The Ortur Aufero Laser 1 Compact Laser Engraver
What is the Ortur Aufero Laser 1?
The Ortur is probably one the most popular laser engraver brands on the market. Ortur Aufero Laser 1 is their newest mid-range machine. Despite its small engraving size it still comes with three laser head options that can pack a punch. In this article you will find information that will help you decide if this machine is worth the extra cost to you.
The machine arrives fully assembled, only a bit of adjusting is needed to get it running. We opted for all three laser options, to show you all the differences.
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.
Laser Module Diode
The Ortur Aufero Laser 1 engraver comes with three different laser module options:
A LU2-2, a 1.6W engraving laser head. This is a very low output laser diode, capable of only engraving. Its cutting abilities are very limited, but engravings come out very crisp, as it has the smallest laser focus spot as we will see later in this post. But it needs approximately three times slower engraving speed to get the same contrast.
A LU2-4-SF, a short focus diode which offers a good middle ground. It outputs approximately 5.5W of optical power and it is great for engraving and also for some cutting.
A LU2-2-LF is a 5.5W long focus module, which should be the best for cutting and it should also have no problems at engraving.
Just like the Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro, this laser also has a 32-bit control circuit board, which should allow better motor control and better photo engravings. We will test if this is true in real life application. The Aufero Laser 1 features the same front panel as the Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro, but does not have the special features like fire alarm and emergency stop button.
On the LU2-2 and 2-4-LF you can mount a swiveling protection shield around, as an extra layer of protection. But the shield sits pretty high and a lot of light escapes around it. Wearing included safety googles is still a MUST. The LU2-4-SF offers much better light protection but at a cost of poorer visibility when setting the engraving position on the workpiece. But the light shield is magnetic and you can quickly remove it to see where the laser will start engraving and then quickly pop it back on when you start engraving.
The LU2-4-LF also comes with accessories for air assist. But you need to get your own air pump.
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 diode sits on a very promising looking metal rail system. But the laser head is still tightened by a thumb screw from the side.
The focusing procedure for the LU2-2 and the LU2-4-LF can be done with the included aluminium focusing block. The focusing procedure is similar to the Sculpfun, but in my opinion its a little bit more fiddly . For optimal cutting, the heads heatsink needs to be 40mm above the engraving surface. Focusing is done by putting the included 40mm aluminium block under the laser head and lowering the head on the block and tightening the side thumb screw.
The LU2-4-SF is focused by adding the included acrylic plate underneath the laser head just like the Atomstack A5 Pro.
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.
Cutting and Engraving Different Materials
Engrave: wood, leather, cotton (clothing), rubber, paper, fruit, foam, acrylic, black anodized aluminium, blackened metal, stone, ceramic , stainless steel…
The Ortur Aufero Laser 1 is also a capable cutter if you choose one of the two more powerful laser diodes.
Cut: wood, paper, tape, cloth, acrylic, cardboard…
With the machine you can cut paper and tape in one pass and cardboard or wood in multiple passes. 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 Ortur Aufero Laser 1 Pro 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 of the article, we have tested the performance of the Ortur Aufero Laser 1 and have compared some of the results with other laser engravers like Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro and Sculpfun S9. You will find the Aufero 1 results in this post. For the results of the Sculpfun S9, check our other post here!
And for the Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro, click 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.
Power is varied from 10% to 100% in 10% increments and the speeds are 600, 1200, 1800 and 2400mm/min. We have omitted the slow speed/high power shapes that we did with the Atomstack A5 20W, because the beam burns too much at slow speeds. This leaves a big charred blob that gives no practical information.
Obviously, the LU2-2 diode has the weakest output, but the LU2-4 SF and LF diodes are very close together, with the LU2-4-LF having a slighty more output power.
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.
In this test, all the Ortur Aufero Laser 1 diodes tend to show signs of rectangular beam shape, as the vertical and horizontal scans look a bit different. But the result is still quite good.
Notice that the engraving speed for LU2-2 was reduced significantly to get any result at all for this test.
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, all the Ortur Aufero Laser 1 heads did engrave the photo quite well, although it looks a little bit less detailed than with Sculpfun S9, which had more contrast with its engraving and was able to engrave with less power for the same result which in practice means being able to engrave with faster speeds.
