I’ve noticed a couple other posts about masks so far and quite a few on leather.
So this isn’t revolutionary but I thought I’d share a project I’ve done combining laser cutting and engraving leather with the ancient technique of wet forming.
If you use a vegetable tanned leather (not chrome tanned!), you can wet it and sculpt it over a form. When it dries it will retain the shape.
These were cut and engraved with a 40w hobby laser out of 3-4mm veg tan and then wet formed over rigid plastic face shapes. When dry we painted and sealed the front surface. The charred laser edges conveniently look quite finished. As you can see in the photos this thickness of leather holds it’s shape beautifully. The inside suede surface feels great against your skin unlike plastics and synthetics. Finished look is similar to traditional paper mache Italian masks but much thinner and lighter.
I’m particularly looking forward to the pass thru and registration system on the Pro model. The raven mask hits the limits of my current laser’s bed size and still ends up being child sized.
If you’ve read this far, thank you!, I have a couple questions for GF and the community experts.
Having now made a couple hundred of these the biggest hiccup we’ve encountered in the laser process is that leather isn’t completely flat or uniform in thickness. GF can account for irregular surfaces, how well can it handle irregular thickness? Even on a great piece of leather we end up with some spots that don’t cut all the way through and some that over charred.
Burnt leather stinks, badly! Definitely not the aroma of hamburger and definitely not something you want inside. How well does the filter in the Pro model deal with the SMELL of burning materials? (The current setup is in the garage with a vent to outside, you still don’t want to be in the garage during cutting)