Simplest Lasercut Leather IPad Sleeve, No Needle Needed !




Introduction: Simplest Lasercut Leather IPad Sleeve, No Needle Needed !

A few 7 years ago when I got into digital fabrication I stumbled upon r4f's sunglasses pouch instructable :

I literally extended it to craft a sleeve for my laptop, which I still use nowadays (the sleeve, not the laptop, sadly).

Over the years I made several great leather protections using this technique.

This week I made an iPad sleeve for my wife and I decided it was time to make an instructable to share my tips and tricks and development of that great crafting technique.


- leather piece, 3mm thick or so
- access to a C02 laser cutter

- 1,40 m of shoe lace (1,5 yard)

- a dash of superglue (liquid, not gel)

- scissor (something to cut the lace)

About the leather : for this technique and a rather thin object to hold (unlike r4f'sunglasses), it is best to have a rather thick piece of leather so that it is quite stiff and a better protection for your object. I got my beautiful reclaimed leather offcut for 2.6 euro at the BHV in Paris.

About the shoe lace : It is a classic shoe lace sold by the meter, I bought it in a french mercery it was less than 1 euro per meter !

Step 1: Step1 : Laser Cut Design

Before you start designing your sleeve you should already know the actual thickness of the shoelace or string you intend to use. It is the only thing you have to watch for, with the fit of the sleeve.

I am confortable with rhinoceros3D to design, but it is a bit of an overkill for this job, any 2D vectorial editor like inkscape (free) or illustrator will be perfect.

The shoe lace has a classic 2mm diameter (2,1 mm in my case) and I set the sewing holes diameter at 2,3mm as it is in the file I provide.

If you want to have both the knots at the end of the wire on the same side of the sleeve, be sure to have an even number of sewing holes.

For the fit of the sleeve the iPad is 7.5 mm thick, so I added an extra 9 mm to the iPad dimensions on each side, and on each part of the sleeve, between the sewing holes and the theoretical position of the iPad in the sleeve. for a total width of the sleeve of 197 mm. For the height I added more to have the up of the sleeve naturally close the opening. The total height is 278 mm.

I set up three cutting colors to first just trace my abscract art then, cut the little sewing holes and lastly cut the outer edge of the sleeve's part.

Step 2: Step 2 : Laser Cutting

The leather was quite flat and heavy so it was a rather easy job, I still used metal bar to flatten the edges and hold the material in place mostly as a precautionary measure.
The laser cutter is a ULS machine (VLS4.6) with a 60W C02 laser

The settings where all vector, no 'raster':

Red : Power 25% Speed 100% (etching the abstract design)

Cyan : Power 100% Speed 15% (cutting the holes) Blue : Power 100% Speed 10% (cutting the edges)

The cutting time was 8m34s

Step 3: Step 3 : the Needleless Shoelace

On my design I had 150 holes to sew, to estimate the length of shoelace I needed, I tested the sewing of 15 holes, which took a 120 mm length of lace.

So I just multiplied it by ten and got a 1200 mm theoretical length to which I added 200mm for safety and ease of sewing, knotting...

Then I picked one end an applied superglue on the first 20 mm and let it harden for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Step 4 : "Sewing"

Sewing was really easy, I tied a knot at the other end of the shoe lace and sewed the two parts of the sleeve in a little more than 30 minutes. Between each sewing loop tightenning the lace was all I had to do.

Then I tied a knot and cut the excess lace and Voilà !

Here are also photos of my first laptop sleeve of 7 years ago, it has seen quite a lot of traffic and survived three laptop. It is still very sturdy although the shoe lace is getting worn out near the opening of the sleeve.

Step 5: Step 5 : Finish and Celebrate

I read on instructable that you could protect the leather with wax. But I did not know a the time of my first sleeve (the large one in black with the triangle octopus that I crafted 7 years ago, it has seen quite a lot of traffic and survived three laptop.

It is still very sturdy although the shoe lace is getting worn out near the opening of the sleeve.

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    1 year ago

    Thank you :-)


    1 year ago

    That's an elegant looking cover! Thanks for sharing :D