I was not going to do a sugar glider Christmas ornament this year. Times are tough, money is tight and I hadnt found the time to pick some art and begin work on the transformation. But at the end of November some forum members started poking around for an ornament so I decided to work on one at the very last moment and we managed to get it out in short order.
The 2009 ornament can be seen here
and can be purchased until early January. We only do a limited run for these things each year so you have to buy it now if you want it.
The 2008 ornament can be seen here
. It was a success and a lot of fun to do. It was the very first time I ever tried to do a laser machine wood piece. There was a whole lot of back and forth and experimenting and waste involved but we learned a whole lot and brought all of that along to 2009 which we nailed with the very first data file and prototype.
It is not easy converting artwork into the vector format that a laser machine requires. Most digital images come in raster form and there is just no easy, quick or automated way of converting. There do exist some tools to do it for you but they all suck and just do not get the job done, so it gets done by hand. Essentially, the art is redrawn or traced referencing multiple layers so that the machine can follow the final map and know when to do a light etch, deep etch or a cut. The machines can even do a raster kind of output but I havent found a use for that yet. All of the raster we did last year just did not have the detail I was looking for in a quality ornament. Yet, it might be neat to try to overlay a photo onto something after it has been vector lased first.
Most of the laser etched items you find out there on the market now are from purchased clipart, are not detailed and are generally just cut, not etched. Our ornaments always have multiple layered details and I cant wait to keep experimenting with the machine to see what I can get out of it. With the right extensive multi-layered data set, the machines can practically do a smooth graduated curve or bump or pretty much any kind of 3D output from a flat piece of stock.
So then there is the logistical side of selling something like this. Each unit has to be presented somehow, protected, boxed, packaged and then shipped. The size of the ornament this year did not fit in a near-sized box by any means, so we had to compromise and go for a much larger standard sized one. The ornament then was very loose inside of the box so I had to come up with some way of protecting it. A custom greeting card did the trick. The ornament has a ribbon threaded through it and it is paperclipped to the inside of the card to keep it safe.
So after all of this effort, you get a neat and unique item and I'm happy that we can offer these things here for those that like to participate and help support the site.