The xTool F1 Portable Laser Engraver, an innovative, modular, dual-laser engraver, engraves faster and is capable of working on a variety of materials.
This article undertakes a critical review of the xTool F1 laser engraver by subjecting it to comprehensive testing. The performance, as well as my candid evaluation of pricing, features, upgrades, and more, will be shared.
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Xtool F1 Test Results: Performance Evaluation Performance testing of the xTool F1 was conducted on various materials, utilizing the default settings in the xTool Creative Space (XCS) software.
Upon selecting the material, the software automatically configures other settings. However, for cutting tasks, manual adjustment of laser settings based on material thickness is often necessary.
The infrared laser in the F1 successfully engraved on black acrylic at speeds ranging from 140 to 180 mm/sec, employing 90% power. The resulting engraving exhibited a clear white color.
For cutting 3mm thick acrylic, the diode laser module in the xTool F1 was used at 100% power and a speed of 2mm/sec in a single pass. Despite exceeding the estimated time, the cutting job displayed an angled cut along the acrylic, attributed to the galvo head reflecting the laser beam from a single point.
Engraving on wood (plywood) with the diode laser, set at 80% power, 420 dot duration, and 270 DPI, produced clear and detailed results. However, attempts to achieve a clean cut on plywood were unsuccessful due to the laser beam’s inability to penetrate the 2mm thickness, possibly hindered by adhesives within the wood layers.
Utilizing the IR module on the xTool F1 at 550 mm/sec speed and 50% power effectively removed rust from an old chisel. Engraving an image on stainless steel using the same settings also yielded satisfactory results.
The xTool F1, equipped with a 10W diode laser, effortlessly engraves on various materials such as wood, leather, ceramic, glass, rock, and rubber. Additionally, the 2W infrared laser is suitable for gold, silver, copper, acrylic, stainless steel, plastic, and aluminum. However, the diode and infrared lasers cannot be activated simultaneously, requiring users to choose one at a time.
Switching between the two laser modes occurs seamlessly within the software, streamlining the engraving process based on the selected material.
The xTool F1 is compatible with xTool Creative Space (XCS) and LightBurn software. XCS is free, while LightBurn is a paid option. Notably, LightBurn users cannot switch between lasers and must use XCS for this functionality.
The F1 laser engraver can be connected to a computer (Windows or Mac) via WiFi or USB. The XCS mobile app facilitates operation with iPad, iPhone, or Android devices.
A noteworthy addition to the XCS software is the built-in AI image generator, allowing users to input text commands and receive unique AI-generated images. This feature provides a creative and efficient way to add royalty-free artwork or designs to projects without relying on external image resources.
Unlike typical laser engravers, the xTool F1 employs a dual mirror galvanometer instead of stepper motors for laser head movement along the XY axes. This design choice contributes to faster operation compared to regular desktop laser engravers. The Z-axis utilizes a lead screw drive, enabling smooth focus adjustments.
Contrastingly, the xTool D1 Pro, another machine from xTool, has a maximum engraving speed of 400mm/s, significantly slower than the F1’s impressive speed of 4000mm/s.
The galvanometer system’s innovative structure ensures precise and smooth engraving, enabling the creation of detailed designs with greater accuracy.
Additionally, xTool introduces a frame and design outline preview feature that utilizes a harmless blue light and galvanometer to quickly display the area on the workpiece where the laser will print and how the design will appear.
The F1 laser engraver boasts a unique design that allows for both desktop and handheld configurations. This flexibility enables engraving at various angles on challenging surfaces. The removable base plate further expands the engraving possibilities, allowing users to aim the F1 at any flat surface for laser engraving.
Safety concerns are addressed by the F1’s enclosed design, which blocks the laser beam, and the built-in exhaust fan that evacuates fumes. An emergency stop button on the left side provides quick access to halt machine operations.
For users planning to operate the F1 in enclosed spaces, such as apartments, xTool recommends the desktop smoke purifier to manage fumes effectively.
The F1 is compatible with xTool’s slide extension and RA2 Pro accessories, available for separate purchase or as a bundled package with the machine. The slide extension increases the default work area from 115 x 115mm to 400 x 115mm, while the RA2 Pro enables engraving on complex shapes like cylinders and spheres.
Connecting the F1 laser engraver to a computer or mobile device is possible through WiFi or USB. The software supports various image file formats, including SVG, DXF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, and BMP. Vector formats like SVG and DXF are recommended for accurate and repeatable engravings.
After selecting the material, XCS automatically adjusts laser settings based on recommended values. Users can choose to proceed with these settings or manually adjust them according to their setup.
Setting the laser beam in focus is accomplished by entering the workpiece thickness in the software or using the focus adjustment knob. With these preparations complete, users are ready to initiate engraving or cutting jobs.
The F1 can cut thin workpieces like paper cards and foils, but caution is advised against cutting wood or acrylic due to the absence of air assist. While the diode laser can cut these materials, clean cuts may not be achieved. Standard laser safety practices, including ventilation and protective gear, are necessary when working with the xTool F1.
Despite its capabilities, the xTool F1 comes with a considerable price tag. The basic package, xTool F1 Standalone, is priced at approximately $1999, nearly four times the cost of a standard desktop “diode” laser engraver. However, the F1 distinguishes itself by featuring both a diode laser and an IR laser, offering the functionality of two distinct laser machines in one.
Comparing the xTool F1 with its counterparts, especially the LaserPecker 4, reveals unique features and advantages. In terms of design, the xTool F1’s compact, portable body with a lift-up lid for easy access contrasts with the LaserPecker’s magnetic panels, which may be less convenient for switching workpieces.
While the F1 has a smaller engraving area (115 x 115mm) than the LaserPecker 4 (160 x 120mm), both share nearly identical laser specifications, featuring a 10W 450nm diode and a 2W 1064nm IR laser.
Both models facilitate straightforward beam alignment, but the F1 offers autofocus capability, eliminating the need for manual adjustments with each job. Robust safety features, including emergency stop buttons and tilt protection, are present on both lasers. Notably, the xTool F1 comes fully assembled and ready for use out of the box, unlike the LaserPecker, which requires some assembly.
Overall, the xTool F1 represents a significant investment. Its robust features and dual-laser functionality cater to a wide range of materials, making it an attractive option for hobbyists and small businesses. While its high cost might be a hurdle, the machine’s versatility and ease of use make it a worthwhile consideration for those seeking advanced laser engraving capabilities. You can buy it on XTool official website for just $1409.99. Here is Exclusive coupon: $80 off on orders over $999 by using IMPACT80 until 31 May 2024.