Do you want to to make laser cut and engraved crafts but don’t have the space for a large CO2 laser cutter and engraver? You have to check out the xTool F1 Laser Machine! It’s a small and portable desktop laser engraver and cutter that combines the power of a blue diode laser as well as an infrared laser. That means you can engrave all metals with the xTool F1! Keep reading to learn more!
Makeblock provided me with a xTool F1 machine to test, but all of my thoughts and opinions are 100% my own!
Laser Machine That Engraves Metal
Laser cut and laser engraved crafts have become so popular, but there’s one question I hear all of the time: can this laser machine engrave metal? I have 3 laser craft machines to make coasters, earrings, wooden signs, but none of them can engrave all different kinds of metal! But this new compact laser machine from xTool can!
The xTool F1 is a unique PORTABLE and FAST (up to 4000mm/second!) machine that combines a 10W diode laser AND a 2W 1064nm infrared laser. An infrared laser is the same type of light beam that is used in fiber lasers, which is what people think of when they want to engrave metals!
So what does that mean for a home crafter? Since infrared wavelengths are able to interact with materials differently, you will be able to add all types of metals (copper, gold, silver, aluminum, etc) as well as plastics, some acrylics, stones, and additional materials to your craft project list! Yes, that means all of the jewelry you can think of can be engraved by the xTool F1!
And because the xTool F1 is a laser machine that combines the versatility of the infrared laser AND a diode laser, you can cut or engrave any materials similar to the xTool M1 and Glowforge Aura as well.
Before I get started on all of the details of the xTool F1, if you want to compare laser types, materials you can cut or engrave, and figure out what the best laser machine is for you, make sure you check out this laser machine comparison post.
Is xTool Better than Glowforge?
I have already done a detailed comparison of the xTool laser machines and my Glowforge – including the brand new xTool P2 and Glowforge Aura. I have tech specs, my honest opinions, and everything you need to know before you buy a laser cutter!
Makeblock is the company behind the xTool F1, M1, xTool P2, as well as the successful xTool D1 and other laser cutting and engraving machines. They have a wide range of products that suit almost every crafter and hobbyist. The F1 infrared and diode laser is a new portable desktop machine that can travel WITH you to craft shows or any room in your house!
What is the xTool F1?
The xTool F1 is one of the newest machines to hit the craft market, and is unique in that it combines the power of diode and infrared laser beams to expand your craft projects to include different metals, wood, some acrylics, plastic, rubber, leather, and more.
It is super fast, safe, and is small enough to be portable – take it anywhere you want to make custom engraved projects. Can you imagine the ability to take this small laser engraver with you to quickly personalize jewelry, ornaments, coasters, and other small items to sell at a craft show!? If you’ve been wanting to try laser engraving metal, this might be the best laser engraver for you!
The F1 is perfect for crafters that have a small space and small budget for laser crafts. You can set it up right on your desk and craft small projects that are budget friendly – which also means that you can sell your crafts and your profit margin is larger!
It is even perfect for home crafters that have other laser machines such as the xTool P2 that want to expand their crafting potential without the use of marking sprays or other “work arounds” for engraving all kinds of metal (like metal marking spray).
What Kind of Laser is the xTool F1?
The xTool F1 contains a 10W 455nm (nanometer) blue diode laser and a 2W 1064nm infrared (IR) laser. It is the only machine that I have seen that combines both of those types of lasers in one machine. (For instance, the xTool D1 does have interchangeable laser heads so you can swap between a diode and IR laser.)
There are a few types of lasers that most hobby crafters are interested in: diode, CO2, and fiber laser machines. In general, diode laser beams are less powerful and much less expensive than a CO2 laser beam. Fiber lasers (commonly 1064nm wavelength Infrared) come in a range of wattage power, suitable for the home crafter up to industrial use. In general, the more powerful the laser head, the more expensive it is.
