Comgrow Comgo Z1 10W - Review And Test
What is the Comgrow Comgo Z1?
The Comgrow Comgo Z1 comes in two versions – one with a laser module with a 5W optical power and the other one has a 10W laser module. We have tested the most pwoerful version – the 10W. In this Article we will put it through a series of tests which will show what this machine is capable of.
The COMGO Z1 Laser Engraver has an open work area of 400 x 400 mm (15.7 x 15.7in)
The machine is easy to assemble. Like other engravers in this range, it can be assembled in less than 30 minutes.
wood, paper, cardboard, plastic, white, PCB board, aluminum oxide, black-painted metal/ceramic
Laser Output Optical Power
Fixed focus laser
LaserGRBL, LightBurn, Benbox, GrblController, LiteFire, Support Windows system, Support OSMAC system. Supported file formats NC, BMP, JPG, PNG, DXF and other image formats.
Comgrow Comgo Z1 has a powerful laser module which is a double beam module, combining the light output of two laser diodes which sets its optical output power above 10W.
I would also recommend getting more quality protection googles with OD6+ protection. You only have one pair of eyes. Protect them! These lasers work in visible light spectrum and even reflections can be very harmful for your eyes!
The 10W module that we have tested, needs to be focused so that the lower most part sits 7mm above the surface. With the 5W laser module, this distance is only 2mm. But the machine does not come with a focusing block, so we had to use a scrap piece of 7mm thick acrylic as a spacer for focusing.
Comgrow Comgo Z1 also has some special features worth mentioning:
This is probably one of the best features which I hope that all lasers would have someday. Limit switches enable you to home the machine automatically so that it always starts from the same spot. This way, if you stop the engraving or add another layer of work (or if the machine has crashed mid-work), you can be sure that the machine will start working at exactly the same spot that you want. They decided to use the proper limit switches for both axis, which work very well.
Cutting and Engraving Different Materials
Engrave: wood, leather, cotton (clothing), rubber, paper, fruit, foam, acrylic, black anodized aluminium, blackened metal, stone, ceramic, EVA foam, stainless steel…
The Comgrow Comgo Z1 should be a very capable cutter.
Cut: wood, paper, tape, cloth, acrylic, cardboard…
With the machine you can cut paper and tape in one pass, but also cardboard or 3mm wood or even 6mm thick plywood if you set the speed slow enough. For thicker stuff multiple passes are recommended. You can cut up to 10mm thick stuff with this laser engraver. The machine can cut wood, especially Poplar plywood which is soft and it is the preferred wood for all laser cutters.
We have tested the machine with engraving and cutting different materials. You will find the results of our tests few chapters lower.
Software and Supported Formats
You can use the Comgrow Comgo Z1 laser engraver with free LaserGRBL software which works OK, but it is a little bit clumsy to use. It is great for some tests, but I chose Lightburn instead which is much more capable software, and it is very intuitive to use. It is not free though, but the license costs 60$. But, the software offers 1 month fully functional free trial which will help you decide if it is worth it to you. For me it was definitely worth it because it saves so much time (which is not free).
With LaserGRBL you can import vector files (NC, BMP, JPG, PNG, DXF…) and bitmap image files (bmp, jpg, png and gif),
Lightburn supports more formats: AI, SVG, DXF, PDF, HPGL, PLT, and RD for vector formats and PNG, JPEG, BMP, TIFF, TGA, and GIF for image formats.
Vector format is preferred format for these machines because it contains the paths around the shape edges on which the laser head tracks. Engraving vector files is faster because the laser directly cuts on the path versus scanning like a printer and making dots when engraving bitmap images (photos).
You can get millions of free vector designs on the internet, or you can use free vector drawing programs like Inkscape or QCAD (for more technical drawings)
You can also import tons of vector designs and images from free vector sites or you can buy great laser designs on websites like Etsy. This really expands your capabilities.
