The xTool S1 Laser Machine launched in October of 2023! It is the first 40W enclosed diode laser cutting and engraving on the market and I got an early look at it. If you are interested in a laser machine but don’t have the space or budget for a massive CO2 laser cutter, this might be the machine for you! This post will cover ALL the details of the xTool S1, including what comes in the box, the materials and accessories you can use with the S1, and what the brand new xTool S1 is capable of!
Makeblock provided me with a xTool S1 machine to test, but all of my thoughts and opinions are 100% my own!
This year has been a huge year for xTool laser machines! I have tested out the xTool M1 hybrid diode laser and blade cutting machine, 55W P2 CO2 laser, the small and compact xTool F1 diode and infrared laser, and when I heard about the xTool S1 being launched, I happily agreed to test it out!
What is the xTool S1 Laser Machine?
The xTool S1 is the newest laser cutting and engraving machine to be launched by Makeblock, the company behind xTool. It is unique in that it is the first Class-1 safety certification enclosed 40W Diode Laser (the xTool currently has the 20W diode D1 that comes with an optional enclosure, and the 10W M1 hybrid laser and blade machine.)
It also has an interchangeable laser head that can be easily removed and replaced with a 20W diode laser module or a 2W 1064nm Infrared Laser Module. The S1 will also come in a 20W model with the option to purchase the 40W Diode laser head as an accessory.
What is important about the infrared laser module that is available for the S1? An infrared laser beam produces a wavelength of light able to interact with materials differently than a diode or CO2 laser, so 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!
First things first: Is this the desktop craft laser machine for you? It’s important to know the differences between laser machines, because various laser models will handle different materials and produce different results.
There are two popular companies that make desktop lasers directed towards crafters: xTool and Glowforge. Read my comparison between Glowforge and xTool machines to help you decide which one you need for your craft room!
Glowforge vs. xTool: Find Out Here!
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!
What Kind of Laser is the xTool S1?
The main power behind the xTool S1 is a diode laser, as opposed to the CO2 laser of the xTool P2. Diode and CO2 lasers use two entirely different scientific methods to create laser beams of light, which also creates differences in their capabilities.
Most importantly for the home crafter, diode lasers are MUCH less expensive than CO2 lasers. It is the main reason that diode lasers are becoming popular in the DIY and crafting market. Diode lasers last longer, are more durable, but are less powerful than CO2 lasers.
Unlike the xTool M1 that offers only standalone 5W and 10W diode laser models, the xTool S1 offers much higher power with 20W and 40W of diode laser power in interchangeable laser modules. My laser machine arrived with the 40W laser head. The 20W laser module is an additional purchase.
Add in the 2W 1064nm Infrared laser head that can also be used with the S1, and you have a machine that offers more engraving and cutting power than any other diode machine. I also received the infrared laser module to test! I’m super excited by that because although my xTool F1 has both laser types built in, the xTool S1 can handle much bigger projects!
That said, CO2 and diode lasers are different enough that I can’t compare them fairly. They produce totally different wavelengths of light in the laser beam. Which in my opinion is okay! If a CO2 machine is not in your budget, I want you to know how this more affordable option would work for you! This review will provide positives and negatives to the diode laser and the machine in general.
What is Included in the xTool S1 Box?
Everything you need to get started comes right inside the box!
- xTool S1 Machine
- 40W Diode Laser Head Module (or 20W Laser Module)
- Power Adapter & Power Cord
- USB-C Cable for connection to your computer or laptop
- Exhaust Pipe & Supplies to Attach to the Machine
- User Manual/Get Started Guide
- Triangular Prism Slats for the Cutting Bed (these provide air flow when cutting materials; the inside tray does not contain a honeycomb or similar base, but metal slats are included to insert into the machine on the base plate.)
- Sample Material Pack
- Spare Safety Key
- Grease for Machine Part Lubrication
- Small Tools & Accessories for Assembly and Maintenance
What is NOT Included with a xTool S1 Purchase?
There are no additional laser heads or machine accessories included with the S1. The air assist, rotary accessory, riser base, and automatic conveyor feeder are accessories that really add to the versatility of the S1 laser machine, as well as the interchangeable laser heads.
Does the xTool S1 Come Assembled?
