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Can you laser cut polyurethane "leather"?

Posted by canaryk 
Can you laser cut polyurethane "leather"?
December 31, 2013 01:28AM
Hey everyone! New to laser cutting here. I've read that you shouldn't cut vinyl "leather" because it releases chlorine gas, but I'm also reading some sources that just say not to cut artificial leather. Would polyurethane/nonPVC fake leather be safe to cut? I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't, but I wanted to check before I damage the machine.
Re: Can you laser cut polyurethane "leather"?
January 01, 2014 05:05PM
... never cut/engrave organic material without exhausting and filtering!

Best is filtering the fumes with activated charcoal and blowing the output through the next window.

Organics releases all sorts of acids and toxic fumes ... even with 'known' materials there are all sorts of undeclared additives and/or coatings and paints eye rolling smiley

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Re: Can you laser cut polyurethane "leather"?
January 02, 2014 10:38AM
Thanks for the response! Not sure if this counts as organic material, since I am only cutting synthetic leather (though you make a good point, I can't be sure what the coloring comes from). Also, the cutter I'm using already has ventilation set up. I did read that materials that release chlorine gas can damage the laser cutter regardless of ventilation set-up though, so I just wanted to make sure PU leather wasn't likely to have any of those materials.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2014 10:39AM by canaryk.
Re: Can you laser cut polyurethane "leather"?
January 02, 2014 06:46PM
... in lasering all plastics are called 'organics' ... in contrary to 'anorganic' ('ceramic
or 'metallic') materials ...

When laser-fumes comes in contact with unprotected metallic surfaces, they tend to oxidize -- so suck them away near to the laser spot, not across the complete working zone as common in the cheap chinese laser-engravers ...

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Re: Can you laser cut polyurethane "leather"?
April 10, 2014 01:48PM
Hi guys you should realy avoid cutting polyurethane "leather" it is one of the materials listed bellow.

Here in the UK Cutting of Fiberglass, Polypropylene, Polyethylene, Polyvinylchloride (PVC), and any other chlorides are normaly forbiden due to the release of nasty gasses

this is a list that PoLolu have ...

"We do not or cannot cut the following materials:

Most metals – We cannot cut most metals. The two exceptions are thin sheets of stainless or spring steel (up to 0.060" thick). We also stock an acrylic-based, dual-tone plastic with a faux-metal finish on one side. If you need thicker metal parts, you might consider a water jet cutting service.
Polycarbonate (PC, Lexan) – we stopped cutting Lexan due to the fumes.
Any material containing chlorine
PVC (Cintra) – contains chlorine
Vinyl – contains chlorine
Glass – we can engrave glass, but we cannot cut it.
Printed circuit board (FR4 and other material types)
Carbon fiber
High-density polyethylene (HDPE) thicker than 1/16" – We are unable to cut HDPE thicker than 1/16", and HDPE of any thickness melts badly when laser cut."

Hope this helps...

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