Leather has long been used with laser cutting machines and remains a good medium for laser engraving or cutting. Both chrome or veg-tanned leather can be used with laser cutters but as with many laser cutting materials, there are some tips and tricks to make this successful.
First, confirm that your leather is recommended for use with your machine. The basic rule of thumb is that if your leather is a natural, genuine real leather product it will work! Both chrome tanned and veg-tanned leathers are suitable for use. All of our Realeather products are genuine, real leather.
Synthetic or vinyl leathers often contain PVC and are not recommended. However, always check with your laser cutter's manufacturer to confirm. Some commonly used types of leather are cowhide, lambskin, deerskin, pigskin, or suede.
Next, always start by testing out your laser cutting machine on a scrap piece of the leather you will be using. This allows you to ensure that the design is accurate and determine if there are any issues with your machine's power level. As well, leather is a natural product and there are natural variances in the material composition.
Other things to keep in mind when using a laser cutter is that fumes are inevitable since the laser vaporizes and burns the material to make cuts. Keep your machine in a well-ventilated area. We also learned of a handy tip to keep the engravings from leaving stains from the smoke on the edges of engraved surfaces. If you don't want that, cover the surface with masking tape to protect it. The masking tape will protect the material around the engraving from smoke and won't require additional power to cut through. After engraving, just peel the masking tape off.
Once you have your design perfected, your leather cut and prepped, and all testing done to ensure your finished product fits your idea, all that remains is to do it! Enjoy using a sustainable, natural material to make your latest laser cut project!
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