My dad gave me a special card for my 30th birthday. And then I tore it apart.
What astonishes me most is the quantity of materials and features that you can get for a mere $7.99. This birthday card has 4 batteries, a small circuit board, a web of fiber optic filaments and the resulting effect of light, sound and birthday magic.
The card was fairly easy to dissect, but through its construction, it’s obvious that these materials are not meant to be repaired or reused.
As for the manufacturing process, we can see evidence of how the elements are hand-assembled in the final stage (there are graphic marks for where to place the round battery pack & the clear plastic battery cover that activates & shuts off the animation when you open & close the card). The elements themselves are large-scale factory produced pieces: circuit boards made from a process described in-depth here; plastic parts injection-molded; the paper card from an inkjet printer. (I googled the circuit board serial number to no avail!)
Two construction choices that interested me were the way that the fiber optic filaments were individually threaded through tiny holes from within the card and popped out through the birthday message, creating the appearance of dozens of separate blinking lights.
The other is more a befuddlement than an interest: double-sided tape was used everywhere, but sometimes the backing hadn’t even been removed. Cleary the manufacturer should substitute double-stick tape for regular tape in some areas.