Yes, the machine arrives assembled. There are a few shipping screws (holding the laser head rails in place) that need to be removed, and the laser head will need to be inserted.
If you will be using the air ventilation pipe to vent the xTool S1 out the window, you will have to remove 4 small screws to exchange the fan vent with the ventilation pipe attachment.
Then the machine just needs plugged in and connected to your computer with the xTool Creative Space program (or Lightburn) to be ready to go! It’s really easy and set up only took me about 10-15 minutes to get crafting!
Do You Need to Vent the xTool S1 While Cutting or Engraving?
Yes, the fumes that are produced when cutting or engraving with the S1 must be vented. The machine comes with a 3″ accordion pipe. You can vent directly out the window, or you can purchase the smoke filter system. I have a window directly behind my machine, so I vent out the window.
Does the S1 Have an Air Assist?
Although the fan within the xTool S1 does a great job of removing fumes and particles out of the machine, you can also purchase a smart air assist that automatically adjusts the size of the air flow according to the processing status of your project. The air assist will help reduce the amount of charring on your project by removing the vaporized particles very quickly. I have one and I’m very excited to try it out!
xTool S1 Technical Specs & Measurements
How Big is the xTool S1 Laser Engraver and Cutter?
The dimensions of the S1 are approximately 30.1″ x 22″ x 7.2″ (765mm x 561mm x 183mm). It weighs just about 44 pounds. Although a little awkward to move around, I was able to unpack the machine and get it set up in my office by myself. It is obviously not as portable as the F1, but it is WAY more portable than the P2 or my Glowforge Pro.
The S1 is currently sitting on one of my Husky workbenches (I had to move around some machines in my office to get it set up!) There’s enough room left on the bench that I can put my F1 and air filter right next to it, which is awesome.
Cutting Area of xTool S1
The cutting area of the xTool S1 40W machine is 19.61″ x 12.56″ and the 20W is 19.61″ x 13″. With the optional automatic conveyor feeder, the width decreases to 18.5″ but the length of the working area increases up to a whopping ~118″!
I like that the majority of commercially available laser materials will fit perfectly in the S1, including those that I already own for my other machines.
Other Tech Specs for the xTool S1
The S1 is built to be a fast, accurate, and very powerful cutting and engraving machine. These features allow you to produce professional level projects with amazing detail. You can engrave a photo realistic image, cut up to a 20mm thick piece of pine wood, or engrave on tiny pieces of metal jewelry!
- Rated Power: 20W or 40W Diode, 2W Infrared
- Max Engraving Speed: 600mm/s (that’s the same as the xTool P2 CO2 laser!)
- Laser Spot: 0.08 x 0.10mm (40W) or 0.08 x 0.06mm (20W)
- Workspace Height: 2.5″ with base tray, 2.7″ without tray
Unique Features and Functions of the xTool S1 Laser Machine
xTool developed the S1 to be a versatile and unique machine for the crafting world. There are some incredible features and accessories that expand the capability of this machine over other laser cutters.
- Fully Enclosed Diode Laser with a high-transparency cover offers excellent dual-wavelength filtering capabilities (no safety goggles required!)
- Brand New Positioning Method: instead of a camera, the S1 uses a method similar to a coordinate system to show the real-time position of your laser module. This method determines the processing range of the material by the position of the laser module.
There are now 3 methods of positioning to use with every project: twin-point, circular, and polygonal positioning.
All of this information is displayed in xTool Creative Space to use to position your project.
- Laser Module AutoFocus: the S1 offers computer-level precision focus measurements.
- Dynamic Focus Engraving for 3D or Curved Surfaces: the S1 features an advanced Intelligent Focus System, enabling multi-point high-precision ranging and automated 3D object modeling. The motorized Z-axis dynamically adjusts focus in real time during processing allowing you to engrave curved objects easily.
- Available Accessories: Unlike laser machines from other companies, you can purchase: the Smart Air Assist, the Automatic Conveyor Feeder for oversized projects like this pool house sign I made, the Riser Base to increase the engraving capability to objects that are 5.25″ tall (US model), and the RA2 Pro which will enable you to engrave curved items like tumblers and mugs.
