Objectively speaking, xTool F1 is one of the best portable laser engravers I have seen so far and it is my favorite portable laser engraver. The reason is simple. One, xTool F1 features a diode laser and IR laser, which can engrave a lot of materials, including wood and metals. Two, xTool F1 is compatible with the smoke purifier, rotary extension, and slide extension. Those versatile functions enable creativity to be largely unrestricted. Three, I pretty much love the aesthetic design of the xTool F1 and its accessories, which are simple but elegant. Fourth, xTool F1 has its own software called xTool Creative Space. Its own branded software makes xTool F1 compatible and, of course, very easy to use.
This article will provide a comprehensive review of the xTool F1 and introduce you to the xTool F1 portable laser engraver from a beginner’s perspective, so whether you’re new to lasers or on the fence about purchasing an xTool laser engraver, this is a must-read.
The xTool F1 portable laser engraver I received is a deluxe bundle valued at $2,288! I received a total of 5 perfectly packaged packages, and when I opened them they were xTool F1 portable laser engraver, air purifier, RA2 pro rotary, slider extension, and material kits.
Needless to say, xtool has tried to make the product as pre-installed as possible, so there aren’t too many loose parts and it’s easy for the consumer to install the air cleaner, slider extension, and rotary without worrying at all about how it’s going to be used. The fact that the product is so easy to use is an advantage of xtool, as well as the fact that detailed instructions are provided for the consumer’s reference. All in all, I’m very excited about the product out of the box so far, and now I’m going to have a clean, high-value laser engraver!
Smoke purifier for xTool F1 review
The xTool F1 comes with a desktop smoke purifier and I have to say it’s really clean and premium. Inside the box, there is only a product manual, a power adapter, an air duct, and a cable to connect the xTool F1. There is only one on/off button on the front of the desktop air purifier, and as you can observe, there are two LEDs on the left and right side of the button, the left LED represents the automatic mode, which means that when the air purifier is connected to the xTool F1 laser engraver, the air purifier will automatically start whenever the machine is working. The LED on the right, however, represents the custom mode, where you can use the smoke purifier for other desktop laser engravers and make the smoke purifier work by manually activating the power button.
On the back of the air cleaner are some general power switches, as well as ports for connecting the xTool F1 protable laser engraver. It is worth mentioning that on the far right, there is a toggle switch that allows you to adjust the strength of the exhaust, for example, when we are working on engraving, we usually choose a weak exhaust due to the small amount of smoke, but when we are working on laser cutting, it is usually recommended to adjust the exhaust to the maximum strength. This is really user-friendly and shows that xTool products have the consumer in mind.
When the xTool F1 is laser engraving or cutting, this desktop smoke purifier will work automatically, and the harmful fumes generated will be sucked in from the upper inlet, then purified by the internal filter cartridge and discharged from the lower outlet. As you can see from the internal structure of the air purifier, the filter cartridge is replaceable, so when you think the cartridge needs to be replaced, just buy it on the xTool official website.
You don’t have to worry about it being difficult to use, I can honestly tell you here that xTool’s products are really simple to use, automated so to speak, to the point where you just need to plug it in and use it. Once you get your hands on the xTool F1 portable laser engraver, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to use, with no technical barriers at all!
Software download and setting
xTool has its own official operating software called xTool Creative Space, which can be downloaded directly from xtool.com. The software is very easy to use and is really recommended. After downloading the software, click on “Connect device” in the upper right corner, and then choose your favorite way to connect the xTool F1, the operation is very simple, do not need to say too much.
xTool F1 engraving and cutting testing
The xTool F1 Portable Laser Engraver is a dual laser source that is equipped with a 10-watt 450 nm blue laser and a 2-watt 1064 IR laser. The xTool F1 is therefore very versatile when it comes to engraving materials and can engrave almost any material. Due to its small size and air purifier, the xTool F1 is perfect for indoor use or use at home. Whether you use it for block crafts or custom gold jewelry, personally, it’s perfect. I was pleased to see that the F1 portable laser engraver really did what they claimed, that it could engrave at a maximum speed of 4000mm/s, which is really fast and the engraving results are quite good.
450nm laser mode cutting testing
We looked at the cutting power of the 450nm laser and tested it on a 3mm sheet of plywood. We set the laser energy to vary from 10% to 100% and the speed to vary from 2mm/s to 20mm/s. By the way, I’m sticking with xTool Create Space software because it’s really easy to use, even newbies who have never worked with lasers before will know how to set it up when they see it. Don’t believe me? you’ll be amazed when you buy it!
