Letter Fab-ulous

Had some fun at the Tulsa Fab Lab this last week, making items to use for a fundraiser. I’m heading back to grad school to work on an MA Typeface Design at the University of Reading in the UK. Eeek, it’s expensive!

I made nearly 500 coasters (would have been more, but the laser had a temporary malfunction) out of clear acrylic and white acrylic.
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They look pretty cool when stacked! There isn’t any paint on these, unlike the HitchHiker’s Guide, because if the etched image is wide enough, it stands out just fine. Though I might still add paint to a few to change the color.
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Then while lasering another project onto wood, there was extra space so I shrank the coaster design down to an earring size. Waste not, want not! Can’t wait to wear them! I have eight pairs. I’m thinking about having a giveaway on this blog with a pair as the prize…
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I wish I had had time to design my own ampersand, but I really like this one from Charlemagne Standard. Laser-cut out of mirrored acrylic.
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Also on the mirrored acrylic, a lettered design of one of my favorite words by the amazingly talented PetitSerif. Positive and negative etches.
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This was my first time to seriously use the 3D printer. These below are cookie ‘stamps’. You press them into an unbaked sugar cookie to create the design. Printed with PLA filament on a Makerbot printer.
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The laser cutter and the 3D printer both can take a while to run a project. So in the meantime…I experimented with the vinyl cutter. It was my first experience ever ‘weeding’, or removing the background of one sticker before applying it to a base sticker. Super tricky and tedious, if your design is really detailed! But a really neat effect if you get it right.
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So many stickers! There is much weeding in my future…
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Fab Lab Fun

What happens when a type designer-artist is let loose in a fabrication lab? With a laser cutter? Well, all kinds of crazy stuff gets created!

The Fab Lab in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Oh how many more hours I could spend there!
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While I was in grad school, I worked on a project I called ‘experimental graphemes‘ that I modeled after Jessica Hische’s ‘daily drop cap’. Once a day I posted an elaborately drawn letter to this blog. Since I’m still obsessed with letters (I *am* a type designer, after all) I decided to digitize the letters and etch them to small pieces of wood, roughly the size of playing cards. And I decided to use Fontlab instead of Illustrator for the letters. Which may have been a little nuts, but hey…I learned some tricks and got better at using Fontlab in general!

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It was so neat to watch the laser cutter do its thing. It etched the letters in a linear fashion, but none of us could figure out why it took the route it did in cutting the letters out…etched letters-2

Finished! My plan (in my free time) is to sand the letters and then color them with water colors. But there’s no telling when that will happen.etched letters-3

More Fab Lab Swag! In addition to the 26 letters etched on wood, I also etched 4 on plastic, made coasters, two ipad stands, a wooden box with a ‘living hinge’, etched two plaques and created a piece of art using recycled plexiglass circles. My friend’s comment at the end of the day was “with great planning comes lots of goodies”!
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I didn’t make these, but…

these cardboard letters are pretty stinkin’ cool! The are part of an exhibit by James Grashow called ‘Corrugated Alphabet Project’ at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, USA. As you can see, some of the letters were enormous! I enjoyed how he switched from regular to italic and uppercase to lowercase to spice it up. The varied scale kept it lively as well.

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My initials!
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An “M” for Mel
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