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Frankqv

130 Watt CO2 Laser

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We recently purchased a 130 Watt CO2 laser. It has opened up new horizons of products we can produce cost effectively.And it allows us to change basic patterns without having to get new dies made. Great for prototyping,and production. Maybe we should have a Laser section and we can learn from each other,just an idea. We have cut 2 oz Veg-14 oz Veg very effectively,engraving is easy.

i’ll  post some work in the coming weeks.This is the engraver/cutter.https://bescutter.com/collections/lasers/products/business-level-52x36-co2-laser-cutter-engraver-100w-to-150w?variant=33972278919  The reason we opted for this unit was we had viewed other Chinese engravers,the boxes were thin sheet metal,pretty flimsy. This unit weighs in at over  a thousand  lbs ,the othe ones we viewed were <750lbs. The linear ways are pretty robust,and the other owners spoke highly of the machines. There is some assembly required,and the focusing of the mirrors is time consuming. All and all we’re very happy with the new addition. I took the time while waiting for delivery to digitize all the standard Holster patterns, which we don’t have dies for,and even some we have dies that I wanted to modify.

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That is good to hear. I also have a CO2 laser (a "homemade" 100 w), and have enjoyed the experience. Here is my latest project.

BrknBag1 sm.jpg

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I think the repeatability makes it a useful tool.we do everything from Bridles to holsters,wallets ect. New patterns are easy to whip up. Nice work,very nice.

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My niece teaches print-making at the local junior college, and she refers to the laser-cutting process as "edition-able" because once you have the pattern you want, you can produce it over and over. I'm kinda caught up in the world of one-offs, but maybe someday I will design something I'd like to repeat.

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I am seriously thinking that this laser stuff could have some merit in it. I have been doing some prototype production work recently that I believe would probably only be realistic to do with a laser. I am curious to find out if a 40 watt can actually be used to cut 3mm (7to 8oz) with the right software and such or not? @LatigoAmigo That bag looks good and different as well.May I ask if after cutting is there much work in cleaning up the edges before applying edge coat? I mean such as in the crew punch strap holes in your bag and similar.

6 hours ago, Frankqv said:

Maybe we should have a Laser section and we can learn from each other,just an idea

I think that would be an excellent idea. Lets do it.

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On 4/3/2018 at 2:17 AM, RockyAussie said:

May I ask if after cutting is there much work in cleaning up the edges before applying edge coat? I mean such as in the crew punch strap holes in your bag and similar.

What you see are "raw" edges, which burn black. After cutting, there tends to be some smoke and heat residue on the surface, including the edges, so after wiping everything down with a damp microfiber cloth, I clean it up with saddle soap. I prefer Farnam Leather New Glycerine Saddle Soap which is a spray. Works wonderfully. Then I finish with a leather dressing like Obenauf's, paying attention to the edges, which helps get rid of the burnt leather smell. Hope that answers your question.

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On 4/3/2018 at 2:17 AM, RockyAussie said:

I am curious to find out if a 40 watt can actually be used to cut 3mm (7to 8oz) with the right software and such or not?

The determinant is not just the weight of the leather, as the way the leather is processed also makes a difference. For example, I have some "stuffed" leather that took many passes to cut through, most likely due to its density. Even though I'm using a 100-watt laser, I'm finding that it can take 6 or more passes to get the cut and finish that I want in that weight leather. The software can make some difference, but generally that is governed by the manufacturer. You will find that the process requires trial and error, as there are many variables to consider.

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Thanks for the input @LatigoAmigo. I guess cleaning up the charring on the edges is something that will have to be solved before I commit to too much expense. I will try and get a bit done somewhere to have a look at it further.

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I've been disappointed with cutting leather with the laser. I'm using mostly soft leather about 3mm and the charring is just too much work to get off. What I do is use the laser to score the pattern on the back side of the leather and then finish the cut with a knife. That way there is much less clean up.  It's more work than if I had a clicker and some dies but at least I can get the pattern outline on the piece accurately.

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Chuckdette,We have some charring,but I’ve been able to back off on the power tto minimize that. Excess charring could be focal length not set right?  All of our molded fold over are all double sided. 2-2.5 oz/ 4- 4.5oz glued back to back. We  cover the 4.5 oz side with low tack sign transfer tape. We trim the sides so we end up with 20 + ft2 laminated. We can slip it in the front door of the laser. I nest the patterns which maximizes yield. I use an outlined font to mark the make ,model,,IWB/OWB on each holster.We maintain specific inventories,so I’m able to mix the holster cuts on the one piece.

 

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4 hours ago, chuckgaudette said:

I've been disappointed with cutting leather with the laser. I'm using mostly soft leather about 3mm and the charring is just too much work to get off. What I do is use the laser to score the pattern on the back side of the leather and then finish the cut with a knife. That way there is much less clean up.  It's more work than if I had a clicker and some dies but at least I can get the pattern outline on the piece accurately.

Thanks for that Chuck. What watt size are you running? I am wondering if the size will have a big difference with the charring as well?

