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Laser engraving of leather

Oct 05, 2023

With the help of laser engraving, contrasting and durable images and inscriptions can be applied to the leather. Laser machines for engraving leather are used for decorating leather products, applying logos and distinctive signs. Moreover, on some laser machines it is possible not only to engrave, but also to cut leather and other materials.

 

In this article you will learn:

• How Leather Laser Engraving works;

•  What are the advantages of laser engraving of leather;

• What leather type can be engraved with a laser?

• What can be done with the leather using a laser machine;

• What kind of laser machine is needed for engraving leather and cutting it;

• Which models of laser machines are suitable for engraving leather;

Tips for laser engraving of leather;

How Leather Laser Engraving works

The laser beam originates in the source of the laser machine and enters the leather surface via the optical system through the focusing lens.

There are two similar types of exposure that inexperienced users often confuse: engraving and marking. They differ in that when engraving, the laser beam burns out a thin surface layer of the leather, and the marking simply changes its color. 

•  If you swipe your finger over the engraving, you will feel the relief, while the marking does not create a relief, but simply changes the structure of the surface layer of the material.

 

At the same time, both engraving and marking are resistant to abrasion. Technically, both engraving and marking are obtained by almost the same way, only the working settings differ: speed, power and, in some cases, frequency.

Later in this article, for convenience, we will use the word "engraving", meaning both of these processes, if there is no need to indicate fundamental differences.

To create a laser engraving on the leather, you need to prepare a layout in vector or raster format, load it into the machine, set the settings and start the machine. Learning the basics of working on a laser machine on the leather takes only a few hours.

 

Advantages of leather laser engraving:

Manufacturers of clothing, accessories and other leather products appreciate the following advantages in laser machines for leather:

1)Accuracy and repeatability. The diameter of the laser beam is 0.012-0.0012 mm, and the positioning accuracy of laser machines reaches 0.003 mm. Laser machines engrave images on leather with one hundred percent repeatability and so many details that cannot be obtained by embossing;

2)Speed The speed of laser engravers on the leather reaches 700 mm/s, and the speed of laser markers can reach 20,000 mm/s;

3)Flexibility and cost-effectiveness. To create a laser engraving on the leather, no additional tools or creating a cliche are required. It is enough to prepare a vector or raster layout, select the settings and start the machine in operation. From the above it follows that there is an economic benefit when working even with small print runs;

4)High-quality image and stable result. Laser engraving of leather produces a high-contrast image with a detail of 2500 DPI. The applied images are resistant to abrasion and mechanical influences. The service life of a properly applied laser engraving on high-quality leather is equal to the service life of the material itself.

 

What leather type can be engraved with a laser?

The laser machine for engraving leather is capable of applying images and inscriptions to almost any type of this material. But there are nuances.

 

 

Laser engraving of natural leather

The laser is able to engrave any natural leather: smooth, aniline, lacquer leather, nubuck, velour, suede, plonge lambskin, chevrette, polished and pressed leather from almost any source material: hides of cattle, horses, sheep, goats, camels, pigs and deer.

• For laser engraving of leather, the percentage of moisture in the material is important. This indicator directly affects the settings when working.

Please note that even with the same supplier, the quality of the leather may differ from one delivery batch to another. Therefore, we recommend that you always carry out a test laser engraving of leather when receiving a new batch in order to select the optimal parameters.

 

Laser engraving of leatherette

In addition to natural leather, the laser machine also engraves its numerous artificial substitutes, including some of those that are not suitable for manual processing.

Suitable for laser engraving: smooth leather, embossed, lacquered, matte, eco-leather and artificial suede.

Attention! Leatherette on polyvinyl chloride basis is not suitable for laser engraving.

Materials containing PVC cannot be processed on a co2 laser machine, since when burning, this material releases hydrogen chloride and cumulative poisons, such as dioxins, which irritate the mucous membranes of the eyes and respiratory tract and can lead to death with a large dosage or prolonged exposure.

Despite the fact that most types of artificial leather are well engraved with a laser, we do not recommend doing intensive engraving of this material, since with deep exposure, the engraving will be short-lived. It is better to do shallow engraving or marking.

 

What can be done with laser engraving of leather

Laser engraving of leather is used in the manufacture and decoration of clothing items, accessories and other leather products. Thanks to CO2 laser engravers, it is possible not only to engrave, but also to cut the leather. This functionality does not apply to laser markers. Laser cutting of leather is used both for cutting material for specific products and for decorating it — for example, cutting openwork patterns.

 

 

On CO2 laser engravers, it is also possible to perforate perfectly smooth and identical holes for sewing.

With the help of laser machines, original drawings, emblems and logos, greeting and personalized texts and images are applied to the leather. Laser is often used to engrave leather covers of notebooks, sketchbooks and day planners, identity cards and passports, phone cases and glasses, business card holders, wallets and key holders, shoes and clothing items.

The scope of application is limited only by your imagination, the main thing is to choose a high-quality machine.

 

What kind of laser machine is needed for engraving leather and cutting it

Laser machines for leather may differ in the type of emitting source and in the design and method of engraving. First you need to determine exactly these characteristics, and only then look at the power and other parameters.

 

Emitter type of laser machine for leather

Laser machines for engraving leather are divided into three main types: gas-discharge, fiber-optic and ultraviolet. They differ in the wavelength of radiation, the wavelength affects which materials other than leather will be engraved.

Gas-discharge CO2 emitters

Suitable for organic materials:

plywood, veneer, MDF, various types of wood,
plastics (except PVC),
stone and ceramics,
glass and mirror,
textile

Fiber-optic emitters

They interact better with inorganic materials, especially metals. With laser engraving of leather, the interaction occurs not with the material itself, but with tannins and dyes, so not all leather types will be treated equally well, it is necessary to test. Fiber-optic emitters can also engrave plastics.

UV emitters

They have the widest range of processed materials — in fact, they can process almost any material. They are used in microtechnics and jewelry industry for engraving precious stones. High-quality UV laser emitters are quite expensive, it is impractical to buy them for engraving leather, so in this article we will not focus on them.

 

Design of a laser machine for engraving leather

There are two types of laser engraving machine designs for leather:

1)engravers with flying optics system,

2)galvanometric markers.

Laser engravers and leather cutters with flying optics system

They can only be equipped with a CO2 emitter. This type of design allows not only to engrave, but also to cut leather and other materials available for operation by carbon dioxide emitters.

The flying optics system consists of three mirrors, two of which are fixed to the movable units of the machine — the portal and the laser head and move with them.

CO2 laser engravers and cutters have a wide range of working field sizes:

400*400mm,
600*400mm,
900*600mm,
1300*900mm,
1400*900mm,
1600*1000mm,
1800*1000mm,

Professional Co2 Laser cutting Machine Manufacturer - vanklaser

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