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MAKE A LASER CUT LEATHER HOLSTER FOR YOUR PISTOL

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step0-02-stuff_you_need.jpg
In this instructable, I'll show you how I made a nice leather holster and formed it to fit my pistol perfectly. This holster was designed for a Glock 17, but the patterns I created will make a holster that works nicely for a variety of semiauto pistols including 9mm and .40 S&W Glock pistols, 1911s, Beretta 92s and other pistols of similar size. Feel free to use my patterns. For larger framed pistols like M&Ps, .45 Auto Glocks, and H&K USPs you will need to make adjustments to the pattern. Also note that the pattern I made is for a right-handed holster. If you want a left handed holster, you will need to reverse it.

Equipment you will need:
1. A graphics workstation with Corel Draw*
2. A laser cutter*
3. Sewing needles for leather**
4. A microwave oven*
5. A large microwave-safe bowl
6. A thermometer (either a candy thermometer or a infrared thermometer should do nicely)
7. A toothbrush
8. A pistol or pistol form (you can use an actual pistol, a "blue gun" or even an airsoft pistol for this. (NOTE: Not pictured. Do not bring real guns to TechShop).
9. A short section of square acrylic rod approximately 0.25" thick cut to just fit between the front and rear sights of your pistol.
10. Some burnishing tools -- I use a spoon, a sharpie, and the handle of a leather punch but you could use any number of items for this.
11. A brush to apply contact cement

Supplies you will need:
1. A piece of heavy (8oz or more) vegetable tanned tooling leather at least 8" x 12"**
2. Some waxed thread**
3. Contact cement**
4. Fast Orange or similar hand cleaner
5. Paper towels

* Items available at TechShop
** Items available from Tandy Leather Factory

I made this at TechShop San Jose, so I was able to use one of their computers with Corel Draw and one of their 60W Epilog lasers. All TechShop members have access to the computer workstations, but you will need to take the Laser Cutter SBU (LAS101) class before you can use a laser at TechShop.

Note: If you don't have access to a laser cutter, I have pre-cut leather kits available in my etsy store.
 
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SgBriggs1 year ago
This is beautiful.
I did this step exactly as you describe, but my leather did not shrink at all that I could detect. Do you know if there are differences in leather that would cause this? I tried soaking the leather in the 160f water again for longer, but still no shrinkage. Any ideas?
I had trouble getting Inkscape to load the CDR file you have kindly provided. Any chance you could upload a PDF or SVG? I usually do kydex/leather combos, but I want to give an all leather holster a try.
I am a jewelry designer and I have been wanting to start a line using laser cut leather. However I dont have the equipment, and I hear it is very expensive. Where can I find a laser cutter that I can set up in my craft room? Can you advise?
If you're new to designing for a laser cutter and want to test out patterns on leather, I would recommend using the online service Ponoko. I've used them several times (although not for leather) and they are reasonably priced with a quick turnaround time.

Unfortunately, laser cutters are still relatively expensive, with the most budget models starting around US $2500 and the standard Epilog brand Zing entry level laser cutter at US $8000. However, if you happen to live in a major city you may have a nearby hackerspace, makerspace, or TechShop with a laser cutter available for use.

Here's a link to the Ponoko list of materials (scroll down to find the leather)
http://www.ponoko.com/make-and-sell/materials

I would just to a quick Google of " [your city name] + hackerspace " to see if one is nearby.

I hope this helps :) Send me a PM if you have any other questions.
Dutch561 year ago
Are you set up or willing to cut pieces for resale? I checked you Esty site but didn't see anything. I could use a couple of sets.
HandmadeByDroids (author)  Dutch561 year ago
Hi Dutch56,

Thanks for the interest!

I was just setting up the Etsy store. I have kits (really just pre-cut leather pieces) available on Etsy now. If you are interested in reselling, feel free to contact me and we can talk about pricing and white-labeling.
Nice Esty site HBD- I have a couple of Springfield Armory XD 9's (3 in Subcompact and 4 inch model and the Bride has her own XD Sub compact so I was mainly interested in a couple of kits for our own use. Kydex and nylon has it's place but nothing feels as nice as good leather.

Are you planning on doing anything in the future with Mag cases for single and double stack magazines?
HandmadeByDroids (author)  Dutch561 year ago
Mag carriers are definitely in the works. I'm playing with a couple of different designs right now, trying to get them just right. They should show up on the Etsy store in a few days.
Nice Esty site HBD- I have a couple of Springfield Armory XD 9's (3 in Subcompact and 4 inch model and the Bride has her own XD Sub compact so I was mainly interested in a couple of kits for our own use. Kydex and nylon has it's place but nothing feels as nice as good leather.

Are you planning on doing anything in the future with Mag cases for single and double stack magazines?
How 'bout a thumb break...
HandmadeByDroids (author)  steveofthenw1 year ago
A holster fitted this way has much better retention than you might imagine. I can literally shake the holster upside down and the pistol will not fall out, no matter how hard I try.

That said, I like a good retention holster too, and I'm thinking about some more complex designs with steel reinforced thumb breaks and adjustable tensioning. For now trying to keep things simple, though.
Two of my favorite activities: pistol sport and tech! I love the TechShop logo on the inside of the holster, a subtle details that do not go unappreciated. Have you seen the story circulating about someone who used a 3d printer to build an AR lower receiver?
The 3D printed lower receiver is very interesting. Interesting to see how technology effects government regulation, too. We live in a time when the boundary between knowledge (information) and material goods is starting to blur. It's much harder to control data than goods.
L.L.Cool1 year ago
I too wish I had a laser cutter for this very purpose. Very nicely done!!!!!
This turned out really nicely. Makes me wish I had access to a laser cutter. Alas, no Tech Shop in GA yet. still, I might take a trip to the local Tandy and see what I can do.
Thanks for the comment. The laser cutter speeds things up, but there is no reason you can't cut the leather by hand using a swivel knife and punch the stitch holes with an awl. Doing things the "old-fashioned" way takes a little longer (but then I spent a lot of time on the computer getting the files right, so it might well balance out.

Working with leather is a lot of fun, and I suggest giving it a try.
dafonso1 year ago
Fantastic. I've been wanting to get something for my shockingly unpopular pistol and didn't realize that it really only takes a little time and pew-pew from the laser cutter to make something custom. Thanks!
Mrballeng1 year ago
Five stars. Great work!
Reesol1 year ago
wow looks great :)
nice job!
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