As the cutting test results below show, all cuts were made only once. When the speed reaches 4mm/s and the laser power is 80%, the 3mm plywood is cut completely. Of course, when you reach a speed of 2mm/s, only 50% of the laser power is needed to cut it easily and the cut edge is very clean. With these reliable tests of cutting parameters, you are ready for your crafting.
450nm laser mode engraving testing
To demonstrate the speed of the xTool F1 portable laser engraver on a variety of materials, I tested the 450nm blue laser and the 1064 IR laser on a variety of materials including stone, wood, paper, aluminum, and stainless steel. Yes, some materials do allow for perfect engraving at a maximum speed of 4000mm/s. All of the following engraving tests were performed with only one engraving pass.
Let’s first look at the engraving effect of the 450nm blue laser on a stone with different parameters. I have to say that the xTool F1 is very fast, it only took 33 seconds to complete the test of engraving 100 small squares. As you can see, when the laser power reaches 80% or more, with a maximum engraving speed of 4000mm/s, you can really get a clear pattern. This means that when engraving stone with the xTool F1, we can achieve a maximum speed of 4000mm/s to complete our work!
Let’s look at laser engraving tests on wood. With only one engraving pass, it seems that a speed of 4000mm/s doesn’t work on the wood, and even with 100% laser power, the engraving speed needs to be set near 400mm/s to get good engraving results. With these comparisons of the engraving results for different engraving parameters, you can create on wood with great confidence. And of course, xTool Creative Space software will also provide you with common material parameter settings, just you choose the corresponding material, it will automatically help you set up the engraving parameters, which is really convenient.
What happens when we engrave on a piece of paper? As I expected, the engraving results are very good, and at 50% laser power you can engrave at a maximum speed of 4000mm/s.
Next, let’s take a look at a 10W 450nm laser engraving on metal. We tested on aluminum, when the laser power of 70%, 800mm / s engraving speed, can still get a good clear engraving effect. However, if you want a deeper coloration, you may need to set the engraving speed below 100mm/s.
Well, let’s take another look at the exciting stainless steel engraving. Due to the area limitation of stainless steel, I can only narrow down the engraving parameters. So I directly set the laser power to 100% output and the engraving speed to 20mm/s,40mm/s,60mm/s, and 80mm/s respectively. What amazes me is how beautifully the engraving patterns show different colors for each engraving speed! It turns out that color engraving on stainless steel is so easy with the xTool F1 portable laser engraver!
IR laser mode testing
After the engraving and cutting test with the 450nm laser mode, let’s take a look at the engraving test with the 1064nm IR laser mode. Since the IR laser mode is mainly used for metal engraving, I only tested the engraving effect on aluminum and stainless steel, of course, the IR laser can also engrave plastics and other materials.
As shown in the figure below, I still set the laser output power in the range of 10% to 100% and the engraving speed in the range of 80mm/s-800mm/s when engraving an aluminum sheet with a coating. However, from the engraving effect, all the parameter settings are not ideal, I think it may be due to the influence of the coating on the surface, making the IR laser can not play the role well, or the engraving speed is still too fast, should continue to reduce the engraving speed.
Similarly, I tested engraving stainless steel using the IR laser mode, using the same parameter settings as the 450nm laser for engraving stainless steel. As you can see, the IR laser is still capable of engraving stainless steel in color, and at the same parameter settings, it produces more vibrant colors than the 450nm blue laser. If you want to explore more colors, you can continue to set different engraving parameter ranges to explore richer color rendering.
In the previous engraving and cutting tests on a variety of materials, we really appreciate the versatility of the xTool F1 portable laser engraver, the engraving speed of 4000mm/s is really not a lie, but of course, the realization of ultra-fast engraving speed depends on the material. But you don’t have to go overboard with extremely fast engraving if you want to get good engraving works.
Top speed 4000mm/s engraving
Let’s see how fast the xTool F1 can engrave on cardboard. The video below is a real-time demonstration of engraving at 100% laser power and a speed of 4,000 mm/s. It takes less than 10 seconds to engrave a logo design on cardboard! No other diode laser engraver can match this efficiency.
