Made at theCO: Engraved Football

Almost anything can be engraved using theCO’s laser cutter/etcher as long as it fits in the machine! This week, Jameson Winter illustrates how to engrave something a little more difficult than your average wood project: a football. Though oblong shapes are more difficult to work with because they have three dimensions and curved surfaces, they make super cool projects sure to impress anyone!


  • Laser Cutter/Etcher

  • Leather football

  • Wooden blocks/Scraps

  • Air Pump

  • Design Software


Step 1 - Import Design

Having already designed the text he wants to engrave using Affinity Designer, Jameson creates a new project and imports his existing vector file.


Step 2 - Prepare the Football

Jameson deflates the football to create more of a flat surface and props it up on blocks of wood.


Step 3 - Adjust the Printer

After adjusting the printer bed, Jameson moves the laser around the highest part of the football to make sure that the plunger will not catch on the football and move it during printing. He lines up his project border with the seams of the football and uses a piece of wood for a guide along the top to ensure that the laser is lined up. On the computer, he runs the perimeter of the file to check where it is situated and adjusts as needed. 


Step 4 - Test Run the Project

To test the project, Jameson takes the laser power down to 1 and runs the job. Because the power is so low, it won’t cut the leather, allowing Jameson to double check the placement of the etching.


Step 5 - Run the Project

It’s time to run the job for real! After readjusting the settings and placing the laser power on 25, Jameson presses play and the engraving begins.


Step 6 - Repeat for Other Side

With one side done, Jameson flips the football around in the machine and imports his next file. On the computer, he lines up the new file on top of the first file and then makes the first file invisible. After checking the placements and running it on 1 power again, Jameson runs the job on 25 power to engrave the next side. 


Step 7 - Clean Off Football

Jameson re-inflates the football and wipes it off with a wet paper towel to remove any charred residue. 


Finished Design: Now the football is engraved and ready to be gifted! It’s perfect for display on a mantlepiece of honor or even for a game of toss - as it’s still completely functional!

Check out our other Made at theCO articles to see even more awesome projects created in house here at theCO.