[Maker’s Note] 3D Leather Flower Ware

by Yun-Han Lin

A sneak peek of the procedure before we get started!

Preface

The previous article- 3D-printed Molds for Leather Press Molding was just a prequel; the following is the real result from our hard work in learning leather molding!

Products made from leather molding

There are many products in our daily life that are made from leather molding, such as bags and holsters for remote controls. There can also be customized works intended for different objects, while the products are of great quality and stylish.

airpod holster; small wallet; gogoro key holster (Source: Pinterest)
shoes; small backpacks (Source: Pinterest)

Material

The mold is usually made of wooden blocks carved with shapes for molding the leather. Cover the block with leather and fix it with nails or clamp it with another wooden frame. In recent years, there have been 3D-printed molds that Makers can refer to on the Internet. Making wooden molds require some skills in wood processing, while 3D-printing takes a longer time. Therefore, we decided that using laser-cutting and 3D-printing together would be the fastest and easiest way.

3D-printed molds (Source: Taobao)
Molds after our improvement

Inner and outer supporting structure

The outer frame should be larger than the inner one, as there was a piece of leather placed in between; otherwise, the two frames would not fit or the leather would be scratched. After several tests, the outer frame is 2mm larger than the inner one, and the leather was 2 ~ 2.5mm thick.

The size for the inner and outer frame

Mold with fixtures

When pressing leather, most people use a fixture. This time, we simply used screws to fix the leather as we were only making samples for future use.

Molds with fixtures (Left; source: Pinterest) and screws (Right)

Shaping

To make flower wares, we tried seven different models.

  • First version: The two on the right were the first version designs.
  • Water drop: A round shape based on the first version design.
  • Polyhedron: We tried to shape out a polyhedron. After some tests, there were only some curves on the surface.
  • Final version: We tried the classic vase shape and made it more complete and delicate.
have tried
Water Drop
Polyhedron

Tips on leather stamping

  • Vegetable-tanned leather is more easily shaped.
  • Soak the leather in water for 30 minutes.
  • Let the leather sit for one night and take it out of the mold only after it is completely dry. Air-drying after demolding is recommended.
  • Use Titebond fast-drying wood glue to the leather and clip it together with clamps for two hours.
  • Cut the leather using a utility knife, preferably with a new blade.
  • The toolbox in the film contained a set of materials. Leather stamping can be done with some simple tools.

Material

  • Leather (front): Vegetable-tanned leather: 2.5mm
  • Leather (back): Split leather
  • Medium density fiberboard (MDF): 3mm
  • Plywood: 4.2mm
  • 3D-printed parts
  • Titebond glue or resin
  • Super glue
  • 600-grit sandpaper
  • 1000-grit sandpaper
  • Popsicle stick
  • M8 hex screw: 5cm
  • M8 dish nut
  • M8 gasket

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