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Picture of Leather Embossing with a 3D Printer!
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In this instructable I will be going over the steps to 3d print a very simple stamp to emboss leather with. This is a great way to make custom branded products like hats and other merchandise with your own unique logo.

Below is a video that goes through the process step by step. For a detailed write up continue into this instructable for more!

Step 1: 3D Design in Google Sketchup (Free Version)

For the 3D design of the stamp I will be using Google Sketchup, this is the free version of the desktop application for mac. The template ill be using is Interior and Production design - Inches.

The primary tool I will be using is the 3D text tool. Its very intuitive to set up your text using the option boxes presented. The variables your going to want to adjust are the text height, and the extrusion distance. In my case I set it at 1/4” text height with a 1/8” extrusion.

Once I get my text laid out I go ahead and add 2 borders to create some definition on the stamp.

jopiek8 months ago
Very nice idea! I guess you could do the same thing with a CNC router, just what is available in one's workshop. Also a great tutorial.
scouterJim1 year ago

Great stuff, Thanks for the information.

I am looking to get a 3-D printer for leather stamps do you have any recommendations?What type of material did you use to print the stamp. Thanks again awesome job!!

Edgar made it!1 year ago

Just using a recycled leather belt, put on water for 3 hours, imagine with proper Leather!

Gizmos leather.jpg
Edgar1 year ago

Following your Instructable, I've made this, with Inkscape, then FreeCad, then 3D printed a stamp. A tip: I've made stamping easier, using a beveled-out piece that distributed the narrow Vise's grip onto the plate... Using a previous plate! LOL

Gizmos leather.jpg
Edgar1 year ago

Incredibly simple to implement, and useful, idea. One of those "-I wish I thought of that, myself" ones... Bravo!

I wager a lot of folk will make easy money out of their Printers, with this.


MarcoA178 made it!1 year ago

Little Testing I like it !

Makerneer1 year ago

Thanks for sharing. Looks like the 3D printed piece has held up pretty well! How many embossed stamps have you made so far with it?

RobP191 year ago
Which 3D printer do you recommend
AitorS11 year ago

I made some mistakes in the last layer of the print, but it looks good.

· Advice for those who try:

-Make sure you can apply force on the entire surface, if you only apply force on a certain surface only that part will be strong.

*You can also use laser engraved methacrylate for a result totally free of impurities.

Make Everything (author)  AitorS11 year ago


Thanks to your instructable.!

yusufg0701 year ago

Very creative

netwjennie1 year ago

What 3D printer do you use, I'm interested in 3D printing but know nothing about it. Your's seem to be working very well.

Make Everything (author)  netwjennie1 year ago

I am using a makerbot replicator x2. Its just OK. I have a lot of issues with it clogging and half of the time when I go to print it messes up halfway through. Im looking for another option.

Sorry for you, if you ever find something good tell me, I'm starting to look for a 3D printer but I don't know where to start as there is so much stuff around and more I don't know anything about these, by the way which material are you using to print these ... lets say negative plates ?

dokcal1 year ago

Very clever! I wouldn't have thought plastic would work for embossing leather. It looks like you used ABS. Have you tried this with PLA?

What do you use for the printable media? Plastic is hard and durable enough????? I know everyone is enamored with 3-D printing, but this looks like a job a CNC router would perform better. One could use hard wood or metal for the blank.

I was wondering the same thing. Shapeways can print in various metals (including steel, I believe) as well as lots of different types plastic, but printing metal becomes a good deal more expensive.

The different plastics they use have different qualities, some being more flexible than others, some probably being more durable. I would imagine that if the stamp isn't pretty tough, pieces of the image will start to chip off with use.

Any ideas on ideal materials?

PLA might be able to withstand 11,000 psi, but it would have to be solid to do so. The ridges on the embossing blocks you are making won't withstand anything like that. If I step on a lego in the dark it's likely I don't have shoes on and the reason the lego doesn't break is my foot gives first! Even with shoes I can't put but maybe 100 psi on it. Not unless I pick my foot up and stomp on it with rengence! Not nearly the same thing. I can certainly step on plastic project boxes that have been 3d printed and break them. Professional leather workers use a small metal tool or a single letter at a time. I don't think your embossing with the plastic plates and vice are going to last. And I don't think you have the experience with the technique to say it'll last a long long time. Less than a few months? While it might not require much pressure to emboss wet leather it will take a lot of pressure to make it last. I have items that didn't last a long long time and I used a hammer and individual metal letters.

VERY good idea, I actually like it, except for use of plastic. After you have had one of your projects actually last a long, long time you can call me wrong.

With sufficient infill there's no problem about plastic taking pretty enormous pressure on anyone who's ever stepped on a lego in the dark can attest :-)

It doesn't really take a ton of pressure to emboss wet leather, This will last a long long time...and when it breaks, just spend an hour and print another one :-)

See here (go to test 3 compression): PLA can take up to 77.4 MPa of force, on that test sample that translates to 11,000 psi.

GregKoch1 year ago

really enjoyed the video, creative use for 3d printing.

thought you did an excellent job, great sound, video, editing, it clicked along at a good pace so i did not get bored. :)

the cadd program used is actually "Trimble Make"

Might want to note (for the complete newbs in the audience) that you want the smooth side of the leather against the stamp...

what weight leather did you use? thanks.

ku5e1 year ago

Another quick way to align the dies is to screw a strip of plywood on the die parts to rest on top of the vice jaws.

RobP191 year ago
Great video,do you have a YouTube channel
MikeH1581 year ago

Size the mounting blocks so they rest atop of the screw cover guard when the stamp lines up with the vise jaws.......

Quicker way to align

JohnC7561 year ago

Five Star Video. Novel way to emboss. Would a CNC Router cut the time down for the mold ?

Rahere1 year ago

Damping the leather down opens the grain so it'll hold the stamp pattern when it dries. That ONLY works with veg tanned leather, it does NOT work with chrome tans - and if it doesn't say, test it with a drop of water - you will see a serious darkening where the water's taken it in. Don't worry, it'll evapourate and the leather then returns to a normal colour.

And soon you'll discover the world of shaders and veiners, and all of the weird and wonderful takes on Victorian aspidistras...and stains to darker the hollows, and highlighters, and your workbench ends up looking like the missus' makeup bag, just a tad gentler. I swear she keeps a mallet around there somewhere...

Dannlh1 year ago
Cool. Stick a dowel in opposite corners it will keep it aligned.
Love this instructable! Do you think you could link us to the leather you get?? Also do go have a good link for a lower weight leather? I’d really appreciate it!

I got stuck on needing a 3D printer, but still a very cool idea!

This is a really good idea, and your end product looks fantastic!

I've been trying to think of something to 3D print that would actually be useful to me. Thanks for this idea!