I want to share with all of you a gift I've been preparing. I love finding good gifts and seeing people's reactions when they get something that truly blows them away. But this is the one I'm most proud of yet.
First, some backstory! Early February 2021, something amazing happened in Belgium. The winter cold wave hit hard and all over the country, lakes froze.
In the middle of an intense and frustrating lockdown, after a 5 months lull during which all ice rinks were closed and travel was impossible, Belgian skaters all across the country put on their boots and went to skate outdoors on lakes.
On February 12th, that's exactly what I did with my (at the time) friend from the rink. I posted about it here before. We had a blast of a time; truly a day you don't forget, and it came at a time where both of us were seriously depressed.
Today, that friend and I have gotten very close and she has become my skating partner. Recently, she moved in to her new apartment close to the ice rink, and I needed a housewarming gift for her! I settled on a keyring. It's very on-brand for a housewarming gift, and I myself have skate boots keyring ornaments kinda like these which are pretty cool. But this is someone I really like, and I wanted to personalize it a bit.
So I got to work, and a friend helped me trace the initial silhouette as vector since my tracing skills suck. I did clean it up in Inkscape, and I now needed somebody who could turn this digital silhouette into a real physical artifact!
I found this shop on Etsy, but they did not respond in time when I asked them about cutting that figure for me. So I asked my ex girlfriend (who is doing a Ph.D in metallurgy, soldering and metal printing) for some advice. To my surprise and delight, she volunteered to do the laser cutting herself!
And so we got to work. I turned the SVG into a DXF (thanks Inkscape for being able to do that!), and she helped me clean up some of the edges. We calculated dimensions, stress spots, and added an attachment anchor. Here is the final contour for the cut, and here is the first trial sample!
So, after fixing a couple more minor issues, she gave me eight samples. We engraved her trouser's pink stripes into two of them; they're very representative of her skating attire.
One final issue to deal with was the burn marks. The back of the samples had very burnt edges due to the laser. Today, I found a jewelry workshop which was able to polish that away. I then added a small chain and a cute little snowflake ornament.
And so, here is the final result:
Full album: https://imgur.com/a/SW7Sqdm
She's currently sick and in quarantine. Once she recovers, we are having dinner at her house. I cannot wait to see her reaction :)
Update: By a friend’s suggestion: Added a print of the original photo with a cute note on the back. Looking nice!