 

2 hours ago, Frankqv said:

Chuckdette,We have some charring,but I’ve been able to back off on the power tto minimize that. Excess charring could be focal length not set right?  All of our molded fold over are all double sided. 2-2.5 oz/ 4- 4.5oz glued back to back. We  cover the 4.5 oz side with low tack sign transfer tape. We trim the sides so we end up with 20 + ft2 laminated. We can slip it in the front door of the laser. I nest the patterns which maximizes yield. I use an outlined font to mark the make ,model,,IWB/OWB on each holster.We maintain specific inventories,so I’m able to mix the holster cuts on the one piece.

 

You are cutting through the low tack transfer tape when you are cutting and thus keeping some of the charring from transferring over?

I am thinking of making some pretty intricate stuff that would be impractical to further cut with a knife and so am wondering what methods people have found gives an easy clean up. For instance when I used to colour change shoes, I used a glass bead blaster to etch  and clean the shoes first. One little bit of sticky tape is all it took to stop the glass blasting away any areas I did not want blasted. The tape just makes the beads bounce off . Therefore I wonder if the transfer tape left on until after blasting would be an effective manner of char removal. Perhaps some edge sealer can penetrate the charring and keep it fixed? and so on. Brian

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I think that the Leather Machinery forum might be a better place to discuss laser cutters. If there are no objections, I will be happy to move this topic to that forum. What say you?

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7 hours ago, chuckgaudette said:

I've been disappointed with cutting leather with the laser. I'm using mostly soft leather about 3mm and the charring is just too much work to get off. What I do is use the laser to score the pattern on the back side of the leather and then finish the cut with a knife. That way there is much less clean up.  It's more work than if I had a clicker and some dies but at least I can get the pattern outline on the piece accurately.

My experience is similar to this, I got a 30W laser a few weeks ago and am still learning (quickly) the most recent thing I've corrected is the focus point, with this now correct the charring is a lot less bad. It's still easier to use the machine for marking out though. At the moment while I'm still getting a grip on it I'm using it to cut out patterns in 3mm acrylic (from DIY store for glazing shed windows etc, works great for this purpose. ) I'm looking forward to using it for a lot more over time.

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I think you are right Wiz,please move it at your convenience ,Thanks

 

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Brian - I'm running a 65 Watt machine. I've tried many different combinations of speed and power.  My machine has automatic focusing so that's not a problem. I have used light tack tape to mask off areas I'm cutting. The tape mainly keeps the soot that's being generated and blown around from the air assist from staining the leather. I've done some fairly intricate cutting as well and a laser is probably the only way to do some of this sort of cutting. But you spend time weeding out the tape after cutting.  Another problem with the charring is if you paint the edges with brighter color edge paint like a red or blue, the charring will darken the paint

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For the edges we paint lighter we run them across a 3m scotchbrite wheel,knocks the char right off. I am going to try inert gas instead of air,that should prevent any combustion,and prevent Charring I read somewhere that"s how they cut exotic shoe uppers uppers now, Ill keep you informed.

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Thanks Chuck and Frank for that info. What I am wanting to be able to do is along the lines in these pictures below. This is at the very rough prototype stage at the moment and further pieces are to be added to it yet so please overlook the roughness as it has not been hammered etc as yet. As you see by the patterns the numerous holes and cuts that have to be precisely placed makes doing by hand tedious and with a clicker very expensive knife costs. Cleaning the edges in an efficient way may be important. 

ps. I got bored with stitching and wanted to explore other alternatives looks.

 

DSC02147_resize.JPG

DSC02148_resize.JPG

DSC02150_resize.JPG

DSC02152_resize.JPG

Edited by RockyAussie
Forgot to mention a name.

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I forgot to say I am calling this my Holy Poke method. If anyone knows what it should be called please advise us.

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Very clever idea Brian. I was talking to some guys who were cutting belts with a laser. They put them in the washing machine to clean them up. It worked but the soft thin leather I'm using didn't look so good afterward. 

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34 minutes ago, chuckgaudette said:

Very clever idea Brian. I was talking to some guys who were cutting belts with a laser. They put them in the washing machine to clean them up. It worked but the soft thin leather I'm using didn't look so good afterward. 

Ouch ......That is a scary thought but I guess as a last resort maybe.:unsure: I spose I'd have to have washing instructions next....Please remove your phone first blah blah:P

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4 hours ago, RockyAussie said:

I forgot to say I am calling this my Holy Poke method. If anyone knows what it should be called please advise us.

I've seen a purse and a knife sheath done this way.  The people called it stitchless.

Tom

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45 minutes ago, Northmount said:

I've seen a purse and a knife sheath done this way.  The people called it stitchless.

Tom

Now they would be interesting to see some pictures of. Stitchless seems a bit lacking as there are lots of ways to make a product stitchless. I like Holy Poke as you make a hole and poke the other part in. Mmm.... works for me anyway :Holysheep:.:closed:

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I think I'll try that:Lighten:  If you dont mind that is!

Edited by JD62

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Perfect candidate for a laser Rocky Aussie,You could be assembling one while one was cutting. Repeatability  ,while you attend to another ask= Production

 

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9 hours ago, RockyAussie said:

Now they would be interesting to see some pictures of. Stitchless seems a bit lacking as there are lots of ways to make a product stitchless. I like Holy Poke as you make a hole and poke the other part in. Mmm.... works for me anyway :Holysheep:.:closed:

Rather than stuff a bunch of off topic photos into this thread, do a google search "site:leatherworker.net stitchless" without the quotes.  You will find a number of photos as well as some distractors like a triangular coin purse!

Tom

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