Jig for engraving leather straps

I decided to use the Glowforge to engrave some designs on a leather belt, but without a passthrough slot I needed a way to wrap a long belt around inside of the machine (which you can’t do with the crumb tray inserted). This jig is my way around that, allowing for clips and masking to hold the belt flat while also allowing the extra to curl around underneath out of the way.

The files are all posted on Thingiverse: Leather strap jig for Glowforge by ex-nerd - Thingiverse

  • Cut all parts out of 3mm material and glue together (I glue the clamp cuts to make a 6mm thicker/stronger version)
  • Remove crumb tray from Glowforge and install the jig.
    • Center it as best as you can against the inside front of the device (it’s almost exactly 80mm from each inside edge of the opened door)
    • I leave a piece of masking tape in place as a reminder for the left-most edge to make it easy to reinstall
    • I also tape the jig to the frame of the Glowforge so it doesn’t wiggle around.
    • Don’t install the leather yet, but put a couple squares of masking tape at each corner of the jig.
  • Drag the Glowforge alignment lines.svg into GFUI.
    *Mark the larger pinkish lines to be ignored. These contain blocking for .5", 1" and 1.5" alignment (everything else is in metric, but my leather straps are all in inches).
    • Score the smaller green squares at 0.1 thickness (GFUI won’t let you do zero) at 1000/2 – they should end up 1mm away from the back edge and finger joints in the “bed”.
    • Adjust your jig placement as needed, or edit the Glowforge Alignment sketch in a copy of the Onshape document (I’ll leave it to you to re-export/color/convert it)
  • Once you’re aligned:
    • Feed the leather into the holes, clip it in, apply masking (it helps a LOT for etching – only the last 2 in my photo were masked with almost identical settings to the other versions)
    • Line your engraves up with the appropriate guide lines
    • Make sure ALL of the guide lines are set to “ignore” (I left my mistakes visible in the photo as a warning).
    • Engrave away! I’ve been having good luck with 300 zooms and 10-12 pews for masked leather (TransferRite Ultra), and 250/6 for un-masked.

You can find the original CAD source at OnShape if you need to re-export or see the assembly in more detail.


Thank you for the files.

Very cool solution, and so generous of you to share the file. Thank you!

This is excellent, you should also use the “glowforge” tag on Thingiverse. I use it as a search when I stop by there.


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Thanks, not sure how I missed that one. Fixed.

nice. thanks for the files

Amazing! :star_struck: What an inventive idea to work with leather straps! Thanks so much for sharing this with us!


Thank you for sharing

Thanks for sharing

First, thank you for this. I’ve been dealing with issue of how to engrave on a belt without a passthrough door. But when I download the files and try to print them the parts aren’t lining up right and sizes don’t match. What am I doing wrong?

Are you opening them in any program prior to uploading them to the :glowforge:? If yes, there’s a chance it’s got a different LPI setting and it’s getting adjusted - or when arranging them you’re accidently resizing, but I imagine you’d notice that.

In your :glowforge: app - what size are you showing for the biggest bit?

There’s is a difference for sure. I have a scale of 13.878in W and 2.031 H. I didn’t think I did any resizing but I’ll download and try again. Thanks for your help.

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I downloaded a new set of files and they match your screen. I bet they will work now. Thanks again for your help.


That right there is real clever. :slight_smile:
thanks for the files.

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Wow, I’m glad people are still finding these useful after all of this time.

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That was it. Thanks deirebeth for your help.


Does someone have the cut small parts.svg file available, Thingiverse is being typical and having issues today. That is the only one that does not seem to come down.

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This post is quite old, so you may not get an answer.

The original source CAD is here, in case you want to edit/export anything by hand: Onshape

I also have a copy of the model posted at Printables, which should have the file you need: Printables

OMG! I just ran across this post and you have no idea how long I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out how to engrave leather belts without a passthrough. Can’t wait to try this. Tremors are starting to set in so carving is beginning to take a back seat to GF but I don’t want to give up the leather completely. Thank you for saving my sanity.