Don’t be discouraged if you’ve never tried creating anything out of leather. It’s much easier than it looks, especially when you have the right tools.
Laser cutting leather is the easiest and fastest way to get started crafting and it’s so precise you can cut intricate shapes and designs.
Now you can make custom leather accessories for yourself or gifts. You can also use laser cutting to personalize leather products and make them unique.
Here’s what you need to know to laser cut leather. Read on.
Choose Your Leather Material
When beginning to laser-cut leather, choosing the right leather material is an important step in the process. Leather is available in a variety of finishes, from soft and supple to stiffer garments and upholstery leather. Soft suede works great for laser cutting intricate designs.
This is while upholstery leather is ideal for larger projects or minimal laser engraving. The thickness of the leather material should also be taken into consideration when laser cutting. Thin, less than 2mm, or heavy, more than 4mm, leather both have their benefits depending on the project.
The type of tanning used in the leather-making process can also affect how the leather responds to laser cutting. Vegetable-tanned leather has a high carbon content, making it ideal for laser cutting projects. This is because chrome-tanned leather may not heat as evenly as vegetable-tanned leather and result in an uneven finish.
Use Protective Gear
When laser-cutting leather for beginners, it is important to use protective gear. This includes eye protection in the form of welding helmets or safety glasses with side shields. This includes protective gloves and a lab coat or other protective clothing.
Leather tends to produce smoke and can be a fire hazard when using a laser cutter. Eye protection is especially important as the laser beam is very powerful, even at low levels.
When first learning, make sure to use a low-power setting and start with thinner leather or leather scraps before attempting heavier materials. Once the protective gear is in place, make sure the material is properly secured in the laser cutter and the settings configured properly before getting to work on your laser cutting projects.
Prepare and Test Out the Laser
Before using a laser cutter to cut leather, it is essential to prepare and test the laser. To start, the laser should be placed on a flat surface or a solid base and plugged in. Be sure to read through the machine’s manual and cautions before you begin.
Make sure the work surface is clean and free from any debris. Before begin cutting, it’s important to test the machine. To do this, you’ll need to adjust the power settings and speed and then run some test cuts on scrap leather to monitor the results.
Also, recheck the dimensions and settings of the material you are planning to cut. This will help you identify any discrepancies and avoid any waste of materials.
After testing, you should be ready to start using the laser cutter for leather. You should also make sure to get the right laser engraving supplier. This will ensure that your laser cutting machine works fine and gives top results.
Create an Outline
For those new to laser-cutting leather, creating an outline or template should be the first step. Begin by determining the shape of your design and cutting the template out of paper or cardboard. Take measurements of your leather, adding 1-2cm to the outline length for extra allowance when you cut out the final product.
Once the outline is ready, attach the template to your leather with low-tack masking tape, tape, or a spray adhesive. During this step, extra care needs to be taken to ensure the template is secure, as it will be used for reference when cutting and shaping the leather. Once this is done, the leather can be placed into the laser cutter and the fume extractor set up.
Set the power and speed settings to the right level for the project and start the cutting process. If unsure, start cutting at lower levels and gradually increase the settings. After cutting, the outline should be ready, and the edges can be further trimmed and polished using a file or sandpaper.
Start the Cutting Carefully
For those new to laser cutting leather, it’s important to start with the proper safety precautions. Leather can easily burn if exposed to too much heat or pressure, so it’s essential to exercise caution when operating the laser cutter. Start by setting the proper cutting speed and power level for the type of leather used.
It’s also important to use the right type of laser to ensure the quality of the cuts. Additionally, be sure to use specialized eyewear and breathing protection when using a laser cutter. When ready to begin cutting, ensure the laser is in the proper cutting depth, and then make a few small test cuts in a scrap of the same type of leather.
This will ensure that the laser is properly focused and ready for the main cut. Finally, start the cutting carefully, gently guiding the leather onto the bed of the cutter. Then, use care and caution to avoid accidents or injury, and monitor the cutting progress closely.
Do a Post-care Routine
After your leather pieces have been cut, it is important to do a post-care routine. This should include cleaning leather by dampening a soft cloth and wiping off any dust or dirt.
You then should trim any uneven pieces or edges that may have been created during the cutting process. After that, it is important to oil the leather, such as with vegetable oil or saddle soap. This will help preserve the leather.
Finally, depending on the desired overall finish, leather can be treated with waxes, as well as a finish sealant for lasting protection. Doing a post-care routine is essential for ensuring a beautiful and well-finished piece of leather.
Learn to Laser Cut Leather Properly
Laser cutting leather is a great way to hone your craftsmanship skills and create beautiful pieces that can be used for a variety of purposes. With practice and the ability to understand the unique properties of leather, you can skillfully complete any project you set out to do.
You should also need to do thorough research in choosing the laser cutting machine. This will help you avoid low-quality results and hurt yourself. Try to laser cut leather for yourself and see the creative possibilities that await!