Laser Cutting Leather

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Inspired by the recent Leather Pouch - Projects - Discourse – South London Makerspace by @Martyn_Thomas about laser cutting leather I’m keen to give it a go.

There have been a few posts previously about laser cutting leather, which all suggest that cutting leather is OK within certain restrictions:

However, it’s not on the list of supported materials - so I wanted to check-in with @lasertechs before attempting. My intention is to do the following:

  • 1.2 - 1.4 mm cow leather from the kip sides, vegetable tanned without dying
  • Cut it into short lengths - 250mm x 1500mm
  • Engrave a design onto the lather (before cutting, to avoid movement)
  • Cut small stitch holes for aesthetic thread to be added manually later
  • Cut holes for solid brass buttons to be attached and fixed

Having done a fair bit of research I’ve found a suggestion to use small flat magnets to help ensure larger pieces of leather are flat against the honeycomb. I am considering this approach and would like input. My concern is that given the magnets are non-anodised they’re not something you’d want the laser to touch.

I’d be careful about the placement of the magnets and build in the contingency of scrap around them to keep them well clear of the laser. Do @lasertechs think this is sufficient? Or would I best avoid this?

Not sure but I think the honeycomb is aluminium , ie magnets won’t stick to it!

On the tool page, I added some approaches to unlisted materials.
I’ve looked at Trotec Canada’s Youtube page and found a video on vegetable tanned leather.
This suggests that it is OK, so long as you match all their guidelines.

The bed is aluminium.
We do have a bunch of hold down pins (like these) that would probably help. They are in a box on the shelf behind the laser.

Best of luck with the project! Please post your findings in the Projects forum category.

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