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Last week, we ran a piece about Mikaela Holmes’ amazing handmade Millennium Falcon leather purse. One of the tools Mikaela has turned to for her leather working is a 3D printer.

In this Instructable, she shows you how she turns digital design files into custom leather tooling stamps.

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Here’s what Mikaela had to say about the project:

You can create some beautiful patterns and textures by stamping leather, but there are only so many options for pre-made leather stamps. I was excited by the idea of having full creative control over my leather projects with my own custom designed stamps, and I wanted to see if I could do it with 3D printing.

The stamps I ended up creating were simple to design and they worked surprisingly well. They might not have quite the durability or definition that metal stamps do, but they still created some great patterns. I now have a million more ideas for interesting ways to use this technique, and I think it has the potential to create some very unique designs that differ from the familiar leatherworking aesthetic. This would also be a great way to add a logo stamp to personalize your designs if you are creating leather pieces to sell.

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Mikaela works at Instructables and was able to use their Objet Connex 3D to create high-resolution prints in an “ABS-like” plastic. If you don’t have access to such a high-end resin printer, you’re best off having your stamps made at a printing service, like Shapeways or Fathom.

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Once the stamps were printed, she attached some of them permanently to aluminum rods using two-part epoxy. Some stamps she left unmounted and she uses a spare rod and the stamp head to hammer in her design.

This idea opens up all sorts of possibilities for custom stamps. For instance, you can also design stamps for wood burning and have those 3D printed in metal.

You can see Mikaela’s excellent Instructable for this project here.