I probably would not be showing this since I consider it a failed prototype, but I promised I’d show it if it came out even marginally reasonable…
A few days ago I caught a really weird load on the browser when I tried to access the forum, and it looked interesting enough that I thought I could clean it up and use it for an engrave…well, it’s low browser resolution, and the grays from the image didn’t really engrave the way i wanted them to, but I gave it a shot. This is how it came out when I engraved it on the “Better Together Clutch” from the Glowforge Catalog…
Best part of this design is still the side weaving…
I was planning to try to remake it, using a vertical orientation with the Passthrough and the snapmarks, to see if I could get a better result on the Engrave and alignment (both of which are kind of tricky to do if you start with a bad image) so I spent a couple of days trying to clean up and darken that word cloud a little better, re-saved it, started it again…and it looked even funkier, so I stopped the print to save the leather. I can use it for a wallet or something smaller.
I know there are probably only a handful reading this far down the thread, so I’ll pass on a few discoveries in case any of you guys are interested in trying a leather project…
Buy the tools you need up front, and don’t cheap out on them. I ruined a lot of leather with a cheap fifteen dollar edger from Amazon, and the quality of the tools makes a HUGE difference. The Tandy edger was pretty good for amateur use, but needs to be sharpened, so you have to get something set up for that.
Burnishing really sux but if you want shiny, you have to burnish. Tokonole gives a nice finish without being “patent leather” shiny. Carnauba car wax comes in a close second. (I used a glass plate.)
When you engrave on leather and then bend the leather across the engrave, (at the edges), you kind of destroy the engrave effect because the lighter threads underneath tend to show giving everything a yucky gray bloom instead of being dark …so you have to dye those areas a darker brown color. The use of micro False Eyelash Glue Applicators help for that if you have to do it.
You can erase light “noise” prints from leather with a hard rubber eraser…the kind used to clean wood load off of sandpaper. (This was the best discovery for this image!)
Light brown dye… isn’t.
This pattern was a real booger for the GFUI to try to handle due to the complexity of the broken text patterns on it, so it had to be split into three sections to process, even though it isn’t full bed. I finally figured out that I could process the sections horizontally using Snapmarks to pre-print the leather and then rotate it for the cutting…but then I didn’t like how the engrave was turning out so I killed it. I need to come up with a better word cloud method. (I know there are generators, but that feels like cheating.)
Plan to mess up a lot of projects while you figure things out… stitch spacing, grooving versus non-grooving, edging versus non-edging, and leather does not actually have good insulating properties and makes a lousy pinch…you might want to test it before burnishing the danged thing.
You can get a start on what might work for your project looking at traditional leather tools and similar product patterns. They’ll often tell you if it’s four stitches per inch, or five or six etc, along with accompanying photos (punches are sold for common spacings, they look like stubby forks)
I love the way this looks, Jules…even if it’s not on your hit list of favorites. The image is a fun idea and the side weaving very cool. Doing something in leather is on my mind’s back burner and has been since early on in my Glowforge ‘career’. I take inspriration from the mere fact that you ‘did it’…which means eventually so will I. Thanks for keeping your promise!
Haven’t decided whether to keep pursuing it or not…I seem to lack the knack, but with enough practice I could probably improve some…it’s just finding the time to do the finishing work. Working leather takes real commitment, and a high level of artistry. (The missing part of the equation here.)