Benbox Laser Machines/CO2 Lasers/3D Printers

General Category => Engraving => Topic started by: Mason on June 05, 2016, 05:54:45 PM

Title: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: Mason on June 05, 2016, 05:54:45 PM
Hi Everyone!

This is my first post on the forum.  I just got a A5 5.5W Laser Engraver from Gearbox.  It arrived yesterday and after 5 hours of trying I managed to get it together and looking nice.  Took another 5 hours to learn about GRBL and get a firmware that worked with my controller and to learn how to control the intensity of the laser. I burned a hole through the card table I had it sitting on.

I work for a small leather shop that is Amish ran.  I am the only non-Amish working there and they asked me to try to set up something that will let us personalize leather wallets and belts with laser engraving ( so here I am ). So my question is this.  I am using Zax's T2Laser Software.  Does anyone have any experience laser engraving leather and what sort of settings seem to work best?

Thanks!


Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: Administrator on June 05, 2016, 06:16:38 PM
Welcome Mason...!!!
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: Zax on June 06, 2016, 05:43:16 AM
Welcome, and thank you for your support!

I've done some leather engraving and thin leather cutting too, one thing is it stinks, but that's probably not news to you. If you can get over the burning flesh smell the results are pretty good.

Similar to engraving on denim, it bleaches out the tanning/stains so darker leathers work the best and you don't need much power or it will deteriorate the leather strength.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: jbrasfield on September 12, 2016, 09:00:28 PM
Doing leather is the reason I bought my engraver. Only had it about a week. I did a leather case for en external battery I carry for a gps unit. My alignment was off but it seemed to work okay. I used the standard benbox and everything seems to work.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: jbrasfield on September 12, 2016, 09:22:15 PM
Another example. The x alignment is off but that was my fault. I set the center of the pic at 50mm offset instead of 60. Good burn it looks like.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: Zax on September 13, 2016, 09:40:54 AM
Those look great!

(leather works well in these machines but can smell pretty awful)
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: Heartlander on October 09, 2016, 04:15:19 PM
Welcome to the forum, Mason. I am also a newbie. I make cell phone wallets out of leather as one of my distractions. They hold currency, credit cards, driver license, etc. a pair of "pen" (pencil thick) reading glasses or an actual pen or pencil, plus your cell phone (via adhesive Velcro pads). They also have an old school hidden compartment to stash a $20 bill or whatever for extra safekeeping.

The main thing is, they are great at protecting the phone if you drop it. I've used this design for three years, keep improving them and am on my third wallet. Dropped them many times, never had a phone damaged. My kids are envious.

Anyway, I am currently using a nice medium brown fake Alligator embossed cowhide and the engraving looks great.

I think you are on the right track. Me? I love the smell of burning flesh in the morning!
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: nottingham82 on October 23, 2016, 10:26:33 PM
Doing leather is the reason I bought my engraver. Only had it about a week. I did a leather case for en external battery I carry for a gps unit. My alignment was off but it seemed to work okay. I used the standard benbox and everything seems to work.

Do you remember what speed and resolution you used for those?
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: nottingham82 on January 14, 2017, 10:02:49 AM
ok well a coworker who makes leather western gun holsters, belts, and wallets gave me some good quality scrap leather for testing purposes.  I will report back on what settings i like and results.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: Zax on January 14, 2017, 10:11:08 AM
Tanned leather engraves great, thin leather can be cut too but "oh that burning flesh smell".
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: HaniC on January 14, 2017, 10:19:50 AM
Does cutting or engraving leather give off a bad smell?

I didn't quite get that from Zax's posts... :P
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: nottingham82 on January 14, 2017, 10:58:33 AM
do you have any good starting numbers for engraving zax?
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: ThothLoki on January 14, 2017, 11:25:27 AM
Tanned leather engraves great, thin leather can be cut too but "oh that burning flesh smell".

Are you a vegetarian?  ;)
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: Zax on January 14, 2017, 12:22:24 PM
You may be a vegetarian after cutting it a while, which is why I stopped  ;D) .

