Tag Archives: cork

43: Starman Coasters

A close-up of one coaster. Look at that texture!
A close-up of one coaster. Look at that texture!

Not the Starman you were expecting, was he? These coasters feature the Starman, an emblem from Rush’s  album 2112, as opposed to the Starman, an enemy from APE’s game Earthbound.

The original cork engraved well but cut poorly.
The original cork engraved well but cut poorly.

This project was originally intended to be cut out of a sheet of 1/4″ cork that I’ve had lying around for quite some time, but when I was preparing the job, I had much less time for iteration than I wanted. I only gave the cork about three attempts before I moved over to salvaged wood.

Too much power while engraving means cooked cork.
Too much power while engraving means cooked cork.

Cork engraves beautifully with very little power. My initial engraving was so overpowered that the burnt cork impacted the fidelity of the art, but lighter power settings engrave so well that I might be able to get two or three shades of art without having to rely on halftones. I expect to experiment with that in the future.

Did I mention this is some dirty, sooty stuff?
Did I mention this is some dirty, sooty stuff?

Unfortunately, laser cutting the cork is much less useful. At the quarter inch thickness I went with, the power required to cut clean through burned the cork too much. Unfortunately, some of the outer shape broke off easily despite the material’s thickness—cork isn’t all that sturdy!

Starman Coasters (2 of 7)The design engraved and cut into the same salvaged wood that I use for the Beer Goes Here coasters on Etsy. I normally use one standard power pass when engraving the wood I salvage, but for this project I did two engraving passes of a lower power to try to let the grain texture come through better. It seems like a success, though the contrast of the wood grain almost makes it hard to see the Starman.

These were a housewarming gift for my nephew Kevin, who recently moved into his own place in Chicago. Now they can accompany the Rush sign he and I made at least 52 weeks ago: it’s mounted on a wall somewhere in his new place, too!

Another close-up angle. Down with collectivism!
Another close-up angle. Down with collectivism!