Leather is widely used in many industries for its hard-wearing, warmth, and luxury. We now know hundreds of leather products, such as wallets, belts, jackets, notebooks, etc. For DIY designers, leather is an elementary material to engrave. The following will help you with all aspects of leather laser engraving.
- Leather characteristics
- Types of laser engraving on leather
- 5 tips for laser engraving on leather
- How to distinguish natural leather from synthetic leather
- How to choose a leather laser engraving machine?
- The best leather laser engraving machine
- How to clean leather after laser engraving
First, understand the characteristics of leather to help you better understand the leather material. What is leather?
Initially, leather is a material made from the skin of some animals after surface treatment. You can choose cowhide, sheepskin, deerskin, crocodile skin, etc. Later, people felt that the use of animal skin is too cruel, and according to the characteristics of leather research, a lot of leather derivatives. The following are some of the most common features of leather.
- High tensile strength: The central role of the animal's skin is to protect the body's safety, so it is generally tough to tear. The essence of leather is the skin of animals, so leather has a higher tensile strength than cotton, linen, cloth, and other materials. It is usually very difficult to tear it apart immediately by our human strength.
- Good elasticity: You can stretch leather to the shape you want without breaking
- Texture: The texture of many leather products is not formed by later processing, but the leather itself has its texture. This beautiful natural grain has also become a big feature of leather.
- Color: Usually, the leather itself is colored, but you can also change the color of the surface by using a laser engraver for leather as a secondary treatment.
Types of laser engraving on leather
Knowing the common types of laser engraver for leather will make you more comfortable with your choice of material. Here are a few of the types of laser engraver for leather that we commonly use:Cowhide: The large size of cow, cowhide is also large. So cowhide is leather laser engraving most of the time material. Especially in many leather sofas and homes, they are used especially widely.
Sheepskin: Sheepskin is the first choice of many light luxury leather brands because it is a very soft, light, and warm material.
Deerskin: Deerskin feels soft to the touch. Other types of leather have a smooth surface, while deerskin has a layer of fleece on the surface. You can use a leather laser cutting machine to turn deerskins into products such as gloves, towels and spectacle cloths.
Pigskin: Pigskin is also one of the leather materials, but we rarely use a leather engraver machine to cut it. It is rare that we even use pigskin to make clothes or trinkets. In China, we often use pigskin to make food because it tends to harden when heated.
Chamois: This is also a type of deerskin, but it is a synthetic version of the trimmings and is ideal for polishing glass, lenses, and other items. Currently, most Chamois you see on the market today are made of sheepskin.
Suede: This fibrous surface has been processed to form a fabric popular in many wallets, belts, and other products. We rarely make it into clothing because it has a rougher, grainier surface.
Synthetic leather: This material is very similar to natural leather. However, unlike natural leather, synthetic leather will burst on the surface after a few years of use and is less breathable. And the low price of synthetic leather makes it the first choice of many manufacturers.
Note: Synthetic leather engraving produces a lot of fumes and unpleasant smells.
These are some of the most common types of laser leather engraving. In short full, grain leather is the best leather for laser engraving. If you want to start your own laser leather engraving business, the above materials are the best choice. Of course, several kinds are unsuitable for laser leather engraving, you know which ones?
You can not engrave types of leather
- Synthetic leather (vinyl): synthetic leather is divided into many kinds. Containing vinyl of such leather is not suitable for laser engraving. This is because synthetic leather will produce harmful fumes during the engraving process. If you must engrave vinyl leather, you can use a professional air filtration cabinet to filter the fumes produced.
- Eel leather (PCV): Eel leather contains PCV, which produces harmful hydrochloric acid fumes during engraving. This odor is persistent and dangerous to health.
5 Tips for laser engraving on leather
Whether you are cutting by hand or using laser cutting and engraving, we need to pay attention to the following points. These 5 tips will help you to make your desired leather products more easily. It will help you to sell the first step of leather laser engraving.
1. Master the engraving depth
The key to laser engraving leather is the depth of the engraving. Proper engraving depth can make your engraving effect more three-dimensional and more detailed. If you want a bigger, darker engraving effect, you can reduce the engraving speed of the laser engraving machine or increase the engraving power.
2. Leather discoloration
Whether it is laser engraving leather or carving wood, yellowing around an engraving is a regrettable engraving phenomenon. It is frustrating to think that a beautiful engraving has a lot of smoky color around it from the engraving process.
The leather laser engraving process can be done by attaching paper to the surface. This way, even if the smoke has a smoky color, it will remain on paper and be removed after the engraving is completed. At this point, you can get a perfect leather laser engraving finished product.