Diode lasers are a popular choice for crafters that want an entry-level laser at a lower price. What’s unique about the F1 is the affordability and combination of the two types of lasers so that you can maximize the amount of crafts you can make, especially for small businesses.
Note: the laser types do not operate simultaneously.
What Comes in the xTool F1 Box?
Everything that you need to get started comes with the xTool F1 laser:
- xTool F1 Desktop Laser Machine
- Power Adapter
- Power Cord
- Ventilation Pipe
- USB cable for connection to computer
- Triangular Prism Plate – for placing materials to cut
- L-shaped positioning piece
- Lint Free Cloth -to clean the lens
- Spare Key – required to be in the machine during operation for safety
- Sample Pack of Materials (including metal business cards, metal pet tags, wood, slate coaster, and more)
What’s Not Included in the xTool F1 Box?
There are no machine accessories included with the machine. The portable desktop air filter, rotary accessory, extension tray are accessories that really add to the versatility and portability of the machine. In addition, safety glasses are not included if you are cutting or engraving materials without the light blocking cover completely down.
Do You Have to Assemble the xTool F1?
No. The xTool F1 comes preassembled. You only have to remove protective shipping materials and attach the ventilation pipe.
Do You Need to Vent the xTool F1 Laser Engraver?
Yes, the smoke and fumes that are created when laser cutting or engraving materials need to be vented out a window. Alternatively, you can also purchase the desktop air filter so that you can take your machine anywhere!
I have the desktop air purifier attached to my xTool F1 and I absolutely love it. My larger laser machines are taking up the table space near the windows in my office. I was able to place the F1 right on top of my desk, next to me and my computer. That is how compact the machine and filter are!
xTool F1 Technical Specs & Measurements
How Big is the xTool F1 Laser Engraver and Cutter?
The dimensions of the F1 are approximately 7″ x 9.25″ x 13.1″ (179mm x 235mm x 334mm). It weighs just over 10 pounds and is easily lifted or moved with one hand. I love how small yet powerful it is!
I set up the machine on my craft desk in the middle of my office, but it could easily be placed on my smaller computer desk, a craft cart like my rolling Ikea drawer unit, or a folding table at a craft show or outdoor craft fair. It is truly a handheld metal laser engraver.
xTool F1 Cutting Area
The F1 is designed to handle small projects. The cut/engraving area is just over 4.5″ square with rounded corners. You can expand the working area to 4.5″ by 15.75″ with the slide extension tray (sold separately). The metal surface is designed to completely protect your work space underneath.
Other Tech Specs of xTool F1
- Accuracy: .00199mm (which is perfect for intricate designs)
- Blue Light Preview speed: up to 12000mm/s
- Working Speed: up to 4000mm/s
The xTool F1 is FAST. Just for comparison, the super powerful xTool P2 can work up to 600mm/s and this machine is almost 7x faster at up to 4000mm/s! That is important if you want to make items to order at a craft show!
Unique Features of the xTool F1
- It is the first desktop laser machine that integrates a 2W 1064nm infrared laser with a 10W 455nm diode laser in the same housing – no switching laser modules!
- 90% cylinder rotary engraving is possible with the RA2 Pro accessory.
- Dual-galvanometer lasers use two precision mirror galvanometers to direct the beam at any angle within the marking window of the laser. This allows the beam to move very quickly.
- The size and weight, combined with the desktop smoke purifier make it more portable than any laser I’ve seen.
xTool F1 Design
My personal opinion when I took the F1 out of the box was that the unique design is really cute. Yeah, I know, it’s not that important but I think the design is great. It looks nice sitting on a desk!
The F1 is a small vertically oriented unit with a green double layered light blocking cover that slides up and down over the processing area.
The unit is silver and has a large handle on top to make it easy to move and transport.
It has a silver baseplate that protects your work surface. The base has small screw holes where you can place the L-shaped positioning piece. That piece can be used for batch processing so that you know your material is in the right place every time.
