Safety of “Leather” Material

I’ve been reading in this fantastic community that PU products are not safe to use with the machine due to harmful fumes that are generated during the engraving process. I’ve seen some companies selling “laserable faux leather” materials and was wondering if anyone knows if these are different and usable, and if so, why? I would like to think that materials wouldn’t be marketed as “laserable” if they weren’t safe, but I thought it was best to ask all you brilliant folks first.

Thanks in advance for your time!

Polyurethane is generally fairly ok to laser, but all plastics are going to give off fumes that I wouldn’t want to breathe.

If your vent setup is good you should be ok. The only caution I’d give is that many fake leathers are PVC based so I’d be very careful to be sure that’s not what you have.

Also as with all plastics, watch it carefully. They can be melty and/or flammable, neither of which is good.


I greatly appreciate your response!

Companies that advertise their products as laserable will provide the contents of the material and have done adequate testing. Johnson Plastics Saddle Collection and JDS products are made specifically for use in lasers and I believe they are safe.


But “safe for the laser” does not by default mean it’s safe to the user/those breathing exhaust without filters/ventilation…

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I would think so as well. However, the company doing the marketing has to be reputable. A seller on eBay may believe it is safe to laser, but it may not be. A company like Johnson Plastics is expected to know for sure.

The reason some faux leather is safe to laser and some is not is based on its chemical composition. Pleather, that plastic stuff on old couches and cars from the seventies is a chlorine containing vinyl. It wasn’t very leather like, but it came in rolls industrial machines could handle and cut and sewed just fine. Today, they make some faux leather, that is more leather like, from a variety of materials some of which are safe to laser. The problem, at least based on my periodic searching, is that generally you need to buy it in industrial quantities whereas you can buy a hide, or part of a hide, from numerous leather retailers.

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