A couple of months ago, I happily stumbled across the Fab Lab on Rutland street in Limerick. I was familiar with the term FabLab – a small-scale workshop offering personal digital fabrication, but having recently moved to Limerick did not realize there was one in city.

I went to an open evening to see the set up and what computer controlled machines were available, and subsequently signed up for a single day workshop using laser cutting and fabric design. I was excited to explore how I could fuse illustration together with lasers!

Through attending the workshop, I acquired a base knowledge of how to set up illustrator files for print on the Trotec laser cutter. I decided to embark on a personal project in order to learn more about the process and investigate how my illustrations would laser print on wood. I created an illustrated character series depicting my deep love/addiction of coffee and test printed these characters on hexagonal shaped coasters in MDF.


Hexagonal coaster design layout Title: Belly-Full-of-Coffee-Rubbing


Hexagonal coaster design layout Title: Hmmm, you taste like coffee


Hexagonal coaster print layout Title: Coffee protects our hearts!


Hexagonal coaster print layout Title: Coffee protects our hearts


Hexagonal coaster print layout Title: Yah! Coffee!


Hexagonal coaster print layout Title: Coffee feels yummy in my tum-tum!


Below, you can see the Trotec in action! Due to time constraints for using this machine I only managed to get two coasters complete but plan to finish the series when time allows.


Trotec laser cutter in action!


Coasters photoshoot!


Coasters photoshoot!


As I would like for the coasters to be usable, I decided I would explore the world of varnishes. I wandered into B&Q in search for a varnish and……… man oh man! I did not know so many varnishes existed!! I was very overwhelmed by the sheer number of varnishes available! After reading many many many varnish tins…….I decided on a matte varnish that would not be super shiny and create a subtle finish.


Varnishing in action!


Although still quite a noob in the area of laser cutting, especially when you can see what can be created. For example laser cut records, as showcased on Architizer – hhttp://architizer.com/blog/laser-cutting/

I am keen to keep exploring the area of laser cutting, creating more projects and explore how to use illustration with the medium. Watch this space!

For more information about the Fab Lab please see the link below