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About Me

Found 2 results

  1. In the long ago past, I did a lot of my patterning by hand down onto card stock normally something along the lines of a manila folder that gave the advantage of having a fold line down the middle when open up. This worked out that often a piece only needed to be drawn and cut on one side then folded to get the other side the same. Next thing that came along was drawing programs like AutoCAD which I still use today a lot. Along with this an A3 printer gave a huge improvement in the time it took to produce a workable pattern. Being able to go back to a drawing and make subtle changes and corrections without redrawing the whole pattern again was a fantastic improvement. A few tricks with the card stock like applying a coat of spray glue and letting it tack off before using it to cut out the component pieces works good but only until the card stock gets too many knife nicks/slips into the edges. Then the pattern has to be reprinted and cut out again. In the making of this key case you can see this method being used if you like Normally in running a production type leather goods business you have to take a best guess as to when be the time to take these patterns to the knife making stage. This can and often is a fairly large investment and initial sales and interest can prompt a premature investment that can sometimes take years to recoup. In the last few years a few new fangled things have come in handy to help me overcome some of this problem and have in themselves been a very useful production tools to have as well. Both the following have the advantage of being able to work from the same pattern drawings done in the AutoCad program. My big/little laser – It has a large poster board size cutting area and is a small 2.5 watt laser diode. It started off as an A3 Elksmaker bought from Bangood for around $300. It worked well enough and I spent another $600 making it larger and safer with fume extraction, better cooling for longer runs etc. Some more on this can be seen here – Just recently the making up of a jewellery box prototype and a small production run on it has made me rethink on ways that I can now improve on previous methods used in both the pattern cutting and small run testing. The full cost of the knives to be made for this job in the past would have been around $1000. With the strawboard/stiffener pieces I have been able to nest the pieces together and do multiple cuts with a labour time frame that ends up similar to clicking out on the clicking press thus saving around $400 in knives. The actual cutting is slower than the clicker press but while the laser is cutting I am able to keep working on other things. No wasted time and no need to have hard copy patterns to store and use. Cardboard and knives both chew up a lot of storage room. For illustration purposes I will now show how in this jewellery box some of these new techniques are employed. This first pic is just to show the jewellery box This picture shows how the little laser can cut out enough strawboard stiffener pieces to do 5 of the jewellery boxes in one cutting. This is 7 different patterns that would normally be made up into knives in the past. This next pic shows another stiffer board that gets used in the top lid section and here I am cutting enough for 10 boxes in the one cutting. Another knife saved. This pic shows my latest idea of using a 3D pla+ printed pattern/template for the cutting out of components. The pla+ is a little like teflon and gives a hard wearing surface that I have found to be VERY good for this application. Here is one part way through the printing process. This one shows a bit of an array of the patterns about to go into use. At the back is the 3D printed jewellery box parts along with a finish box. The ones with handles on top are for the cutting of pieces. here I am cutting out some of the leather tops/bottoms for the boxes. With a little bit of practice I was able to get the cutting time down to around 30 seconds per piece which is not all that much longer than I allow for clicking them out on the clicker press. Works for cutting the velvet fabric quite well as well and fabric There is one more little thing that I found very useful with this type of template/ pattern system but I will have to post more on that tomorrow as dinner is now ready.
  2. So I have access to a 150 watt laser and am looking for tips and helpful information. Like cleaning the burnt edges and of course the smell of the burn leather...any advice? thanks Lewis
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