I imagine I speak for women everywhere when I say that it is surely every young girl’s dearest wish to one day have their own flatbed laser cutter. Well, Dear Reader, that day has finally come for me. I have this very afternoon purchased a second-hand Epilog Zing laser cutter.

I have no idea what I’m going to do with it when it is delivered*. Of course I was always going to buy one sooner or later, but before I actually bought it I was going to be all sensible and find a load of outlets for my laser-etched and laser-cut products, like….erm….making dog tags with pictures of people’s actual pets on them, or etching christening gifts with pictures of the actual babies on them.

You know when you’re a kid and you get a new pair of really sharp scissors and then suddenly there comes an irresistable urge to start snipping loads of things with them, just to check how sharp they are? Fingernails, paper, hair, curtains, carpet, that sort of thing? I’ve got a terrible feeling that a similar but oh-so-much-more-creative urge is going to overtake me when I finally receive the Zing. Oh dear. Under the guise of ‘learning how to use the features’, I sense that my first few experiments will be food-based. That way even if the design goes wrong I won’t have wasted any money on the raw material, because I’ll be eating the evidence anyway.

…In my head just now I have invented a new type of ‘marquetry’ toast/sandwich, that involves two pieces of very precisely-cut white and brown bread, with the cut-out pieces carefully swapped over.

"Marquetry Toast" - artist's impression
"Marquetry Toast" - artist's impression

Of course, this equipment isn’t just a toy. I need to get it working as soon as possible and to provide myself with enough income so that the laser not only pays for itself, but will start to help me make a living as well. My disability might prevent me from getting a ‘proper’ full-time job, but my ability should allow me to find other ways of supporting myself. On the negative side, I am effectively gambling a large chunk of my compensation money away on a big piece of machinery in the hope that my craft/writing business will eventually start to pay the bills. But on the positive side, there is a bit more to it than just “hope” after all, because (a) over the years I’ve been doing bits of teaching and writing and craftmaking already, so I should be able to build on those experiences, and (b) I’m going to WORK HARD at it and not just “wish for it” or think I deserve it just because I “want it so badly” (e.g. like so many X-Factor contestants seem to think).

* This particular laser cutter has a working surface area of less than two square feet, so although I don’t know what I will be doing with it, I know that one thing I won’t immediately be doing with it is strapping Sean Connery to the base and switching it on and going “No, Mr Bond — I expect you to DIE. Mwahahaha.”.