Hot Foil Leather Stamping and Electric Creaser

A DIY version of the industrial machines

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Printing your own logo on leather goods is a nice way to add some personality or branding. However those machines are bulky and expensive. Hot foil stamping is a sensitive process: the temperature must be controlled, and the pressure should be uniform accross the logo/brand to be applied.

The other famous (and expensive) device is an electric creaser. Its purpose is to mark a straight line next to an edge for decorative purpose.

Part 1: Hot Foil Stamping

This is what the end result of a stamp should look like

And this is what an industrial machine looks like

I started to look for cheap option on Etsy and Ebay and all I could find were some handheld device with a heat controller. It was still pricy (150$+) and many of the comments were saying that some wires are exposed which looks unsafe.

Here's a picture of one of the beast:

The other issue is the pressure applied won't be equal which can result in failures or uneven logo

I'm totally capable of making something with exposed wires so I started to look closer and realized that they were using a  PID worth 12$ on Banggood together with a heating element connected to a handle. It was clearly not worth my money so this project aims to make something reliable under 80$

I'm planning to use the following parts:

  • Handheld unregulated branding iron from Etsy (30$)
  • Vertical Drill Bracket (30$)
  • PID CX-100 + K type thermocouple and relay (12$)

Ideally, I will also use the PID to make an electric leather creaser in a second phase.

Part 2: Electric Creaser (also called Fileteuse)

Regad - M3000 - Electric Creasing & Edging MachineIt's basically a wood burning pen with very specific tips and a temperature regulator.

For this part, I will re-use the regulator from part one and adapt the tip of a manual creaser so it fits on a cheap wood burning pen.

Total cost:

15$ Wood burning pen + 30$ manual creaser  compared to more than 500$ for the model above

Cost Summary

Here's a cost summary of DIY items vs list price, which includes two sets of 26 letters for stamping

Item List Price DIY Cost Savings
Hot Foil Stamp 300 80 220
2 x Letter Set For Hot Foil 400 45 355
Electric Creaser 500 45 455
Total 1200 170 1030

Final Result

Here's a demo of the setup

And a few pictures:

The temperature sensor mounted on the branding iron

The branding iron mounted in the drill press

The result from just 1 second of firm pressing

The PID, set at 130C for the stamp

  • Done with the stamp !

    vincentmakes12/24/2019 at 14:36 0 comments

    I received the new SSR and run the autotune on the PID. I then attached the handle to the drill guide and voila ! I'll post the pictures in the project details along with a video

  • (Mis)Adventures with the larger iron and the SSR

    vincentmakes12/21/2019 at 15:52 0 comments

    I received the larger iron and started to play with it. While trying to insert the thermocouple, I accidentally broke the wires and made a short circuit which killed the solid state relay. I took me a while to figure out the SSR was not working because it was triggering properly in the input and the LED was also working but the output was always closed.

    I have a new one on the way and took out few learnings:

    1. The device has a very big thermic inertia so it's rather difficult to measure the temperature and regulate it by inserting the thermocouple through the handle. The point in contact is separated by the ceramic wall of the heating element. Eventually I went back to the setup I used for the smaller iron which is to attach the probe using a garden hose coupling.

    2.The wiring inside the handle of the iron is very fragile, open at your own risk :-)

  • Re-packing the letterpress set

    vincentmakes12/07/2019 at 17:45 0 comments

    I just spent two hours sorting and re-packing all the tiny letters from the letterpress set so I might as well consider that part of the project :-)

    Those are made of aluminium and are very cheap (~40$) compared to dedicated letter sets for leather stamping (~200$+)

  • Letterpress Holder

    vincentmakes12/06/2019 at 20:30 0 comments

    I bought a set of letterpress on eBay. They're meant for printing but they will be fine to imprint any words on leather.

    It was shipped nicely packed but I managed to drop the box so now I have a pile of letters that I need to sort. Anyhow, the challenge is to make a holder to keep them tight and so that I can connect it to the branding iron.

    I put together a couple of L shape aluminium profiles and drilled holes to hold everything together. I'm just wondering if the heat transfer will work properly.

  • The Electric Creaser

    vincentmakes12/05/2019 at 19:22 0 comments

    I didn't receive my parts for the part 1 of the project so I skipped directly to part 2

    Here's the steps:

    1. Remove the tip from the manual creaser

    2.File the handle, and tap it at 4mm

    3.Screw the adapted creaser tip on the wood burning pen

    4.Attach the Thermocouple K using a hose binding

    Here's the whole setup

    And the end result is perfect !

    Because the tip is so large, the temperature of the process has to be set 50C higher than it's supposed to be but in the end it works and the ensemble is very sturdy despite it's appearance

  • Wiring the PID

    vincentmakes12/05/2019 at 12:53 0 comments

    I received the PID and various connectors

    after wiring everything together I packed it in a wooden box for safe(r) handling. 

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Dan Maloney wrote 11/22/2019 at 19:53 point

Exposed wires, yikes! 

By "vertical drill bracket", are you talking about those things that turn a hand drill into a mini-drill press? Because that sounds like a good idea for a project like this.

  Are you sure? yes | no

vincentmakes wrote 11/23/2019 at 12:04 point

Yes exactly ! My only concern is how much pressure is needed for a neat imprint. So we'll see how that goes :-)

  Are you sure? yes | no

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