material test

Which materials are not suitable for laser cutting and engraving?

Materials you should not process with a laser machine

Although laser machines can process a broad range of materials, every so often, a customer asks us to do material testing on a item that is not made from laserable material. Certain types of material should not be engraved or laser with a laser because of their chemical make-up. Laser processing these materials creates dangerous gases or dust. Here is a list of materials that are not laserable:

  • Leather and artificial leather that contains chromium (VI)
  • Carbon fibers (Carbon)
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • Polyvinyl butyrale (PVB)
  • Polytetrafluoroethylenes (PTFE /Teflon)
  • Beryllium oxide
  • Any materials containing halogens (fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine and astatine), epoxy or phenolic resins

Care should be taken with the following materials:

  • Manganese
  • Chromium
  • Nickel
  • Cobalt
  • Copper
  • Lead

Watch out for "flame-retardant" materials

Be aware of fabrics and other materials that are labelled as "flame retardant." Because they often include bromine, they are not laserable materials. For flame-retardant materials, it is best to ask the manufacturer about the exact ingredients.


What makes a material not suitable for laser engraving and cutting?

If the materials listed above are laser engraved or laser cut, dusts or gases may be produced that endanger the laser user or the functionality of the laser machine. For this reason, we recommend that you select a different laser material for your application.


Protect yourself: Material testing by Trotec

Would you like us to perform material testing on your laser materials? Contact us, and we would be happy to let you know if a particular material is suitable for laser cutting or laser engraving.

Contact us