All of the connections and power switch are on the back of the machine.
A focus adjustment knob (for determining the distance between the laser and your project) and a design framing button so you can see where you material will be on your project. You can also complete all of these functions within xTool Creative Space.
The manual focus knob also serves as the “go” button, and lights up in various colors to indicate the process the machine is in.
What Design Programs Can You Use with xTool F1?
Speaking of xTool Creative Space (XCS), that is the proprietary design program that can be used with xTool laser machines.
The F1 is also compatible with Lightburn, which is a program that I have not used, but a lot of laser crafters love!
XCS is not my favorite program to use, but xTool is constantly updating the features within the program which I really like. It is a very capable program overall, I just design with a specific application. One thing I love about XCS is that all features in Creative Space are FREE, which is different from other machines (looking at you, Glowforge).
I would recommend a design program such as Adobe Illustrator if you would like to design your own projects. You can also definitely import free SVGs (like those on my site) or purchased files from places such as Creative Fabrica or Design Bundles. I have a whole list of sites where you can find free SVGs to download as well as a post dedicated to laser ready design projects.
One feature of XCS that is different from other laser engraver software is the ability to create basic vector designs. (Vector designs don’t lose quality when the size is changed. It’s a whole thing, but trust me, you want to design and use vector files). Because I use Adobe Illustrator, I don’t necessarily need this function, but for beginners that want to play around with vector points, that’s a nice feature that is included with XCS.
What Types of Files Work with xTool F1 Laser Engraving and Cutting?
You can upload designs in SVG, DXF, JPG, PNG, BMP, and other common file types. The most important thing to know here is that you can upload both vector and raster files.
Safety Features of the xTool F1
The fully enclosed protective cover keep you safe from the laser light as well as keeps the smoke inside the machine.
There is a strong built in fan which will pull the smoke or particles through the ventilation pipe out a window or into the smoke purifier. You do not need an air assist kit as you sometimes do with larger lasers.
There is also a red emergency stop button on the side of the machine to stop the engraving or cutting process.
A small key must be inserted into the back of the machine for it to function. If you keep the key secure, little hands can’t operate the machine accidentally.
If you’re going to cut or engrave with the cover open, you should have protective safety glasses that block blue and infrared light from harming your eyes.
You should never leave your machine unattended, and always be careful when you are operating any machine around children.
Materials That Can Be Used With the xTool F1 Laser Machine
Because of the dual laser functions, there are tons of materials that will work with the F1. xTool has a wide range of materials on their website that work great with their lasers.
The 10W diode laser can cut a variety of common materials including wood (up to 8mm thick) and certain colors of acrylic (up to 5mm). A diode laser + infrared laser engraving machine expands the materials so much!
F1 Diode Laser Materials (Engrave):
- Acrylic (some colors)
- Stainless Steel
- Slate Coasters
- and More!
F1 Diode Laser Materials (Cut)
- Wood (including maple, cherry, and walnut)
- Acrylic (some colors)
- Most paper and fabric products, and more!
F1 Infrared Laser Materials (Engrave):
- Stainless Steel
- Acrylic (even clear!)
- Rubber, and More!
What Can You Make With the xTool F1 Laser?
Engraved Metal Business Cards
I wanted to see how the machine would work with one of my unedited logos – the IR laser engraved this metal business card in under a minute. The business cards are from the xTool website and were included as part of the sample materials that came with the machine. The engraving process was really simple with a JPG file.
This personalized coordinates necklace (do you want to guess where it is?!) is something that I would have bought before I got the F1! The high quality of the engrave was a pleasant surprise! The IR laser can engrave all kinds of metal, including gold and silver plated necklaces, rings, earrings, and more! Answer: the coordinates are for the Disneyland Castle in Anaheim, CA. The necklace blank is from the xTool website.
Engraved Metal Pens
These metal engravable pens are from Cerulean Tides. What a great idea to add a personal touch to boring business supplies for a small business owner.