RA2 Pro rotary for xTool F1 review
More than the first time I’ve said that xTool’s products are really easy to use and never feel complicated to the user. Using the RA2 pro rotary is no different, you just need to assemble the RA2 rotary according to the RA2 rotary’s instruction manual and connect the xTool F1 portable laser engraver to the RA2 rotary with a cable.
After connecting them with the cable, just select “laser cylindrical” in the XCS software interface, and the RA2 rotary is actually ready to be used on the xTool F1, and then you can select different modes according to the different functions of the rotary, e.g. Roller rotary, Chuck rotary (ring rotary, chuck rotary). If we choose the Chuck rotary mode, we need to enter the perimeter or diameter of the object while the roller mode doesn’t need to. The whole process is really simple.
Next, we take a look at a test run of the RA2 rotary’s different modes, including roller rotary mode, chuck rotary mode, and ring rotary mode. These different function modes allow you to engrave objects of different shapes, thus increasing the all-round versatility of the RA2 rotary.
RA2 pro rotary “roller rotary” mode for xTool F1 testing
The RA2 rotary’s roller rotary function allows you to carve cylinders with regular shapes, such as cups, glass bottles, wine bottles, etc. As shown in the photo below, the roller rotary function mode has three different diameter settings, A, B, and C. You can adjust the distance between the two rotary bars according to the different diameters of the object to be engraved.
Since I was using it to engrave a small cup in this test, I moved the left rotary bar to the B position, which was able to clamp my cup nicely.
Place the cup directly on top of the RA2 rotary and set the XCS software to select the roller mode. Since the lid of the mug is plastic, I chose the recommended engraving parameters for 3mm acrylic directly from the XCS software. This time I chose the 1064nm IR laser mode, because I wanted to watch the whole engraving process directly with bare eyes, and the 1064nm IR laser can also engrave on plastic very well.
It is necessary to remind here that you must remember to focus before engraving, I prefer to focus the laser focus by rotating the rotary button on the top right of the xTool F1 portable laser engraver. How can you tell you have finished the laser focus? All you need to do is to overlap the blue and red dots that appear on the surface of the engraved object, which can be done by using the rotary button on the top right of the xTool F1.
I have to say, the engraving is really quite fast. Because I chose the recommended engraving parameters for 3mm black acrylic, the laser power is automatically set to 90%, and the engraving speed is set to 200mm/s. Engraving the “TechnicalTrendy” logo on the lid of the cup took only 2 minutes. If you were there, you would be really impressed by the engraving effect of the xTool F1. Look at the logo on the lid of the cups, it is beautifully engraved by the IR laser with perfect clarity and detail.
So if your engraving results are below your expectations, you must have set your engraving parameters wrong. xTool F1 with RA2 rotary is really good for us to personalize the tumblers at home!
RA2 pro rotary “chuck rotary” mode for xTool F1 testing
What if we want to use the xTool F1 portable laser engraver to engrave irregular objects at home, such as mugs? Don’t worry, the RA2 rotary’s “Chuck rotary” mode can easily help us. To use the Chuck rotary mode, you need to remove the two rotary bars, and then install the special parts for the “chuck rotary” mode, the installation is not complicated, so there is no need to repeat it here.
What you need to know in advance is that when you select “chuck rotary” to engrave an object such as a mug, you need to enter the circumference or diameter of the object. After entering the exact circumference or diameter, you can still click framing, to preview the engraving range, all the process is really simple, only after you use it to know.
In the “chuck rotary” mode test, I still used the 1064nm IR laser, set the laser power to 80%, the speed to 160mm/s, and the lines per cm to 200, and the final time to complete the engraving of this pattern was 4 minutes and 51 seconds.
RA2 pro rotary “ring rotary” mode for xTool F1 testing
The RA2 pro rotary’s “ring rotary” mode allows us to engrave objects of small caliber, such as rings, glasses, small bottle caps, etc. To use the “ring rotary” function, you still have to select the “Chuck mode” in the xTool Creative Space software and enter the circumference or diameter of the object.
Here, I wanted to engrave our website’s logo on a clear glass from my workshop to give it a more personalized look. Because of engraving transparent objects, I have to put a coating on the surface of the glass so that the laser can’t be reflected or pass through the glass, thus avoiding the possibility of hurting the xTool F1 or things around it.
To ensure perfect engraving on the glass, I chose the 450nm blue laser mode and set the laser power to 100%, the engraving speed to 80mm/s, and the lines per cm to 100. As a result, I was able to get a perfect logo in just one pass, with a total time of only 1 minute and 26 seconds.