Our Test Results
In the video at the top ot fhe article, we have tested the performance of the Comgrow Comgo Z1 10W and have compared some of the results with other 10W laser engravers, like the Atomstack A10 Pro (x7 Pro), Neje Master 2S Plus and the xTool D1 and a bunch of the 5W laser engravers like our favourite Sculpfun S9 (5W laser). You will find the results of the Comgrow Comgo Z1 in this post. For the detailed results of other machines, read our other reviews HERE.
We have performed the more or less standardized test which we perform on all the laser engravers and cutters. This way, it is easy to compare results between machines. Here you have the video showing how the tests were done and below you will find detailed images of the test results together with explanation.
Our standard engrave pattern is designed to showcase the engraving capabilities at different settings, so you can see the effectiveness of the laser beam. Lets see the result in more detail in the below chapters.
If you want to test your own laser, you can get the below test file HERE.
The power scale test pattern shows how the machine engraves with different power levels at different speeds.
We have used the modified test pattern that we use for testing the 10W machines. It features higher engraving speeds and lower output power for some engravings compared to the 5W laser test pattern.
Power is varied from 10% to 100% in 10% increments and the speeds are 1200, 1800, 2400 and 3000mm/min. We have omitted the slow speed/high power shapes, because the beam burns too much at slow speeds with the 10W laser modules. This leaves a big charred blob that gives no practical information.
The interval scale test is here to show if the laser focus spot shape is square or rectangular. The scanning interval is progressively increased from 0.1mm to 0.5mm.
For this test the power levels were also reduced to accommodate higher output power of the Comgrow Comgo Z1 10W dual beam laser module.
In this test, the Comgo Z1 shows the properties of an square-ish beam shape as the engravings in vertical and horizontal direction look quite balanced but still not perfect.
We will be able to estimate the exact spot shape later when we test the engraving on anodized aluminium.
Here is a test of engraving a small photo, 20mm in size while changing the maximum laser power.
Photos are quite slow to engrave because the laser head must scan line by line like an inkjet printer. If you want to engrave a very large photo, prepare to wait a couple of hours :)
As we can see below, the Comgrow Comgo Z1 did a reasonable job. The photo looks less detailed than with Sculpfun S9, which had more contrast and detail with its engraving. But all 10W laser engravers have larger focus spots in general and do a bit worse at photo engravings than 5W machines
This was expected. Because of the higher output power, there is less resolution for controlling the laser power. Combined with a slightly larger laser spot size, you get less detailed photo engravings.
Vector Image Engraving
Vector images are much faster to engrave as the laser head directly follows the lines. You can not make a greyscale image though with this technique.
Our test includes this cute photo of a Tit bird in the top right corner of the test piece. The bird engraving took only a few minutes to engrave. In the software you can set to fill the closed shapes with pattern, on this one, the shape is filled by scanning with 0.1mm step. For big engravings you could increase the step to 1mm or more, to make engraving faster. This way it would make a raster or a grid on the black areas. But more on this at some other time.
We have also noticed some smoke stains with this machine.
Anodized Aluminium Engraving
Next, we have tested the Comgrow Comgo Z1 on a scrap piece of black anodized aluminium.
Below is the engraved test pattern which is setup to evaluate the focus dot size in both directions as well to see the effects of speed. Next we will further examine the separate parts of the test pattern.
The most important part is again the interval scale. By scanning vertically and horizontally with different interval steps we can approximate the laser dot size. From the results we can see that the laser dot of the Comgrow Comgo Z1 is rectangular, as the engraved pattern looks different when scanning in horizontal (X Axis) and vertical (Y Axis) direction.
The engraving is done at 600 mm/s which is quite fast for such small movements, and therefore some shaking of the laser head is visible in the corners. This can be easily avoided by reducing the acceleration and speed in the settings.
Let’s do some further testing with the digital microscope. Here are the pictures taken with an Andonstar AD407 digital microscope.
First thing that we see is that the Neje Master 2S Plus has a rectangular dot shape, sized approximately 0.2 times 0.08 millimetres.
Next was testing with different text sizes. We can see that with this machine – the 1mm text well readable. We need to take in the effect that the speed is also quite high for this test (600mm/min). With lower speed the accuracy increases as we will see later. The poor performance for small text is probably due to the simpler mechanical construction.
