At the Boiler Room Studios, we're lucky to have a very efficient air extraction unit, which can pull stinky fumes from a number of points around the workshop - and, most importantly, from the back of the laser cutter.
Many people warn that laser cutting leather is a stinky old business, so we were a little reluctant to do more than cut a few test circles into some green leather patches, reclaimed from an old handbag, for one of the resident artists. Surprisingly, however, once the lining had been removed, and we confirmed that the leather did not have a polyurethane coating, it cut quite well.
Our usual settings of 16mm/sec, 15mA proved far too slow/powerful for this leather, and it scorched very easily. We wound the power down to 10mA and cut at a rather speedy 40mm/sec.
Although the reverse (the side that was cut onto) still had slight scorch marks, the front-facing side had crisp, clean cut lines. The cutting beam "spread" was so little that the pieces removed were salvaged and used on another project.
The result was a pleasingly clean cut, and we managed to avoid stinking the place out with the smell of burnt leather (which is rather unpleasant). All in all, a successful test!