- NEW – the S1 is now programmed to work in Screen Print Mode! That’s right – you can use the brand new xTool Screen Printing system with the S1! It’s launching in early December 2023 and I cannot wait!
xTool S1 Machine Design
The xTool S1 is contained in a secure black unit with transparent green lid that protects you from the harmful laser beams.
On the front right side of the machine, there is a large “go” button that you press to start or pause your project. The light surrounding the button changes colors depending on the status of the machine.
The back of the machine is where the power button is located, as well as all of the wire connections and ventilation hose attachment. There is also a slot to place a safety key that must be in place to operate the machine.
On the right side of the machine there is a red Emergency Stop button that you can quickly use to stop the cutting or engraving process.
Inside of the xTool S1 Laser Machine
There is a solid black baseplate in the machine. The included triangular prisms are placed directly onto the baseplate. When you place your material on the slats, it raises the material from the baseplate and allows for airflow and exhaust.
A lot of crafters are familiar with the honeycomb baseplate of other laser machines, and there are things I like and dislike about both. I’m happy to report that there will be a honeycomb base plate available for the S1! Materials remain more stable on the honeycomb style baseplate. When small objects fall through the laser beam can hit the cut material and cause charring or flareups.
What I like about the slats is that airflow is increased and I have noticed less charring on the bottom of my cuts. I have made tiny little earrings by placing the slats closer together and they turned out great!
xTool S1 Safety Features
The xTool S1 is powerful and can cause injury or fires if not handled correctly. It is important to remember that you never want to leave the machine unattended while you are cutting or engraving. Additional safety features are necessary to keep you and your workspace safe. The S1 comes equipped with a number of safety features, which makes me happy!
First, the laser and cutting surface is completely enclosed within the machine. The lid is light blocking and seals in smoke and particles to be exhausted by the fan. (Note: if you are sensitive to smells or dust particles, you still may want to consider a mask. No machine will ever get rid of 100% of the smell when cutting or engraving.)
In addition, the lid has an automatic sensor that engages while you are processing your design. If the lid is moved or opened during the cut or engrave process, the machine will stop.
Another unique feature to the S1 (and P2) is the emergency stop button on the right side of the machine. You can quickly stop your cut or engrave if there’s an issue. (You can press the go button to pause a cut or engrave, then resume as needed).
Lastly, the xTool S1 has a 5-direction flame detection system that will stop the process if it is detected, and also a tilt/impact detection system that will stop your cut or engrave if the machine is moved or bumped.
xTool also makes a Fire Safety accessory that you can purchase, which is a pretty cool idea. It attaches to your machine and automatically detects a fire. It will trigger an alarm as well as extinguish the flames with an odorless CO2 gas. This system is compatible with other xTool laser machines as well.
Since you’ll be using flammable materials, I always recommend having a fire extinguisher near your machine that you can grab very quickly if needed. And again, you should always directly supervise the machine when using the laser.
What Design Programs Are Compatible with xTool S1?
xTool Creative Space (XCS) is the proprietary design program that can be used with xTool laser machines.
The S1 is also compatible with Lightburn, which is a program that I have not used, but a lot of laser crafters love! Lightburn is a 3rd party program, so all features are not available. Real-time laser module positioning, material area measurement, and curved surface mode are not supported by LightBurn.
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 my files with a specific application that I am used to. 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 S1 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.
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 S1. xTool has a wide range of materials on their website that work great with their lasers! Not all materials have standard settings built into XCS, but as time goes on they will be added. I intend to create my own custom settings document as well.
The 40W diode laser can cut a variety of common materials including wood (up to 18-20mm thick in one pass!) and certain dark colors of acrylic (up to 15mm). A powerful diode laser that comes with the S1 combined with infrared laser engraving machine expands the materials so much!
S1 Diode Laser Materials (Engrave):
- Acrylic (some colors)
- Stainless Steel
- Slate Coasters
- and ton More!
S1 Diode Laser Materials (Cut)
- Wood (including maple, cherry, and walnut)
- Acrylic (some colors)
- Stainless Steel (very thin – 0.1mm)
- Most paper and fabric products, and more!
F1 Infrared Laser Materials (Engrave):
- Stainless Steel
- Acrylic (even clear!)
- Rubber, and More!
What is the Price of the xTool S1?
