Polyester fabric...is it safe to cut?

I work with textiles and bought myself some kimono in bulk. Usually they are all silk. But not this time. One of them is polyester. It’s beautiful and I was thinking I could make my first project on my Glowforge (been sitting in the workshop for a few months) with this otherwise unusable fabric.

I found an instructable that details designing laser cuts for garments but it also says that polyester may be toxic to cut. Lots of searching hasn’t turned up anything that is helping me to decide if this is safe.

Does anybody know, is polyester fabric safe to laser cut?

I don’t have a tag or anything from the garment (they don’t put those into kimono) but a quick burn test melted the corner into a little plastic-y bead, which tells me it’s a synthetic, and I’d call it polyester.


Glowforging polyester it is not going to destroy your GF through producing acids. I would glowforge it as long as my ventilation is working right. Whatever bad stuff it produces isn’t produced in great quantities and is mostly just going to go out the window. Polyester might very well produce less bad stuff than wood does. But I’m not a chemist and your assumption of risk may vary from mine.


Thanks! We do have the Glowforge well ventilated.

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I laser cut polyester stencil material frequently, and that stuff is thicker. I don’t think the fabric will be a problem but you should stand by and watch it while it cuts.

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I’ve cut lots of polyester. Just watch for flames, especially if there are close cuts or fine radii cuts.

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Agree with @cynd11 and @marmak3261, with the added caveat that cutting multiple layers of paper or fabric tends to multiply the chance of :fire: .

Not implying that you were going to do so – just being safety guy for a moment. :sunglasses: