Embedding QR codes onto B-spline surfaces for 3D printing

Ryosuke Kikuchi, Sora Yoshikawa, Pradeep Kumar Jayaraman, Jianmin Zheng, Takashi Maekawa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Recent advance of Additive Manufacturing technologies allows us to manufacture various parts used in real-world products. Consequently, product tracking of such 3D printed parts is an important issue. Quick Response (QR) code which is a two-dimensional matrix barcode invented by Denso, a Japanese automotive industry, in 1994, can be used for this purpose. It can store more data than the 1D barcode in a smaller space, and using a smartphone as a scanner, one can directly visit a website where all the information of the parts is stored. However, QR codes require secondary procedures to add them to products and are also vulnerable to wear and tear. Moreover, QR codes cannot be added to freeform surfaces, but only to developable surfaces. In this paper we propose a novel technique to embed QR codes onto CAD models consisting of freeform surfaces represented by B-spline surfaces, which produces 3D QR codes. 3D QR codes work similar to 2D QR codes and can be read by existing QR scanners, but are designed by grooving the surface to obtain light and dark regions caused by ambient occlusion. Unlike conventional QR codes, 3D QR codes do not fall off from the part and can even be painted if necessary. Furthermore, we do not need to prepare dark-colored and light-colored materials for 3D printing as the dark color is provided by the grooving. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our technique with various examples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-223
Number of pages9
JournalCAD Computer Aided Design
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sep
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D printing
  • B-spline surface
  • QR code

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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