As they say, lesser leather never weathered wetter weather better. This material has been with us for centuries, and we’ve made tons of things from it, even “glass” for windows back in the times. Nowadays, we have new tools to work on and old materials to figure out the manufacturing process for.

In this article we’ll go through the basis of laser cutting and engraving on leather.

Where to use

What then can we make with leather and a laser device?

  • To begin, we have garments and other wardrobe components such as footwear, belts, purses, and bijouterie.
  • Second, souvenirs and various ornamental items for our visual enjoyment. Keychains, tobacco pouches, or coverings.
  • Third, advertising and branding aspects. It is critical for the company’s brand awareness.
  • Fourth, laser technology may be applied in the manufacture of furniture.

Types of leather

This substance is often classified into two categories: natural and artificial. Each variety has its unique characteristics. Let’s sort it out.

Natural leather

Smooth and embossed, horse, sheep, or camel leather, nubuck, and suede are usually used during the laser work. While processing any kind of natural material, you should remember that it loves humidity like mushrooms and well-passes the air. That makes leather such a comfy and long-lasting matter. But in the process of laser work, those advantages can become obstacles. That’s why, while choosing, you should rate the thickness, leather dressing, and percentage of moisture.

Artificial leather

This type is more sensitive to chemical elements and is easy to clean. Usually, for work, people use embossed, enameled, and matte leather or suede. But not all of these kinds of artificial materials can be operated by the laser because of its manufacturing process. Burning polyvinylchloride is dangerous for human health. That’s why we recommend you work with eco-leather and polyurethane.

What’s important is that this leather is ecological, since no animal gets hurt.

Why use laser machines for leather

Laser engraving on leather allows you to create original and artful products made of natural material or faux leather.

Also, laser engraving has a lot of advantages that it can offer, including:

  • efficiency: you can apply a drawing in 10–20 minutes because the speed of work can come up to 700 mm per. second;
  • low production cost compared to embossing, especially when ordering medium and large runs;
  • precision and repeatability. An image is engraved with 100% consistency with a previous one. That’s something not achievable by lettering;
  • high-quality and contrasty pictures. Detalization might reach 2500 DPI;
  • non-contact machining, which prevents damaging the material;
  • large area of applied images (up to 300 x 600 mm), thanks to which the creation of large items is possible.

Specifics of cutting

During this process, it’s important to pay attention to the percentage of moisture in the material. It affects the maximum thickness of the leather, which the laser will be able to cut. To align the leather on the table, you may use neodymium magnets.

Among different kinds of artificial leather, the one that is made on the basis of polyvinylchloride cannot be cut because harmful dioxins and hydrogen chloride will be emitted.

On your way, carbon deposits may appear. To deal with it, you can use a powerful airflow during the work, from 1.5 atmospheres for thick leather and less for a thinner one. Additionally, you can increase the speed, but that would require a 100-watt tube or more. For cutting, the common-speed 60W tube will be enough.

While working with white leather, we recommend flipping it face-up. How to operate this kind of material is discussed in one of the videos on our YouTube channel. Look it up!

If carbon deposits find a way out to you, do not be scared, brother! You can get rid of it by washing the material with water. That works for edges, specifically. Or you may use an eraser or soft brush.

An Lee
We are happy to advice you from the very beginning
Contact us now.
Make a request

Specifics of engraving

A laser machine for leather creates an image by burning out the top layer. It exposes a bottom layer that determines the color of the image. As a rule, the natural leather bottom layer is dark, so the final image has a dark-brown or black hue. It looks the most impressive on light-colored leather.

Laser equipment easily handles engraving on leather, despite the heterogeneity of the structure of this material. The applied image is clear, and the smallest details are well drawn.

While working with artificial leather, we recommend not making deep engravings or markings. In that way, the material will serve you longer.

Overall, we can say that a 20-watt tube would be enough for the majority of average engravings.

When is a laser machine more suitable than embossing? 

Leather engraving can easily replace the embossing when: 

  • it is necessary to produce a large number of items;
  • it is little time for engraving leather: a laser machine performs the task several times faster;
  • the leather is thin or the chosen area cannot be embossed;
  • it is necessary to apply the image that is larger than the working area of the embossing machine.

Test sample

Before starting the leather engraving or cutting process on the laser machine, experts recommend making a test sample. It helps to assess the hue of the final image and how detailed it will be. If necessary, the settings of the laser machine should be changed.

Remember that the same type of leather from various shipments may require completely different settings for cutting or engraving.

Necessary conditions for laser cutting and engraving of leather

Because smoke and bad smells are emitted during the machining of leather, it is necessary to use the exhaust system of the laser machine. To obviate the smell after the work, you may leave the material in a well-ventilated room or near the ground coffee.

When engraving and cutting of faux leather is performed, harmful for humans’ health stuff, hydrogen chloride evolves. Inhaling this gas can cause serious harm and even death.

That is why all this stuff should be immediately removed from an exhaust hood. Moreover, the lack of effective removal of waste products during cutting and engraving on the laser machine leads to rusting of the machine’s parts, and the equipment fails.

To prevent overheating of the laser tube, a cooling system should operate properly. Also, it is necessary to clean lenses and mirrors regularly to ensure the positioning accuracy of the laser head.

How to choose a machine for leather

Pay attention to:

  • frame; it’s important for the shell to be wider than 2 mm, and inside of it should be a reinforced frame. Thanks to that, the machine will be steadier during the work and serve longer.

All Wattsan machines have a strengthened frame

  • portal; strong construction will make sure to save precision while operations even on a high speed.
  • through table; if you don’t want to limit yourself in material’s size, then you should consider the machine with that option.

All our models have a special technical opening,which allows stretching materials. 

  • potentiometer; this function is important, if you are going to do engraving the most. It will help to easily control the power right during the work. Even the minimal capacities will be in your reach. You’d wish to have this in shower.
  • waste container; it’s not necessary to have one, but it makes the work more convenient and pleasant. Also, it additionally reinforces the shell. 
An Lee
We are happy to advice you from the very beginning
Contact us now.
Make a request


Leather is a complicated material to work with. It requires accuracy and close attention. And no fear of making mistakes. By tests and fails you will be able to find the right options for chosen type of matter and deal with carbon deposits, smell and other leather’s whims like a professional.

Always look at the type of the material and its characteristics. 

If you have any questions left, call our managers! They’ll help you to choose the laser machine for your needs.

5 2 votes
Article Rating