PVC is to be avoided at all costs as it corrodes metal parts of the laser cutter and gives off highly toxic fumes. It’s also bad for your health and is classed as a chemical warfare agent. Avoid it at all costs and check your material’s MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet). Kydex and Foamex contain PVC and should be avoided too.
PTFE or Teflon (commonly used in cooking pans) can be cut, engraved and marked very easily with a CO2 laser and provides an excellent result. However, if the product is metallized it is not possible to cut through this as the metallization absorbs the laser energy and stops it from cutting.
Polyimide or Kapton tape is a good material to use for laser engraving and marking as it is very durable, however it chars and produces a lot of smoke when being processed so caution should be taken. The same can be said for many foams; they can be very effective to laser cut but care needs to be taken with the type of foam you choose as some give off toxic / corrosive fumes when burnt.
The type of materials that can be laser cut will depend on the type of laser cutter you have. A CO2 laser cutter is more likely to be able to cut metal than a fibre laser and will be able to cut a wider range of materials. Always consult the laser cutter manufacturer’s manual before attempting to cut a new material to ensure you have an accurate understanding of what the machine can and cannot do.