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I'm needing to print, on-demand (or relatively so), a few dozen ID badges and/or hard/transparent "business card" or "gift card"-like cards. Ideally, they should be full-color and fairly durable as they will be intended to be worn often.

They won't need magnetic strips or chips, just any sort of hard plastic card-shaped thing that can be printed on in relatively high detail; they'll be for visual identification only, with a barcode at most.

Google searches seem to give services that do bulk printing of cards, or expensive enterprise-level card writers that encode magnetic strips or chips in addition to printing.

I just want to be able to print on hard plastic surfaces, ideally spending less than $1000 on the hardware. I'm sure there's a solution somewhere, but can't seem to find it.

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I say get the Da Vinci Mini 3D printer, use that to print out plastic backings with a lip, and then print out stickers to put on top on a full-color inkjet printer of any description. You're looking at a total cost of well under $500, plus you get a much more versatile bit of kit into the bargain.

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