I started dating my girlfriend at a pretty awkward time. Just three weeks into dating her, Valentine’s day reared it head, and I wasn’t sure what kind of gift I should give her, if any. I mean, it had only been three weeks!
At the time, my workplace just got a new circuit board mill, and I was excited to make new boards with it. So I came up with a plan that was low on cost, but would still produce an awesome gift (to those nerdy enough to appreciate it). I had already made a “camera show” device that had a series of LEDs that lit up in a pattern, so the idea was to translate that design into a heart-shaped “card” milled out of a copper board, complete with her name etched on the front.
Since the basic board layout and Arduino code were already available, I just had to figure out how to translate it to a heart-shaped design. I followed the Fritzing guide for making a custom board shape and found a .svg heart shape online to use as the board outline. I used Inkscape to make the modifications required to import the file, and moved the LEDs around to follow the outline of the heart. I also swapped the AA battery holder for a coin cell battery holder to make it more “card-like.”
I etched her name by adding a machining process step in the PCB mill software, CircuitPro. Although I did get her name a bit wrong by only including the first portion of it! Hey, remember that we were only dating for three weeks at the time.
I’m happy to say that she loved the card when I gave it to her, and she even framed it to put on display!
And as a followup after posting my count up box valentine’s day project, 13 months in and she still has it on display!
View of the back of the board: