Sculpfun S10 Laser Engraver Review and Test With Honeycomb and Air Assist Pump
Contents of This Review
What is the Sculpfun S10?
The Sculpfun S10 is the newest and the strongest laser machine from Sculpfun right now. It features a 10W laser module which is ready for an air assist system. It should offer a good cutting performance.
The machine also has an upgraded x-axis. It boasts a proper industrial linear rail, which should offer more stability of the laser module. This should make a big difference when engraving small text at high speed. We have tested this machine with the dedicated Sculpfun air assist pump and the honeycomb plate.
In this article, we will put it through a series of tests which will show what this machine is capable of. In this article, you will also see the benefits of using the honeycomb plate and air assist can bring.
The assembly of the Sculpfun S10 machine is easy and it takes less than half an hour to assemble it thanks to a good manual.
Wood, Bamboo, Cardboard, Plastic, Leather, PCB Board, Aluminum Oxide, Non-reflective, Electroplating Layer and Paint Surface Layer Metal, 304 Mirror Stainless Steel, Glass, Ceramics, Cotton Cloth, Slate;
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.
The Sculpfun S10 laser module is a 10W module with a fixed focus which is ready for an air assist. This should offer good performance and superior cutting performance.
And if you want to upgrade your existing laser engraver, you can purchase the Sculpfun S10 laser module separately. We have measured the true optical output power and it is right on the spot! HERE are the measurements for all other machines.
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 focusing procedure is the same as with the Sculpfun S9, Sculpfun S6 Pro and the S6 we tested previously. The only difference is that the focusing block is taller for this machine. You can also easily remove the light guard if needed. This comes in handy when engraving weird objects like spoons, axes and other unevenly shaped objects. The laser head is tightened by thumb screws on the rear side which makes the focusing procedure fast and easy.
Special Features Addons and Upgrades
Compared to other machines, the Sculpfun S10 has some special features that are definitely worth mentioning!
The Improved x-Axis Linear Rail
The problem with rubber roller design for the x-axis was that if one of the rollers was worn out or bent, the laser head would not produce a straight line in the x-axis direction. The line would be wavy with the length of the waves corresponding to the circumference of the rollers.
This improved linear rail on the Sculpfun S10 does not have this problem and it provides much more stability to the laser head which will help a lot in precise engravings which we are going to test later in this article.
If you have a Sculpfun S9, you can upgrade it to this improved x-axis mechanism with THIS UPGRADE KIT.
The Sculpfun S10 laser module comes air assist ready with all the necessary parts except the air assist pump. The Sculpfun AP-30A assist pump is not included with the machine and needs to be purchased separately.
The air assist pump is very strong and blows a lot of air. later in this article we will show you the difference using an air assist can make when laser engraving or laser cutting.
The difference using an air assist for laser engraving can make!
Look at the photo below to see how clean can an engraving get when using an air assist with the Sculpfun S10!
Other addons and Expansions
The air assist pump goes hand in hand with the HONEYCOMB BOARD. Together they make a huge difference for laser engraving and laser cutting with the Sculpfun S10.
Here is a comparison on how the rear side of a laser cut looks when using honeycomb board compared to using a steel plate!
The honeycomb also prevents the air from blowing away your boards as the air can escape in the honeycomb holes. See the YouTube video at the top of this article!
And you can use THESE HOLDING PINS THAT WE HAVE DESIGNED for holding down the material. Or you can use magnets too as the honeycomb is magnetic.
And if you want to upgrade your existing laser engraver, you can purchase the Sculpfun S10 laser module separately.
Cutting and Engraving Different Materials
Engrave: Wood, Bamboo, Cardboard, Plastic, Leather, PCB Board, Aluminum Oxide, Non-reflective, Electroplating Layer and Paint Surface Layer Metal, 304 Mirror Stainless Steel, Glass, Ceramics, Cotton Cloth, Slate
The Sculpfun S10 is also a very capable cutter:
Cut: Cardboard, Non-woven Fabric, Wood Board, Acrylic, some plastic boards, Sponge, cardboard, all kinds of wood (including walnut, cherry and other high-density woods), MDF, bamboo, leather, PCB boards…
You can cut more than 10mm thick stuff with this laser engraver. The machine can cut wood very well, especially Poplar plywood which is soft and it is the preferred wood for all laser cutters. Check the cutting performance test later in this article to see how well it performs!
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 Sculpfun S10 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 made a full review of the Sculpfun S10 and tested its performance at laser engraving, laser cutting and showed you the difference an air assist and honeycomb board can make. We also compared some of the results with comparable 10W machines like the Atomstack A10 Pro (X7 Pro), the xTool D1 10W, Neje Master 2S Plus and our current favourite machine – the Sculpfun S9 (5W laser). You will find the results of the Sculpfun S10 in this post. For the 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 Sculpfun S10 has a very balanced power range. It works well with low and high power. And thanks to the air assist, there are very few smoke stains present and the engravings are very dark and have a lot of contrast.
The power scale test pattern shows how the machine engraves with different power levels at different speeds.
Since the Sculpfun S10 laser is twice as powerful, we have modified the pattern a little bit to better suit it to this much more powerful machine. We have omitted the 600mm/min speed in Power Scale since the machine has burned through the material with higher power. Instead, we have added a faster speed of 3000mm/min.
