Leather Engraving


Does anyone tried to engrave on leather without getting a bad smell ?
I was wondering if there is a way to treat the leather, tried to engrave couple of times but ended up stopping the engraving as the smell is to bad ( i have a 20W diode engraver without any enclosure or air filters.

I have read somewhere that leatherette might be an alternative to leather which does not smell that bad, did anyone tried it so far ?

Kind Regards,

I’ve bound several books in leather, and engraved cover art, titles, etc… on both the front and back, but since …

now let’s be realistic here

I’m branding the leather with a laser - I put a fan in the window of my workshop, used a respirator, and installed a camera to watch the laser progress.

Then I informed the neighbors, and our gardening staff what I was doing.

So in short… NO.

You are tattooing (burning) leather. “leatherette” will possibly be more toxic - so I’d suggest taking appropriate safety measures…

Also … where did you get a 20W laser for a 3018 machine? The best I’ve seen is 15W (which is actually about 3.5W optical)

I engrave and cut leather all the time. (CO2 laser)
The smell and fumes is something that cannot be avoided. But the leather objects that are laser cut or engraved have that burned leather smell only for a few days… then it dissapears and no more bad smell.
I always, always run laser work with an exhaust running.

Leatherette isn’t leather. With that you just remove the top part of fake leather.

Same as “Naugahyde” didn’t really come from the wild ‘Nauga’… :smirk:

Just ventilate the area, use appropriate safety precautions, and put some leather polish, or wax (whatever is suggested to protect the leather) once you are done… and everything will be fine.

I found some genuine Naugahyde at a flea market from the 70’s! It was well tanned, and made a great seat cover for my motorcycle, hehe…

@The_Chaplain you must have obtained one of the rare ones’ that escaped :thinking:

And be careful of Leatherette. Some ( most ) may contain pvc and will result in corrosive gas that will affect your equipment not to say hazardous to your health. Be very careful with that. Always verify with the manufacturer that it is safe to use in a laser. I do a lot of leather cutting and engraving… and yup… it stinks … but I have ventilation to the outside …

That, btw, is something to be said for every synthetic material. While wood smoke isn’t exactly great for you, our bodies evolved in a world where stuff burns from time to time. So we can tolerate that to a certain extend. But synthetic materials play in another league, they may emit any number of toxic substances when heated up.

For post processing odor removal:

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I have a 30 watt ss that I used to run with lightburn. I figured it was worth about 3 watts out…

Found it where everyone else finds stuff, Internet :slight_smile:


Not sure what ‘ss’ is … (in my Country SS=Stainless Steel) - and the supplier for my 3018 couldn’t get anything better than 15W. (Which is of course about 3.75 optical output)

So I just use it for a CNC ‘drill press’, and use my Fox Alien for the serious stuff.

If I could find a 30W for it … I’d certainly have one.

When I read that I assumed Solid State (as in diode), but I could be wrong.

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yeah, I kinda figured 30W, 3W out was a blue diode and would be ‘solid state’, and not IR, UV or CO2. Especially since he has a ‘50W China Blue’ to go along with his 3018.

Yes, solid state. And co2 is ir.

Had to design and 3d print the mount for it, I think it’s a Neje. I think the spouse saw how I enjoyed it, she suggested I buy the China Blue machine. Got stuck out in the pacific off Long Beach for two weeks waiting to unload :frowning:


Q: How is a CO2 laser Infra-Red?

It’s frequency… CO2 Laser :slight_smile:


Is this a typo? Or are you saying CO2 laser is Infra-Red?

The CO2 laser produces a beam of infrared light with the principal wavelength bands centering on 9.6 and 10.6 micrometers (μm).


Another good and short read:

Alternate Wavelengths for CO2 Lasers - Formatted v2 - 4.15.19.pdf (synrad.com)

And one more:

Infrared radiation (IR), also known as thermal radiation, is that band in the electromagnetic radiation spectrum with wavelengths above red visible light between 780 nm and 1 mm. IR is categorized as IR-A (780 nm-1.4 µm), IR-B (1.4-3 µm) and IR-C, also known as far-IR (3 µm-1 mm).

By this, a diode laser is also in the IR spectrum.

That is for lasers toward the visible red spectrum. The common engraving blue/violet diode lasers are in the 445 nm ultraviolet spectrum.