Engraving with a 2.5W, try speed 500 as a start. No bad smell engraving either.

Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: nottingham82 on January 14, 2017, 12:29:54 PM
really that slow huh.  cool I'll see what happens
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: Zax on January 14, 2017, 12:38:40 PM
It will depend on the surface gloss and color, the leather I used had a coating on it.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: nottingham82 on January 14, 2017, 01:46:36 PM
ok this is all unfinished leather so no gloss.  500 was way too slow.  1500 seems about right.  Went as high as 3000 but that is too fast to cut the tape.  Without the tape I got scorching. pictures to follow
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: Zax on January 14, 2017, 02:17:17 PM
That makes sense, unfinished should absorb the laser much better.

Looking forward to the results, you mentioned tape, I didn't use any as the coated leather just wiped clean.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: nottingham82 on January 14, 2017, 02:27:00 PM
yeah I tried saddle soap and it just smeared the ash into the leather.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: nottingham82 on January 14, 2017, 02:30:35 PM
here is the picture.  the ones at the bottom were untaped oddly enough where the 3000 didnt cut through the tape at the top it still engraved under the tape.  I'm actually running a burn right now where i forgot to focus and its not cutting the paper at all but I can see its marking the leather.... odd.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: nottingham82 on January 14, 2017, 02:56:39 PM
So I'm seeing that the cheap leather i started with is reacting very differently than the good leather my friend gave me.  The picture is the cheap leather.  The good leather doesnt cut nearly as deep and it doesnt seem to matter if its tapped or not. It seems best with no air assist and no tape which is not what I saw with the cheep craft store leather.

The good leather also doesnt scorch so I'm assuming the craft store stuff is treated with something even though its supposed to be unfinished.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: Zax on January 14, 2017, 04:09:22 PM
I've only tested tanned, like a wallet or belt leather.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: nottingham82 on January 14, 2017, 04:14:32 PM
so I tried to cut the leather (he says its called 7 ounce) with the laser.  Yeah it didnt work.  made a nice burned square thought.  I tried it with the cheap stuff and it cut a square right out of it. He says he has some lighter stuff too.  As low as 3 ounce which I guess would be thinner.  He wants me to do some designs for his holsters and wallets so this is just a test for some later projects. 
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: Kunaphil on January 15, 2017, 11:57:07 AM
Nottingham,
I keep reading about using tape.  Why and how do you use it?  What kind of tape are you using?

Thanks,

Phil
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: nottingham82 on January 15, 2017, 12:17:54 PM
So you just use painters tape. aka masking tape.  It works great for wood surfaces.  It keeps the hot smoke that comes from burning the wood from charing the edges of your engraving.  You want to try to avoid overlapping the tape because it can leave lines at the areas of overlap.  You can get the wide stuff from amazon.  I also use it to mask off an area i want to paint.  So if I  have a wood sign, I paint it, tape it, engrave it, paint the engraved area, then remove the tape.  The tape is safe to laser because it is just paper and adhesive.  I like the brown tape best... I dont know why but Ralph and I like it best.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: Hippie With A Cowboy Hat on January 23, 2017, 04:15:16 PM
I didnt notice the thickness of the leather being mentioned, and have no idea what 7oz means exactly.  I do need to cut shapes out of snake skin, which is considerably thinner than cow leather (ie. card stock thickness), as well as rubberized grip tape (like stair safety tread).  What would you cutting guru's recommend for a starting point? 

-Damn Hippie

Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: nottingham82 on January 23, 2017, 04:41:48 PM
I'll measure it Thursday with calipers. My buddy is the leather guy not me. He just says it's 7 ounce. That doesn't mean anything to me though.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: ggallant571 on January 23, 2017, 04:44:15 PM
Local junk/antique store has large collection of odd leather. I can see burning leather stinking up the whole house.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: nottingham82 on January 23, 2017, 04:46:45 PM
Yes it's quite smelly.