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. 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 Sculpfun S10 laser module.
In this test, the Sculpfun S10 appears to have a relatively balanced 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 Sculpfun S10 did an amazing job. Sculpfun machineas are the best for photo engravings. The only comparable machine for photo engravings is the Sculpfun S9, which has a bit more details with its engraving due to an even smaller focus spot.
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 the Sculpfun S10 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 Sculpfun S10 laser module is rectangular as the pattern looks a bit different when scanning in horizontal (X Axis) and vertical (Y Axis) direction due to a laser beam spot being rectangular instead of square.
The text engraving is done at 600 mm/s which is quite fast for such small movements, and therefore some shaking of the laser head is always visible in the corners with most of the machines. This can be easily avoided by reducing the acceleration and speed in the settings.
But the improved x-axsis linear rail really shows its power here. The laser head is much more stable when engraving small text and there are almost no visible vibrations, even when engraving text only a milimeter tall!
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 Sculpfun S10 laser module has a dot shape, sized approximately 0.1 times 0.18 millimetres.
Next was testing with different text sizes. We can see that with this machine – the 1mm text is easily readable. Compared to other machines, the mechanical stability of the Sculpfun S10 laser engraving machine is outstanding!
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 not much more wobbling present (mechanical) due to a good mechanical design, and the speed shows to have no effect on brightness of the engraved pattern.
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 Sculpfun S10 performed better than most of the machine like the Atomstack A10 Pro (X7 Pro), the xTool D1 10W and Neje Master 2S Plus. The absolute winner in this category is still the Sculpfun S9.
The smaller the laser spot stays with distance, the thicker material laser engraver will be able to cut.
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 with and without using air assist. The engraving and cutting came out great with a clean cut edge both of the times. Sculpfun S10 was able to cut through 3mm thick black acrylic in 5 passes both times which is very good.
The engravings made with air assist appear to have more contrast and are more easily readable.
We also tried to cut the 10mm thick black acrylic. It took around 49 passes to cut through at the speed of 600mm/min without air assist. As always, without air assist, the cut piece is hot and melted and the cut is not smooth.
But when laser cutting with the air assist, the performance was greatly improved as it was able to cut through in only 25 passes! Cutting with air assist also leaves a clean cut all the way through the material.
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.
We have performed the test also with and without air assist pump to evaluate the performance differences the air assist can make.
Here is a comparison table between the Sculpfun S10 laser engraver and the Atomstack A10 pro/X7 Pro .
Here you can see the direct comparison between the cuts made with the air assist and those without. Each piece is marked with the speed it was cut and if the air assist was used or not.
Hardwood Cutting Test
This test shows how well the Sculpfun S10 laser engraving machine cuts harder woods at 600mm/min.
First we tried to cut 4mm pine wood which is still quite soft.
Sculpfun S10 has cut it in 3 passes.
Then we tried harder and denser 3mm and 5mm thick Beech wood. The Sculpfun S10 had no problems cutting it and did it in 3 passes for 3mm thick and 4 passes for 5mm thick beech wood.
We also tried cutting 5mm thick Oak wood and S10 did it in 6 passes. Interestingly, the engravings on oak come out much cleaner without air assist. This is the exact opposite of the Poplar Plywood. This means you should always do some tests to see which configuration works best for a given job.
Engraving Stainless Steel
Tried to engrave text on blackened stainless steel (sprayed with cheap acrylic spray paint) with full power and 200mm/min. The Sculpfun S10 performed very well at engraving stainless steel.
Interesting to see how the older Sculpfun S9 has the smallest laser spot of all machines which makes it a very capable cutter/engraver despite having half the power of other machines. It is the only 5W machine that can engrave stainless steel directly.
Laser Engraving Stone
The Sculpfun S10 laser engraving machine can also engrave stone with ease! It is very good for making customized gifts and coasters from stone! Engravings come out very deep as the laser engraving stone produces micro cracks and will not wear off any time soon!
Upgrades and Accessories
If you want to engrave cylindrical objects, the Sculpfun Rotary Attachment is a great buy! We have reviewed and tested it HERE. If you are a very demanding rotary user, Sculpfun S10 is also compatible with the xTool RA2 Pro rotary attachment!
And we also highly recommend to use a laser engraver enclosure, to vent the harmful air out through a window. Read more about laser engraver enclosures here!
Very capable laser cutter with good mechanics and a great price!
The Sculpfun S10 is a powerful air assist ready laser engraver that can tackle any task you throw at it! It is competitively priced and for this price it offers very sturdy mechanical build which will last a long time! Together with an air assist pump and honeycomb working table this machine becomes a proper workhorse for your hobby or a small business! It will pay for it self in no time!
We have also tested the air assist on this machine. More performance tests were made in this article.Buy Sculpfun S10Buy Sculpfun S9
And if you want to upgrade your existing laser engraver, you can purchase the Sculpfun S10 laser module separately.
If you have a Sculpfun S9, you can upgrade it to the S10 improved x-axis mechanism with THIS UPGRADE KIT.
And check the COUPON PAGE. If discount coupon is available for any product, it will be listed there. The table is updated regularly.