Below is the engraving of two sets of squares on the right side, one inside the other. The inner square is engraved with 1000mm/min and the inner square is at 100mm/min.
We can see that at higher speed there is slightly more wobbling present (mechanical) but the speed shows to have no effect on brightness of the engraved pattern. This machine is still pretty stable at speed.
Laser Focus Distance Test
In this test we will see how the laser dot size increases further down into the material. The further down in the material the dot stays focused, the thicker material you will be able to cut.
We achieve this by progressively lowering the board by 3mm for each square, without refocusing the laser head.
0mm means that the focus is perfectly set (head 7mm above the surface). The 3mm square is engraved by lowering the test piece 3mm lower than the optimal focus. The result shows how big the dot is 3mm down into the material that is being cut. The same principle goes for larger distances.
We can see that the laser spot size of the Comgrow Comgo Z1 increases significantly with distance. At 9mm it becomes very large compared to similar machines. This should affect the cutting performance of thicker materials, but since the fact that the machine is quite powerful, it should still cut well.
But farther away we go, the dot starts to increase significantly. At 6mm and 9mm the dot becomes quite thick compared to other machines. But this laser has double the power and should still cut well.
You can use the thickening effect to your advantage in cases when you want to engrave bigger stuff with low detail. You set up the laser in this out of focus position. The beam will be larger and the engraving will be done faster this way as the distance between engraved lines can be bigger.
Acrylic Engraving And Cutting
Did a short test on 3mm thick black acrylic (plexi glass) at 600mm/min. The engraving and cutting came out great with a clean cut edge. Comgrow Comgo Z1 was able to cut through 3mm thick black acrylic in only 4 passes which is very good.
We also tried to cut the 10mm thick black acrylic. Comgrow Comgo Z1 took around 36 passes to cut through at the speed of 600mm/min. We could say that this thickness of acrylic is not practical for cutting, but still doable for smaller designs.
Plywood Cutting Test
Test was made at three different speeds with 3mm, 6mm and 10mm thick Poplar plywood being cut.
The test was performed in both scanning directions – horizontal X axis (left-right) and vertical Y axis (back to front) as the cutting performance is different in each direction because the dot has rectangular shape.
Here is a comparison table between the Comgrow Comgo Z1 and the Atomstack A10 Pro. Both machines are 10W.
Despite having a larger spot size at greater distances, the Comgrow Comgo Z1 is still a very a capable cutter with a quite balanced cutting performance.
Hardwood Cutting Test
This test shows how well the Comgrow Comgo Z1 cuts harder woods at 600mm/min.
First we tried to cut 4mm pine wood which is still quite soft.
Comgo Z1 has cut it in 4 passes.
Then we tried harder and denser 3mm and 5mm thick Beech wood. The Comgrow Comgo Z1 had no problems cutting it and did it in 3 passes for 3mm thick ans 7 passes for 5mm thick beech wood.
We also tried cutting 5mm thick Oak wood and Neje did it in only 5 passes. This is a very good performance!
Engraving Stainless Steel
Tried to engrave text on blackened stainless steel (sprayed with cheap acrylic spray paint) with full power and 100mm/min. The engraving came out brownish in color. other machines using the same settings, we can clearly see that the Comgrow Comgo Z1 can definitely engrave stainless steel! Notice that the Sculpfun is the only machine with 5W optical output power that we tested, that can engrave stainless steel. For half the power it performs very well and has the smallest laser spot by far!
Very capable and affordable dual beam laser engraver!
The Comgrow Comgo Z1 is a very capable dual beam laser engraver. It is very affordably priced and cuts stuff like butter. Of course there are better dual beam engravers out there, but not in this price range!
And if you use our coupon code "JTMakesIt", you can get additional 30$ off the Comgrow Comgo Z1 as a thank you for reading this article! Don't forget to choose the 10W version!Buy Comgrow Comgo Z1Buy Sculpfun S9
Or check the COUPON PAGE. If discount coupon is available, it will be listed there.