This is a quick Instructable describing my experiments with using a laser cutter on leather. Something I had not tried before.
I wanted a new passport holder as the government issue one is a bit rubbish. And what could be better than Star Wars, Galactic Empire passport wallet?
George Lucas issued Intergalactic Empire passports on the set of The Empire Strikes Back to grant access to visitors, the press, and crew. (image bellow) This was my inspiration. I copied the text from the inside the original and used it on the back of mine. I hope Lucas Arts don't come knocking!
If you want to make one, a CorelDraw file is included in this Instructable.
Brown leather: Aprox 220mm x 130mm
Waxed leather thong
Cardboard and/or thin plywood
Laser Cutter (Epilogue Mini 24)
Step 1: Computer Design
You will need to download 2 fonts if you don't have them all ready:
Aurek-Besh by Boba Fonts
TIE-Wing by Boba Fonts
I got them, free, from here: http://www.fontspace.com/category/star%20wars
The Galactic Empire logo is in Tie Wing (Shift <)
Across the bottom of the front is "Passport" written in Aurek Besh.
I simply created a rectangle 220 x 130 which allows for about a 40mm folder over flap on the back and 25mm for the front.
1mm diameter holes drawn at 5mm centers, 3 mm from the edge all the way around the outside.
The Darth Vader image is an optional extra...add you own!
Step 2: Laser Cut
I did a few tests cuts in cardboard and scrap leather first to check how things were aligned and to get the right settings for the lase cutter.
Using and Epilogue Mini 24 with a 35W laser
Rastering the images and lettering: 50% speed and 50% power worked best.
Cutting was 40% speed and 100% power.
You will have to tweak your own settings.
The smell is truly horrible!
I ironed the leather down flat and actually found that in order to prevent the edges from curling up, I used double-sided tape to secure it down onto a piece of plywood.
Then let her rip!
Step 3: Sewing
When we picked up the leather off cuts we also got some waxed leather thong to sew up the sides with.
Just work your way around the edge with a standard, "in-and-out" stich. I guess a blanket stich would work well too and would give a different look.
I double stitched the inside pockets for added strength.
Step 4: Insert Passport
I think all passport are roughly the same size but you would of course,measure your own.
Mine was quite a tight fit as I knew the leather would stretch slightly.
I inserted the pasport front and back covers into the pockets and kept it in my backpocket fro a couple of days to break it in.