I also tried personalizing the wooden lids of my home cream bottles using the 450nm blue laser mode, and as you can see, the engraving turned out very well, and it only took about 80 seconds to finish engraving the logo.
I’ve been totally immersed in customizing everything in my home with the xTool F1 portable laser engraver, and I have to say, the xTool F1 is really great for home use! I chose the IR mode to customize the lipstick lid with our website logo, it only takes 58 seconds to make this lipstick more personalized, and I can now give the lipstick with my favorite logo to my favorite people!
Slide extension for xTool F1 review
Now it’s time for the exciting slide extension! The slide extension is specifically designed for batch or large-area engraving on the xTool F1 portable laser engraver. The slide extension is very easy to install and connect, just use the cable to connect to the xTool F1 and then select the corresponding slide extension option in the XCS software to start laser calibration. Before using the slide extension, we need to perform a laser calibration, the whole calibration process is very simple as all the tutorials are available in the XCS software in the form of a pop-up window to show you how to do it.
So let’s take an immersive look at how to perform a laser calibration before using the slide extension.
xTool F1 slide extension pre-use laser calibration tutorials
Step 1: align and calibrate. You should align the right edge of the removable ruler with the scale 0 of the slide extension and tighten the screws. Then align the vertical line on the side of the slide extension with the detachable bottom plate edge of xTool F1, and align the side of the slide extension with the second line on the bottom plate. After that, you should move the ruler to the work area, and turn the knob to set the laser focus. When you have completed the above steps, click Next.
Step 2: Screws pre-locking. After completing all of step 1, manually move the slide extension’s slider to the right and you will see the set screw on the left side, which you will then need to screw in, but not too tight, you need to allow room for it to turn at an angle. Once you finish this, click next, and start the laser calibration.
Step 3: Start the laser calibration. When you come to step 3, the xTool F1 will emit a blue laser line for precise positioning. You need to move the slide extension to the left or right slightly to align the laser line in the middle of the movable ruler. And then please tighten the left screw, and click Next. Then the slide extension moves to the left automatically.
Step 4: Final calibration and lock. Tighten the fixing screws on the right side, and then the laser calibration before slide extension use is all done. Wasn’t the whole process easy? Once it’s done, you’re ready to have fun creating with it!
Batch engraving with slide extension
The slide extension really gives the xTool F1 the power to be more than just a portable laser engraver with a small working area. With the slide extension, it is easy to engrave or cut larger areas, in this case, I used it to customize 3 stone coasters at the same time.
In this case, since xTool Creative Space software comes with recommended settings for many materials, I found the “Stone Coaster” material option directly in the software, and then the engraving parameters were set automatically. Since the material was a stone coaster, xTool F1 automatically set 100% blue laser power and 160mm/s engraving speed, so I didn’t have to worry about the whole process, and it was really easy to use.
The only thing to note is that when doing batch engraving, the preview feature（Framing button on software） is a great help as there are multiple patterns on the software interface that require you to manually move the stone coasters to the exact location! By previewing the outline of the engraving pattern, you can accurately move the engraved object to the corresponding engraving position.
Safety protection of xTool F1
I can’t help but praise the xTool F1 portable laser engraver because I’ve really experienced how reassuring the security features of the xTool F1 are! There was a small mishap when I was planning to use the slide extension for batch engraving. I had pulled down the cover of the xTool F1 too low, and when the slide extension was working, the screws on the ruler touched the cover.
The moment the screw on the ruler touches the cover, the xTool F1 vibrates, and the safety feature works. Because xTool F1 immediately detected the vibration, it stopped working, and a warning popped up on the software.
I’m really thankful that xTool F1 has such a thoughtful safety feature. Without the vibration detection feature, I would have been at a loss as to what to do in a situation like this, which could have caused further damage to the laser machine. In addition to the vibration detection feature, you should also be able to tell that the xTool F1 has eye protection and air purification as well since it has a protective cover and an air purifier. Another thing you may not know is that the xTool F1 actually has an overheat protection feature that prevents the machine from overheating while engraving or cutting and causing the material to burn, which could burn the machine or start a fire.
Pros and Cons
I am very satisfied with the xTool F1 laser engraver during the whole process, it is really suitable for home or indoor use, here are my comments on the good aspects of the xTool F1 based on my real use:
Pros of xTool F1
First, I’m really happy with the design of the xTool and the accessories that come with it.The whole design is beautiful and compact and it offers compatibility with air purifiers, RA2 rotary as well as slide extension, you can choose whether to buy it or not depending on your budget but I really highly recommend you buy them all in one go, with these accessories you can maximize the creativity of the xTool F1.