Notice that the engraving speed for LU2-2 was reduced significantly to get any result at all for this test. And the power was increased for photo engravings.
The engravings look very similar to the Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro (because the diodes are probably the same)
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.
Anodized Aluminium Engraving
Next, we have tested all the Ortur Aufero Laser 1 diodes 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 from the LU2-2 is very rectangular, but both LU2-4 diodes show a slightly rectangular shape as the engraved pattern looks different when scanning in horizontal (X Axis) and vertical (Y Axis) direction. But the result is not bad overall.
The text engraving is done at 600 mm/s which is quite fast for such small movements, especially for this simpler mechanical construction, and therefore noticable 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.
We canobserve the following laser spot sizes:
LU2-2 has a laser dot sized less than 0.05mm*0.05mm
LU2-4-SF has a laser dot sized 0.1mm*0.15mm
LU2-4-LF has a laser dot sized a bit less than 0.1mm*0.15mm
With both LU2-4 heads having the same output power, this should mean that the long focus diode should have a slight advantage for laser cutting.
Next was testing with different text sizes. We can see that with this machine – the 1mm text is still 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.
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 more wobbling present (mechanical) but the speed shows to have no effect on brightness of the engraved pattern. The Ortur Aufero Laser 1 has some wobble which due to the simpler mechanical construction.
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 (with aluminium block). 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 Ortur Aufero Laser 1 LU2-4 diodes performed similar to the Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro (which has the same diode).
As expected, the LU2-2 diode did terribly. We had to increase the power and reduce the speed to get any engravings at all at greater distances. But it is not suited for cutting after all.
The Sculpfun S9 still holds the lead for the best performance in this test.
But farther away we go, the dot starts to increase significantly. At 6mm and 9mm the dot becomes quite thick compared to Sculpfun S9.
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 black acrylic (plexi glass) at 600mm/min. The engraving and cutting came out great with a clean cut edge.
We omitted the LU2-2 for all cutting tests for obvious reasons, but we tested the LU2-4-LF in standard configuration and with an air assist, using an aquarium pump from Banggood.
We have omitted the blue acrylic cutting test since these machines can’t cut blue acrylic since it is the same color as the laser beam and thus reflects its light.
Plywood Cutting Test
This time, the test was made at only one speed (600mm/min) speeds with 3mm and 6mm 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 all Ortur Aufero Laser 1 options. We didn’t try the 3mm board with an air assist as the air assist should benefit only the thicker woods.
The Ortur Aufero Laser 1 is a capable cutter with both LU2-4 laser head options and offers a quite balanced cutting performance which is great.
Compared to Sculpfun S9 it starts to lag behind when cutting materials thicker than 6mm.
Hardwood Cutting Test
This test shows how well the Ortur Aufero Laser 1 cuts harder woods at 600mm/min.
First we tried to cut 4mm pine wood which is still quite soft.
LU2-4-SF has cut it in 10 passes,
LU2-4-LF did it in 8 passes with or without air assist.
Then we tried harder and denser 3mm thick Beech wood.
LU2-4-SF has cut it in 5 passes,
LU2-4-LF did it in 5 passes with or without air assist.
The air assist does not give an advantage for cutting hardwoods for some reason. But I think that this is due to the air assist hole being quite big and more airflow could be needed for better effect.
Also tried to cut 5mm thick beech hardwood, but none of the laser heads was able to cut it with or without air assist. After about 15 passes charring becomes an issue and the beam stops progressing.
Comparatively, the Sculpfun S9 was able to cut through without problems in only 5 passes in horizontal direction and 10 passes in vertical.
And here are the results combined in a table:
A compact Laser engraver with good enough mechanics and with a good range of laser modules for its size
This machine is like a baby Ortur Laser Master Pro. It has a good range of laser modules, comparable to the one in Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro. If you don't need to engrave large stuff it can be a good option for you, because it is easy to store and it does not take up much space. For its size, the mechanical construction is more than adequate.
The long focus diode surprised us with an air assist nozzle kit which is easy to setup.
If you like this machine, you can buy the it through the link below:Buy Ortur Aufero Laser 1
You can use discount code AUFEROTOP1 for extra 5$ off.
Or check the offer below. If our custom discount coupon is available, it will be listed next to the button.