This is a tutorial for some quick and easy custom coasters. These instructions are assuming that you are using the Universal Lasers @ TechShop Chandler, and that you have taken the SBU and are familiar with how to operate the machine.
For more information on the TechShop or to schedule a class, visit techshop.ws.
Step 1: Gather Materials
For this project, you will need the Illustrator file provided, and some thin (less than .125") cork. I got my cork in a roll from Hobby Lobby and cut the material down to fit the laser bed.
Step 2: Customize File & Print
Open up the Illustrator file and change the text to whatever you would like. You can make the text smaller and do the full last name, or any number of things. Just make sure that whatever you want to be etched on the coaster is in black.
When you have finished customizing the look of the coasters, go ahead and print from Illustrator to the laser program. From the print screen in Illustrator, make sure to hit "Setup" and "Preferences" to access the laser settings. Set your material height, and choose cork for the material. Make sure to hit apply, and once you are back in the print dialog, hit "Print"
Step 3: Setup Materials on Laser Bed
Since my cork came on a roll, it was not entirely flattened out when i went to put it in the laser bed. To counteract that issues, I used some masking tape to hold down the edges. Ideally, you would want to let the cork sit long enough under some weights that it will flatten out.
Step 4: Print to Laser
Once in the Laser Control Panel, use the "Focus View" option to move the laser head to the spot on the material that you want to start cutting at. Then use the "Relocate" option to move the image to where the pointer is positioned. To do this, select the grab point on the image that you want to line up with the start point, and then hit "To Pointer" in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.
Once you have the start point lined up, you can use the "Duplicate View" option to print more than one coaster at a time. In this example we will be printing 4 coasters by setting the both the X & Y to 2.
When you have completed all these steps, you are ready to start the file printing. Go ahead and press the big, green Play button.
Step 5: Enjoy Your Coasters
Wait for the laser to finish, and then remove the coasters and enjoy!