Want to guess how long it took for the design to engrave on these wooden keychains from xTool? One side was 19 seconds and the other was 17 seconds!
Engraved Watch Band (Rainbow)
How cool are these rainbow watchbands from xTool? They come in several colors and when you engrave them, the rainbow design appears like magic!
What is the Price of the xTool F1?
The list price for the xTool F1 laser engraver and cutter is $1999. But at the time of writing this post, it was on sale for $1599 (subject to change). That includes everything in the box, but none of the additional accessories. There’s also a bundle with the desktop smoke purifier for $2249. All of that to say, watch for sales! Plus, I have a personal discount code that you can use!
Does the xTool F1 Mark or Engrave Metal?
At faster speeds, diode and infrared lasers will “mark” metal, not engrave it like a fiber laser would. However, at lower speeds and/or with more than one pass, I have been able to engrave into the surface of blank jewelry items.
Overall xTool F1 Review
With the number of times people ask how to engrave metal with a laser machine, I was excited to get the F1. It didn’t disappoint me! I was impressed with how fast it engraved small projects, and I can definitely see how easy it would be to take to craft shows. I think it’s one of the best options for an entry level laser machine OR an add-on if you have a bustling craft business and want to add metal crafts.
The xTool accessories (like the rotary attachment) and the portability set this machine apart from the other lasers in the category as well as the other lasers I own. It’s quick to set up and it is so convenient that I can just set it right on my desk where I’m working.
Here are my honest opinions after testing the F1:
- The F1 is very easy to set up. Remove the packaging, connect the hose and cords, and you’re ready to go. If you need an easy and quick machine that doesn’t require technical knowledge to set up, this might be the best choice for you.
- Having an Infrared laser combined with a diode laser is a great concept. Because I have a CO2 laser, I really love engraving on clear acrylic. The IR laser allows you to engrave on clear and transparent colored acrylic, which means you can engrave jewelry made from precious metals or clear ornaments that you can’t with a diode. Plus, even with the dual lasers it can engrave at such a high speed that I was impressed.
- I miss the cameras of the larger machines. It took me a second to realize that I couldn’t see my project within Creative Space. But the framing is so easy that I didn’t mind it once I got used to it.
- If you want to start a small business, or already have one and want to add small laser crafts, I really like this machine! It’s not as expensive as a large CO2 (which I definitely recommend for the mass production of a larger small business), and I think that small crafts are a great place to start to make money. I even wrote a whole post on laser crafts that you can sell for extra cash – I will definitely be adding some F1 tips to that post! One thing I really want to try to engrave is serial numbers/QR codes for business products!
- The F1 wins for being so portable. I think that the idea of taking this machine to a craft show and customizing small items like ornaments or keychains on the spot is genius. So many people complain about how craft shows are just the same thing over and over. Having the F1 sitting right next to you and being able to personalize purchases will definitely make you stand out! This is a trade off for a larger working area, but I’m okay with it.
- I wish adding on all of the accessories wasn’t so expensive. I really think the accessories for this machine set it apart, but they are a significant extra cost if you’re just getting started with laser crafts. That said, you could definitely use the F1 as is for a while and then save up to add on the accessories. (The smoke purifier is the first thing I would buy, then second would be the rotary tool!)
Is the xTool F1 worth it? The xTool F1 laser engraver and cutting machine is easy to use and effective at engraving a ton of materials that a diode or CO2 can’t (yay metal engraving). And it’s adorable. The infrared laser is worth getting this machine to add to my collection of craft lasers. It will definitely hold a permanent place in my craft room!
Shop the xTool F1 HERE and make sure you use my code: Pineapplepaperco for $50 off purchases over $999!
Don’t miss these laser engraving cutting machine-specific FREE file downloads:
And don’t forget to pin a photo from this post to your laser crafts board on Pinterest!