easy to make! It seems like your design process was very structured and very well executed. Very well done overall with the design, execution, and presentation!

    Reply
  • Great video! APD is paying off!

    Reply
  • Andre Szlendak
    February 1, 2016 12:35 pm

    I like the prototyping and use of something that everyone is disposing of. This presentation was very professional I was impressed with the use.

    Reply
  • This is a cool idea! I especially liked the cable management things you made and the timelapse.

    Reply
  • Christopher Coffman
    February 1, 2016 12:34 pm

    Really creative idea, I never would have thought of this. Impressive how you can make the structure strong enough to hold a phone. Cable management slots are awesome!

    Reply

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