DEFCON artwork onto the front side. Laser engraving was
a feat questioned by e-Teknet — my trusted fabrication and
assembly facility based in China that I have worked with
for many years. They were particularly concerned with
how the reliability and quality would be affected after the
boards were handed off to an outside vendor for
engraving and then returned to them for assembly and
To make things more difficult, there are many facilities
that will perform laser engraving services on marketing
and promotional items like glassware, wooden drink
coasters, or metal keychains, but very few were willing to
risk working with an atypical material like a circuit board.
After some negotiating, e-Teknet agreed to handle the
subcontracting to the laser engraving facility which was
conveniently also located in China.
Seven unique badges were created to denote the
different types of DEFCON attendee: Human, Goon,
Press, Speaker, Vendor, Contest Organizer, and Uber
(awarded to the winners of official DEFCON contests).
Neil Kronenberg, the resident DEFCON artist, used his
mastery of the pen to create compelling artwork
corresponding to each attendee type. When all seven
badges are placed side by side in the correct order, a
landscape image appears as a complete portrayal of the
DEFCON conference (Figure 6).
Seven different soldermask colors were used on the
back side to help DEFCON staff quickly identify the
Figure 5. Close-up of my personal badge
attendee type (Figure 7). To help with the problem of a
Human simply painting their white badge red to gain
Goon status, the first letter of each attendee type (for
example, “H” for Human) was routed out of the aluminum
substrate in the bottom corner.
September 2011 49