A $6 Custom Branding Iron

Some woodworkers like to leave their mark on their work using a branding iron, but at roughly $190 per iron, it can really be quite an investment. I took a less expensive route, using some free software, and a genius 3D printing service  called Shapeways.com.

I started by drawing up a couple of logo ideas in Inkscape, a free vector graphics application. I exported by design from Inkscape and imported it into Alibre Design, which is a fantastic parametric 3D modeling application that happens to be available for free in a feature-limited version. Once I was satisfied with the 3D model, I exported again, uploaded the file to Shapeways, and “printed” it in stainless steel. The total cost for the “AF” design was $6, and only $7.40 for the larger name logo.

I tapped the back of the iron and threaded a short section of 3/16″ steel rod, and inserted it into a little handle that I turned out of some scrap cherry. After a couple of test burns, I was pretty happy with the result. Next I’ll try sanding it down a bit to see if I can make it even cleaner.

Update: I’ve added a step-by-step tutorial on how I made these: Making the $6 Branding Iron, Step-by-Step. There’s also a video on how to use it here: Using the Custom Branding Irons.

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  1. Loring’s avatar

    very clever


  2. Lynne’s avatar

    extreme coolness


  3. Ryan’s avatar

    This is cool and I want to do this for my projects but I have a Mac. Is there a comparable program for this for me?


  4. Don Campbell’s avatar

    Do you manufacture branding irons for sale? I am a custom rod builder and would be interested in buying one to put my logo on cork grips.

    Thank you for your email reply,

    Don Campbell


  5. Gina’s avatar

    I would be interested in purchasing 25-30 of your brands! I work with wood and am in need of some very basic shapes that I use repeatedly. I would love it if you could please contact me to discuss placing an order!!! I would be willing to purchase ASAP.


  6. Michael Stewart’s avatar

    I would like 2 small branding irons made. Both have only text.

    First iron reads: PORT ALBERNI

    Second iron reads: Michael Stewart

    What will the costs be? How do I pay. I have VISA and PAYPAL.



    1. admin’s avatar

      I’m sorry, I only did a very limited run, and I’m really not set up to do this as a business. I have the instructions here on my website if you want to try it yourself.


    2. Jim cox’s avatar

      Are still making branding irons for wood and if so what are your prices ?


      1. admin’s avatar

        No, I’m sorry — I only did a very limited run, but I have the instructions here on my website if you want to try it yourself.


      2. Victor Vargas’s avatar

        Looking for a branding iron for my logo. Can you help?



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