I used a laser cutter at the London Hackspace to make a card for my mum this Mother's Day. Needless to say, with this and some hand delivered cup-cakes she was a very chuffed mum indeed.

The design of the card is in the style of the war-time 'Keep Calm and Carry On' morale-boosting posters. Mum's a keen tea drinker, so I ditched the main part of the crown, and designed a tea-cup to go in its place.

The design was done as a vector in Inkscape, and transferred onto the laser cutter's own cranky 'engrish' CAD package. Here vector paths were translated into laser movements, and the laser power and speed was adjusted. Getting these parameters correct was the most tricky part - either not cutting through the card fully, or setting fire to the damn thing!

To discover the optimum cutting settings I employed a technique similar to one I learned at school for photographic developing. I built a grid of lines, and adjusted the laser power for each one, increasing a little at a time. After cutting and examining these I could select the most suitable setting.

The card itself was cut and engraved into textured white board, with a crimson red paper inner.

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