Making a Leather Book Cover with Your Name on It at TechShop, a High-Tech DIY Workshop

[Fujitsu Journal Team Experience Report]

3) Enjoying hand stitching and conversation with TechShop members

As the laser cutter burns the cross-sections of cut edges, we carefully rubbed away the burnt parts.

While we concentrated on rubbing, we talked with a TechShop member who was making a leather bag. She also showed us the transportation pass case she had made. Our conversation soon grew vibrant, and we received various pieces of advice from her. For example, she recommended that we buy leather at auctions.
In this way, TechShop members can exchange information and share ideas with each other. We felt that new ideas and businesses will be born at TechShop through such active communication among members.

After rubbing off the burnt parts, the rest was all individual work.
We firmly sewed up the pocket part with the threads we had selected earlier. The type of the thread we used for this was a smooth, waxed thread, which is easy for beginners to sew.

At first, we imagined it would be easy to simply pass the thread through the pinholes bored by the laser cutter, but once we started to sew the leather, we found it very difficult. Unless we firmly held the leather with our fingers, the position of the leather would shift or the stitch line would curve easily.
We held the leather in place using clips, became tired from straining our hands too much, lost our concentration, and had coffee while chatting with the TechShop members around us. In this way, each of us proceeded with the work at our own pace for an hour.

―― Finally, we finished sewing! The thought that we had made our book covers from scratch endeared them to us despite the remaining burnt look and slightly curved stitching.

4) Engraving a name with the laser cutter to complete the book cover!

Lastly, we used the laser cutter to engrave our names, completing our unique book covers, the one and only in the world!

After experiencing the manufacturing process of a leather product, the Fujitsu Journal team quickly thought up new ideas about what to do next. "Next time, I will attach some parts in this process." "Couldn't I make a transportation pass case using a similar technique?" Though we engraved our names in this workshop, it is also possible to engrave illustrations by sending illustration data created using illustration software to the laser cutter. Once we master how to operate the laser cutter, we can apply it in various ways, such as engraving our favorite designs on leather or cutting leather into the shape of a heart or star to make an original coin purse.

The Fujitsu Journal team members' impressions of this workshop were as follows.

Team member O:When I heard of TechShop, I imagined manufacturing using solid materials, such as metal processing, welding, and woodworking, which made me feel the hurdle was too high for me. However, in this 'Making an Original Leather Book Cover' workshop, even a beginner such as myself can easily make a leather book cover.
Leather was quickly cut by a laser cutter with great accuracy. The laser beam was so cool, and I was captivated by its beauty.
During the work, when I heard a TechShop member talking about her experience making a leather bag the other day, I felt so confident like I could make anything using the laser cutter, and a surge of excitement to "take on the challenge of making something much bigger next time."
I think the lively conversation with TechShop members and the staff motivated me to pursue my next new idea.
What challenge should I take on next time? Now I'm looking forward to it!

Team member D:I selected a piece of soft leather that felt good in my hand. Sewing by hand was difficult because the position of the leather shifted easily. I was able to enjoy sewing thanks to the help of a staff member who taught me the knack of it. Although hand stitching requires patience, because of all the hard work, I felt more affection for the book cover when I completed it.
This workshop enables you to give shape to your ideas as soon as you think of them. Besides experiencing manufacturing, we can enjoy making what we want and creating things that we cannot find in existing products. I think that is TechShop's attraction.

Team member T:"I wanted a cool book cover, but it's hard to find my favorite at shops. I wish I could make it on my own." This little complaint of mine gave rise to the workshop plan. I was a little nervous at first, thinking, "Can a beginner like me really manufacture something?"
However, the moment I walked into TechShop, my worries disappeared, and my heart was filled with excitement at seeing many work tools that I had never seen in my daily life and a spacious open space like a location overseas. With the kind support of Ms. Izawa, Dream Consultant, I could participate in the workshop at ease.
I feel like I am getting addicted to the sense of accomplishment and joy I felt when I finished making the book cover (smiles). This workshop allowed me to experience TechShop's attraction hands-on.


The Fujitsu Journal team experienced the 'Making an Original Leather Book Cover' workshop.

By the time the workshop ended, all of the Fujitsu Journal team members who had joined the workshop had become engrossed in manufacturing. It was great fun, and the three hours passed very rapidly.

Each of us successfully made our ideal book cover using a sophisticated work tool in a short period of time. We also felt the close proximity of members creates an atmosphere that encourages them to generate ideas and an environment where they can enhance such ideas, which we believe leads to tomorrow's innovations.

The latest workshop information at TechShop Tokyo can be found on the TechShop Japan Facebook page. You yourself can experience manufacturing a speaker, a leather Filofax, and so on. We encourage you to visit and experience a workshop.