3. Leather laser engraving should be kept wet before
I don't recommend laser engraving dry leather material directly. Because dry leather is easy to carbonize during the engraving process and will produce a lot of smoke during the engraving process. So we should wet the leather before laser engraving. This will make your engraving process more effective.
However, you also need to pay attention to the leather should not be too wet. Engraving too wet leather will damage the machine. The best level of wetness is a damp clothes kind of state.
4. Laser engraving leather settings
The parameters of laser engraving leather settings are also very critical. It would help if you kept testing the engraving parameters on the same leather material until you chose the one with the best engraving results. This will reduce material waste and visualize the different parameters' engraving effect.
5. Not engrave leather of unknown material
It is not recommended to engrave leather that you are unsure of the type, as it may produce harmful gases or damage the machine.
How to distinguish natural leather and synthetic leather
- Texture: The most direct way to distinguish is to observe the texture of the leather surface. The surface of natural leather has its special texture, while the surface of synthetic leather is generally less textured and very smooth.
- Leather body: Natural leather feels soft and has good elasticity, repeatedly pressed without traces; synthetic leather is generally hard, and repeatedly pressed will leave creases.
- Incision: natural leather can see a clear texture at the incision, and synthetic leather can see a trace of bonding at the incision.
- Breathability: Natural leather has better breathability, while synthetic leather has poorer breathability because it uses a lot of gums to bond.
How to choose a leather laser engraving machine?
If you want to buy a laser engraving machine for leather engraving, the following factors will help you become a great engraver.
There are several common types of lasers, as follows:
- Fiber laser engraving machine
- CO2 laser engraving machine
- Diode laser engraving machine
If you want to do your DIY design or use it to carry out your own leather business, we suggest you buy a co2 laser engraving machine. co2 laser engraving machine is compatible with many materials, such as leather, wood board, acrylic, glass, etc.
The range of laser power will directly affect your engraving effect, and the minimum power for cutting leather should be more than 30W. So before you buy a leather laser engraving machine, ask what the power of the machine is.
The engraving effect of leather laser engraving is directly related to the engraving precision of the machine. A high-precision machine is essential if you want a clear and beautiful engraving effect.
Natural leather is expensive, so many business people will choose cheap synthetic leather instead. But synthetic leather is made of glued sticky. The cutting process of a leather laser engraving machine may produce a lot of fumes, even fumes that produce toxic gas. So it is best to choose the leather laser engraving machine with air filtration.
When the leather is not wetted during the engraving process or the parameters are not set properly, the leather will be easily flamed. However, I do not recommend choosing a leather laser engraving machine with a flame alarm device on the laser head because it is
normal for many materials to produce a small flame during engraving or cutting. If the laser head senses the flame after making the machine emergency stop, it will affect your engraving progress.
Best leather laser engraving machine
Gweike cloud basic II
The biggest advantage of Gweike cloud basic II is its low price and also support for installment payment. The machine has a built-in 5 MP smart camera that supports smart image extraction. It also supports autofocus, a very convenient feature for first-time laser engravers.
The machine also has good safety features, not only an emergency stop button or enclosed housing, which ensures that smoke and laser will not spill out.
How to clean leather after laser engraving
Leather engraving after the completion of the cleaning is also very critical. Above we have told you that you can paste the paper tape to prevent the smoke color around the engraved leather. For leather cleaning, we need to remember the following points.
In cleaner cleaning leather, we need to check the composition of the cleaning inside to ensure that there is no damage to the leather or no reaction with the leather before continuing to wipe. Then we can first wipe a small piece of leather of the same material with the cleaner without reaction before wiping our leather products.
Of course, only some have enough chemical knowledge to help them determine whether the chemical composition is harmful.
This is the most common way we use CLEAN leather. You can use wet wipes or soapy water to clean our leather surfaces.
Applying paper tape to the leather before engraving it will remove the carbide from the source.
We must regularly wipe the leather surface with maintenance oil for large leather products such as sofas and beds. You can use a soft towel dipped in maintenance oil and then wipe the leather's surface repeatedly. This not only cleans up the dust on the surface of the leather but can also extend the service life of the leather。
You can engrave and cut almost any type of leather with its high power. For laser engraving leather, a CO2 laser cutting machine is your first choice. You can also opt for some diode laser machines, though such ones are suitable for engraving leather, not for cutting.
Before finalizing which machine to choose, check out the important factors we discussed or ask our staff.