Laser Engraver for Leather
What is a Laser Engraver for Leather?
Laser Engraver for Leather refers to a specialized machine that uses focused laser beams to etch or engrave designs onto leather surfaces. Unlike traditional manual engraving tools, this device offers precision and consistency, allowing for intricate patterns and details to be imprinted on the leather without direct contact. The process harnesses the laser beam to selectively alter or remove the leather's surface, creating the desired design.
The Laser Types and Their Impact on Leather Engraving Efficiency
In the realm of leather engraving, the type of chosen laser engraver for leather can dramatically impact both the process and the end result. While commonly-used CO2 lasers operate at a wavelength of 10.6µm, leather actually absorbs blue laser beams approximately 10-20% more efficiently, with the exact rate varying by the leather type. More importantly, blue laser solutions for leather engraving consume 4-5 times less electrical power compared to commonly used CO2 laser solutions. This makes the efficiency of a blue laser engraver for leather 6 times higher and its energy costs 6 times lower.
Blue laser absorption on leather is driven by collagen, a natural leather skin protein (which makes up 42.5% to 48% of tanned leather content) as well as melanin, a natural skin pigment, both of which absorb blue laser beams exceptionally well. Overall, leather's blue laser absorption rate stands at approximately 88%. This comes from the fact that blue laser beams are visible and leather is not transparent to blue light, while the blue light reflection from the surface of leather is approximately 11-12%.
In comparison, CO2 lasers register worse absorption on collagen. Apart from the absorption on collagen, CO2 laser interaction with leather is also driven by the leather's residual water and haemoglobin content. Even an absolutely dry tanned leather skin contains at least 10% of residual water content. The interaction of leather with CO2 laser beam may dry out the leather below and around the engraving. The thermal energy overload transferred to leather from residual water content's CO2 laser absorption may also disturb the structure of leather and affect its long-term durability. For CO2 laser cut leather, this may cause structural bending. For laser engraved leather, thermal degradation with CO2 laser beams may whiten the leather surface around the engravings, although this effect is countered by leftover CO2 laser burn marks. Nevertheless, these effects can be eliminated with careful choice of parameters while working with a CO2 laser engraver for leather.
In contrast, a blue laser engraver for leather doesn't suffer from these issues. Being transparent to water and less thermally invasive, 450 nm blue lasers utilize their laser power much more effectively, yielding laser-cut and laser-engraved leather products with undisturbed leather texture and composition.
Additionally, blue lasers are considerably more compact than their CO2 counterparts, making them easier to integrate into various workspaces. One of the most appealing aspects of blue lasers is their minimal maintenance requirements. Unlike CO2 lasers, which demand troublesome and frequent calibration and maintenance, blue lasers offer a virtually maintenance-free experience. Moreover, they're more energy-efficient, consuming significantly less electrical power, which not only reduces operational costs but also aligns with eco-friendly practices.
Meanwhile, even though fiber lasers also boast a higher electrical efficiency compared to CO2 lasers, their commonly-available wavelengths are simply not suited for leather engraving unless you desire to laser engrave deer leather. In fact, the general leather's absorption rate for this wavelength is notably lower by about 84% compared to blue lasers. In addition, fiber lasers can potentially inflict unwanted damage to leather patches being engraved. The graph below shows laser reflection rates of different leather types for different wavelength fiber lasers.
Overall, this makes blue galvo lasers and blue laser heads a superior choice for leather engraving compared to CO2 lasers and fiber lasers.
Blue Laser Engraver for Leather
Blue laser engraver for leather can come in two primary configurations, each designed to cater to the specific needs (or project scales) of mass-manufacturers of leather products and artisans respectively. Two standout choices in this domain are the blue galvo laser engravers and blue laser heads.
Galvo Laser Engravers
The first, blue galvo laser engravers for leather, like Opt Lasers' GLE-30-B or GLE-50-B standalone blue galvo laser systems, represent the pinnacle of leather engraving technology. These standalone machines are specifically engineered to provide high-speed operations without compromising the intricacy of the designs.
Their primary strength lies in their ability to rapidly and precisely engrave, ensuring tasks are completed in a timely manner while preserving the finest details. The leather engraving can be done in a second with GLE-30-B galvo laser system, although the speed depends on the leather type as well as input parameters. Customized blue galvo laser engraver for leather can reach even higher speeds as high as 79 in/s [2 m/s].
With their built-in optimization, these galvo lasers offer users a seamless and efficient engraving process, making them an ideal choice for manufacturers and professionals who prioritize speed and accuracy in their leatherworking projects. Nevertheless, Opt Lasers can also simply provide galvo laser modules and/or a choice of selected components for manufacurers who want to integrate these systems into their production lines. Below, we present a table with our galvo laser products for your reference:
|Center Wavelength||450 nm|
|Minimum Optical Power||30 W||50 W||40 W||80 W||160 W|
|Working Distance||180 mm or 350 mm or 650 mm|
|Working Area||100 x 100 mm or 200 x 200 mm or 300 x 300 mm|
|Minimum Spot Size1||130 um||1200 um|
|Operation Speed 5||up to 2000 mm/s|
|Laser's Electro-to-Optical Efficiency||27 %||24 %||27 %||24 %||30 %|
|Power Consumption||200 W||300 W||200 W||300 W||600 W|
1- values provided for 170mm working distance
2- for angles +/- 10 degrees
For FS units the beam size can be easily scaled.
CNC Laser Engraver Add-on Kits for CNC Routers
Alternatively, for those seeking a lower entry-cost solution, the integration of blue laser heads with CNC router platforms presents a dynamic approach. Specifically, laser heads such as the XT-50, PLH3D-15W, and PLH3D-30W are designed to be compatible with a range of CNC machines, including those manufactured by renowned brands like OpenBuilds, ShopSabre, Shapeoko, or X-Carve. By combining the laser's engraving precision with the flexibility of a CNC router, users gain the ability to transition smoothly between intricate engraving and more extensive cutting tasks, all within a single platform.
This convergence of technologies offers both versatility and efficiency. For instance, an artisan could engrave a detailed design on a leather piece and then quickly adjust the setup to cut the leather into a specific shape or pattern. This modular approach, juxtaposed with the singular focus of dedicated engravers, provides an avenue for craftsmen and industries to choose the tooling that best suits their project requirements. Interestingly, this type of configuration will also perform better for those who, apart from leather engraving, also want to cut leather thicker than 1.4 mm, known as thick leather. Example leather products that this leather laser engraver configuration can cut effectively includes:
- 0.055" [1.4 mm] to 0.098" [2.5 mm] thick leather: leather bags, thicker wallets, and book covers
- 0.079" [2.0 mm] to 0.098" [2.5 mm] thick leather: leather straps and robust leather bags
- 0.110" [2.8 mm] to 0.137" [3.5 mm] thick leather: belts, knife sheaths and shoe soles
If you already have a CNC machine, click on the link below to find the best laser engraver add-on kit for your CNC machine to turn your CNC into a CNC laser engraver for leather.
In case you don't have your own CNC router machine yet, you can opt for the LEAD CNC machine with BlackBox controller. Click this link to learn more about and buy your LEAD CNC machine.