Leather is a premium material that's been used for centuries but also exists in modern fabrication processes. Find out how to laser cut leather in this guide!
Laser cutting is just one of many ways to produce a leather design. Let’s explore some pros and cons of laser cutting leather to see how it stacks up to other methods, such as manual cutting, machine cutting, punching presses, and water jetting, among others:
Note: Never use laser cutters on synthetic leather and chrome-tanned leather as they contain chemicals capable of producing toxic fumes when burned.
Laser cutting has been growing in popularity in recent years, so the choice and quality of consumer machines has also improved. Here are some factors to consider when picking one for cutting leather:
If you need to find a laser cutter for leather, start with our 2019 laser cutter guide.
1. Prepare the file
When creating your design for leather cutting, you can use any application that outputs vector images. Vector graphics are versatile and come in many formats:
When creating your vector files, try to make them as simple as possible. Simpler designs with less lines save time and money, since the laser won’t need to trace so many lines. In addition, prevent overlapping lines in your design for the same reason.
2. Test the cut on cheap materials (e.g. cardboard)
Once you have selected the design you want for your leather piece, make sure the file is scaled to the right dimensions. To check this (and other settings), use cardboard first as a tester and cut the design. (It’s easier to spot errors when you have a physical sample.) Then, you can adjust the layout and improve the design for the real cut.
3. Cut the leather
The leather piece should first be cut into the appropriate size of your working area. Leather sheets are normally flat on the surface so there won’t be much of a problem straightening them before the real cutting job begins.
Finishing improves the look of the finished product, and the removal of burnt edges may be necessary for some cuts.
Want a laser-cut leather design without the hassle of using a machine yourself? You’ve got options:
Feature image source: threadlounge.com
License: The text of "Laser Cut Leather – What You Need to Know" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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