The list price for the xTool S1 laser engraver and cutter is currently $1599.99 for the 20W S1, and $1999.99 for the 40W S1 (introductory pricing subject to change). That includes everything in the box, but none of the additional accessories.
There will also be bundles available, including an All-In-One bundle that includes several accessories for $2599-$2999 depending on the on the laser module you choose. I do love that xTool runs GREAT sales, so keep your eyes peeled! Definitely sign up for my laser email list because I will alert my readers of really great deals, especially around the holidays. Plus, I have a personal discount code that you can use!
USE CODE: Pineapplepaperco for an additional $80 off xTool site purchases over $999.
xTool S1 vs. xTool M1
Since I just got the machine, I have plans to do more testing as time goes on. But my overall impression is that the S1 is a better buy than the M1, especially if you already own other blade cutting machines. The speed and power is similar enough to a CO2 laser that I think if you can afford the increase in price for the S1, you won’t regret it.
Being a fan of CO2 laser machines, the 10W M1 is great as a very beginner laser model, but those interested in spending a lot of crafting time on laser crafts will outgrow it quickly.
Overall xTool S1 Review
I was interested to see how well this machine outperformed the M1, which is the other diode laser I have tried. The S1 really feels like a CO2 laser when you are using it! I haven’t had a ton of time to run a bunch of material tests on it, but I did try some engraving projects and it was SO much faster than my M1. This is the new diode laser I will recommend over the M1 and definitely over the Glowforge Aura.
If a CO2 laser is way out of your budget, definitely consider this machine. It offers great speed and power for commonly used materials such as wood, leather, and dark acrylic. Being able to add the xTool accessories is really where this machine (and other xTool lasers) stands out – the riser base, rotary accessory, conveyor feeder, and the interchangeable laser heads are all awesome.
I really like that the S1 is designed to be an enclosed machine. I was never interested in the D1 laser models because I really don’t have any interest in a open machine that requires safety goggles or other equipment. The S1 is safe enough to keep in my craft room and vent right out the window.
Like all xTool (and other laser) machines that I own, prepare to run test cuts and engraves with the S1. I recommend using test grids or just very small squares at the corner of your material before committing to your whole design. Keep notes as you make projects, and the more you get to know your machine, the better you’ll get at laser crafting!
If you are still debating, hopefully these thoughts about the xTool S1 will help:
If you are a beginner or hobby crafter, and you don’t own a laser machine – the S1 might be the machine for you. It’s very easy to use, and it is a good machine to introduce you to the world of laser crafting. Plus with the power and speed that the S1 offers, you’ll be able to grow into this machine a little more than
You’re a pretty experienced crafter, but want to try out laser cutting and engraving. If you want to make personal items or gifts for family and friends (or for a small shop/business) – again, the S1 is a great machine to consider! I like that it can cut thicker materials than other diode machines, it’s faster than other diodes, and with the addition of the infrared laser module, you can do so many things with it! Plus the xTool accessories like the rotary tool will keep you busy discovering new things to make!
If you are considering adding laser crafts to your already successful Etsy shop, website, or craft shows and want to cut clear or light colored acrylic crafts, you really need to look into a CO2 laser machine. No diode laser is going to be the machine for you. You really should look into a 40W or more powerful Co2 laser like the xTool P2. I have seen a couple of workarounds that might work for engraving clear acrylic, but diode laser can not cut clear acrylic, other types of transparent acrylic, or some light colored acrylic (I plan to test more in the future). The wavelength of the light beam renders the machine incapable of cutting these materials.
HOWEVER, if you have a CO2 laser machine AND would like to add a second machine to your collection, the S1 might be a great machine. You could do almost everything that the P2 can do (with the exception of the acrylic mentioned above) AND with the infrared laser module, you could expand your business into more metal engraving projects or jewelry!
If you really really have no interest in clear acrylic, this powerful diode laser machine might be for you!
It’s important to consider your budget, what crafts you would like to make, and what materials you would like to use before purchasing your laser craft machine. Definitely read through my other machine reviews and my Glowforge vs. xTool post, and feel free to email me with any questions!
If you want to learn more about the xTool S1, make sure you subscribe to my xTool mailing list and my YouTube channel. I plan to share a ton more tutorials and projects using the xTool S1, F1, and P2. Leave a comment below with what project you would like to see me make!