I was just wondering… is there anything like a fumes detector for laser that would alarm you when you cut a material that should not be lasered? I know the general DON’Ts materials for laser but I’ve had some hard times finding out about the exact composition of some of the not-so-straight-forward ones. If something catches on fire is clearly not ok but there are many materials that are harmeful but there is no way to see it. For example a chrome-tanned leather. It´s been a nightmare for me to find a reliable supplier of veg tanned leather so I just gave up on leather projects (shipping costs of proofgrades are killing me so this is not an option).
I was thinking that some kind of a detector of the most common laser-related fumes would do the trick. You could just forget about all the secret ingredient search, put any material in the laser and if the buzzer doesn’t go off in few seconds you’re good to go. It would make my life so much easier!
That would be one expensive and complex detector, if it was even possible.
As for “If something catches on fire is clearly not ok”, that is not correct unless you plan on only ever putting slate or glass in the machine. All that wood, paper, plastic etc. is flammable and is being burned by the laser. The trick is to not allow the laser beam to spend too much time in any one area so the flames never catch to the point where they continue to burn after the laser moves away.
Are you not in the US? Because if you are Tandy Leather is your friend.
The issues with chrome tanned are with your lungs, not the machine’s. With very good ventilation (preferably not into an area where other people would breathe it either) it’ll cut & engrave.
That’s the problem with “laser safe”. As with “organic”, in many cases it would qualify but the manufacturer has no interest in getting it tested since its not a large enough market (yet).