Secondly, the engraving speed is very fast and I like the fact that it is equipped with a 450nm blue laser and a 1064nm IR laser for engraving different materials. From my previous test, the engraving speed can really reach 4000mm/s, which is especially suitable for engraving stone and paper, and the engraving can be finished in just a few seconds!
Thirdly, I have to say that the easy-to-use of the xTool F1 is what surprised me the most. From the operation of the xTool Creative Space software to the assembly and configuration of the xTool F1, RA2 rotary, smoke purifier, and slide extension. All of these processes are amazingly simple, and even if you’re someone who has never encountered a laser engraver before, you’ll be able to master it with ease!
Fourthly, I am really satisfied with the security protection of xTool F1. In particular, the overheat protection and motion detection features ensure that we can use the xTool safely!
Cons of xTool F1
However, isn’t there anything less satisfying about the xTool F1? Of course there are. There is no such thing as perfection. First of all, let’s realize that the xTool F1 is a portable, versatile laser engraver. Because of its small and beautiful design and dual lasers mode, it makes it very suitable for most groups. But, here are some of the things that I think xTool F1 does not satisfy certain groups of people.
Firstly, the xTool F1 portable laser engraver does not satisfy the people who create large engravings. With the slide extension, the xTool F1 can engrave or cut up to 400 mm*115 mm. xTool F1 may not be able to meet your expectations if you are keen on creating large areas, such as 400 mm*400 mm.
Second, the laser power of the xTool F1 is not the most powerful. xTool F1 portable laser engraver is equipped with a 10W blue laser and a 2W 1064nm IR laser. With the dual laser sources, it is perfectly suited for engraving most materials. However, due to the limitations of the laser power, it is not able to cut as well as other 40W diode laser cutters. If you like to cut thicker materials or make larger blocks, the xTool F1 will not be able to meet your needs.
Is xTool F1 right for your small business?
Is xTool F1 right for your small business? The answer is yes! With its dual laser feature and super-fast engraving speeds that allow you to engrave almost any material and customize your work quickly, this is the best portable laser engraver to start your personalized customization small business.
In my opinion, the xTool F1 portable laser engraver is absolutely made for customizing small objects. If you are in the business of customizing small gifts or items, such as custom jewelry engraving, wallet engraving, personalized electronics engraving, photo frames engraving, tumblers engraving, etc., the xTool F1 can really boost your business because of its simplicity and fast engraving speed that will allow you to process your business orders faster.
If you’re looking to expand your business, such as having the ability to cut wood to make interesting wood block pieces or custom engrave large works of art, you may want to purchase a tabletop laser engraver. With that said, I have to mention xTool’s new xTool S1 40W enclosed diode laser cutter. Since the xTool S1 is an enclosed laser cutter or engraver, it remains suitable for indoor use. Its 40W diode laser power can easily cut wood up to 20mm thick. And with an engraving area of up to 498mm*319mm, the xTool S1 is perfect for your customized work on large pieces.
The xTool S1 enclosed laser cutter has many more highlights. For example, its brand-new two-point positioning feature means you can easily achieve engraving range settings without the guesswork. Then there’s the dynamic focus engraving that allows you to engrave curved or uneven surfaces perfectly! That’s because when engraving a surface, the xTool S1’s Z-axis takes multi-point measurements of the surface to calculate the proper focus, and then builds a 3D model so that the image fits the surface better.
Having both the xTool F1 portable laser engraver and the xTool S1 enclosed laser cutting machine is necessary if you want your customization business to cater to the needs of the majority of your customers. xTool F1 can quickly and efficiently handle small items for your customization business or creative needs, while the xTool S1 allows you to accomplish larger, more complex customization needs.
After more than 1 month of real use, I really like the xTool F1 portable laser engraver more and more. The engraving speed of 4000mm/s really impresses me! When I didn’t use the xTool F1, I thought that it would be complicated to use and I had to spend a lot of time learning about it. In fact, I was wrong, both the xTool F1 laser engraver and the RA2 rotary and slide extension are very easy to use. I have to praise the user-friendliness of the xTool products!
So I really recommend it, whether you’re an amateur crafter or a creator who makes a living from customized work, it’s worth having it.