For cut speeds I would start at 100
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: Hippie With A Cowboy Hat on January 23, 2017, 05:02:39 PM
Havnt cut leather before myself with anything but scissors.  I have branded hundreds of cattle and horses over the years, and that stinks to holy he**, but think its more the burnt hair than flesh.  Moved to cold branding a few years ago, and no more smell.

My mind says leather should smell like bacon cooking, but apparently Im wrong.  Will see in a few days...
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: nottingham82 on January 23, 2017, 05:07:17 PM
Hmmm cold laser. There's an idea for the scientists. Maybe they can tackle it when the finish cold fushion
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: Hippie With A Cowboy Hat on January 23, 2017, 09:13:00 PM
I had cold fusion figured out once, but when I woke up sober the next morning, I had forgotten the secret. ..
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: ggallant571 on January 24, 2017, 07:39:30 AM
You didn't forget. The government has a covert operations department with advanced memory robbing technology and they stole it from you.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: Zambody on February 09, 2017, 03:14:41 AM
Hi, as usual much usable information. I'm using a 2.5W non TTL laser and the very good T2laser.
Have made some etching on leather for some knife makers. Found the settings 1000  230  .05  giving a good result.
/Sören
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: nottingham82 on February 18, 2017, 10:12:28 AM
here is a bit of leather i did on some scrap.  The JRD logo is my friends company (he does leatherwork).  The other one I pulled from the net.  speed 2500mm/min, resolution .1 mm, no air assist, no tape, and they are each like 30x30mm.  He was sooooo excited when he saw it.  I gave him some other stuff and he is gonna chop it up and see what it looks like after its stained.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: Zax on February 18, 2017, 01:27:08 PM
That looks great, I've only done tanned/dyed leather and it removes the color making a reverse image. You can do the same with demin jeans.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: nottingham82 on December 18, 2017, 10:37:02 PM
did a leather notebook for my sister.  I dont know why she wanted a buffalo on it.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: Zax on December 19, 2017, 05:09:47 AM
Looks like a highland cow to me  ;) , very nice job!
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: ThothLoki on December 26, 2017, 08:11:10 AM
very nice work. I am going to have to stop looking at this forum for a while. My engraver is sitting on a shelf in my closet. I want to engrave!!!!! I just can't bring myself to brave the -17F garage though.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: kibodwin on January 23, 2018, 05:19:20 AM
This might help you ThothLoki

http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Personalized-Hand-Warmers/

https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Rice-Sock

=)
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: ThothLoki on January 23, 2018, 03:46:54 PM
Haha. Funny man.
I am not worried about myself as much as my material and laser. With the warm up and cool down with the weather, I tend to get condensation on the laser machine. Also with it being so cold, many materials tend to laser differently. Learned that one the hard way last winter
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: ggallant571 on January 23, 2018, 04:41:56 PM
I suspect the real reason for not using the laser is that it is ice fishing season in Minnesota and he doesn't have electricity in the shack.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: ThothLoki on January 23, 2018, 06:17:47 PM
I suspect the real reason for not using the laser is that it is ice fishing season in Minnesota and he doesn't have electricity in the shack.

First, I need a shack.

Second, why wouldnt i have electricity? SOLAR MAN!!!!! (laser engraved fish.....yum)
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: ggallant571 on January 23, 2018, 07:59:35 PM
There are only 3 adults in the whole state that don't have a shack and they are all in custody.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: ThothLoki on January 23, 2018, 08:47:07 PM
OK OK .... I do have a shack. It is being used as a shed right now, but I do have one  ;D

You know us North Star State peeps
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: ggallant571 on January 23, 2018, 08:56:25 PM
And that's where you store the laser? Probably a state law against bringing lasers out on the ice. They might weaken the ice given their immense power.
Title: Re: Suggestions for Engraving Leather
Post by: ThothLoki on January 23, 2018, 10:19:36 PM
And that's where you store the laser? Probably a state law against bring lasers out on the ice. They might weaken the ice giver their immense power.

Remember, these lasers are good for 3mm. My ice is 18” thick. I’m good