The Brand New Sculpfun S9 Laser Engraver Review – Is It Better Than Competitors?

There is a new laser engraver on the block, and it's called the Sculpfun S9. It has tons of features that make it more efficient than its predecessor - the Sculpfun S6 or its competitor - the Atomstack A5 Pro, as well as some unique features that makes the experience more fun for hobbyists and makers alike. In this review I'll go over all those features in detail so you can decide whether or not to invest in one for yourself! If you're considering buying a laser engraver but don't know where to start, read on!

The Sculpfun S9 Laser Engraver

What is the Sculpfun S9?

The Sculpfun S9 is a higher-end machine, superior to its predecessors Sculpfun S6 and Sculpfun S6 Pro and aslo its competitors like the Atomstack A5 Pro.

Like the Sculpfun S6 Pro, the S9 laser engraver also comes with good assembly instruction manual which Is easy to follow. The mechanical part is almost identical to the S6 range. All the necessary tools are included. Screws and parts come in separate bags, labelled accordingly to the necessary step in the assembly manual. The machine can be assembled in less than 30 minutes.
Here you can see it next to the Sculpfun S6 Pro which we have also tested.

Sculpfun S9 vs Sculpfun S6 Pro

Specifications

Parameter Value
Engraving Size
410*420mm
Engraving Materials
wood, paper, cardboard, plastic, white, PCB board, aluminum oxide, black-painted metal/ceramic
Laser Output Optical Power
5.5W
Laser Wavelength
445±5nm
Focusing Method
Fixed focus laser
Operating Software
LaserGRBL, LightBurn, Benbox, GrblController, LiteFire, Support Windows system, Support OSMAC system. Supported file formats NC, BMP, JPG, PNG, DXF and other image formats.
Input voltage
AC100-240V, 50/60Hz
Weight
3.0kg
Warranty
One Year

Laser Diode

The Sculpfun S6 laser engraver comes with a laser diode which outputs approximately 5.5W of optical power – just like the S6 Pro. But the laser head itself is much bigger and features some clever optics inside that allow the beam to be focused for longer distance and has a higher light density, allowing you to cut through thicker materials with more effective power. The advertised max cutting depth is 15mm. We are going to test that. The Sculpfun S9 is advertised to be 90W CO2 laser equivalent power. Laser diode is a fixed focus diode which is great.

Here is comparison between Sculpfun S9 laser head and Sculpfun S6 Pro and S6 30W. The S9 head is much bigger and also appears to have an improved circuit board.

Fixed focus means there are no moving parts in a beam’s way, which means that the focus can be narrower and focusing procedure is much quicker than with the adjustable focus.

The head has a protection shield around it, as an extra layer of protection, but wearing included safety googles is still a MUST. 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!

Focusing procedure

The focusing procedure is the same as with the sculpfun S6 Pro and The S6 30W we tested previously. For optimal cutting, the head needs to be 20mm above the engraving surface. This is archieved with a focusing aluminium block. Then the head is focused, the light guard sits around 3mm above the surface. But the good thing is that you can 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 which makes the focusing procedure fast and easy.

For cutting thicker materials, it is recommended to remove the acrylic guard and focus the laser head a few milimeters lower than standard. This way, the cutting performance will be much better.

Cutting and Engraving Different Materials

Engrave: wood, leather, cotton (clothing), rubber, paper, fruit, foam, acrylic, black anodized aluminium, blackened metal, stainless steel…

The Sculpfun S9 is a very a capable cutter.

Cut: wood, paper, tape, cloth, acrylic, cardboard, fabric, bamboo, plastic board, KT board…

With the machine you can cut paper, tape and thinner cardboard  in one pass and  wood in multiple passes. The machine can cut acrylic and 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 Sculpfun S9 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

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.

For the results of the Sculpfun S6, check our other post here!

For results of the Atomstack A5 Pro, click here!

And if you want to see some cool projects we made with the S9 machine, check our blog post in the project section of our website.

Wood Engraving

Our standard engrave pattern is designed to showcase the engraving capabilities at different settings, so you can see the effectiveness of the laser beam.
What is immediately obvious is that the engravings of the Sculpfun S9 are much more defined and have more contrast compared to other machines we have tested previously. Also, there is basically no smoke stains on the surface of the wood. This is very impressive!

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 files HERE.

Power Scale

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.

On the first sight, the Sculpfun S9 shows significantly more output power than the Sculpfun S6 Pro. We will see if this is true later in the tests.

Interval Scale

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, the Sculpfun S9 show that the shape of the beam is pretty close to rectangular shape as the engravings in vertical and horizontal direction are quite balanced.

We will be able to estimate the exact spot shape later when we test the engraving on anodized aluminium.

Photo Engraving

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 S9 is the best engraver so far for engraving photos. The photos look very crisp and have high detail and contrast.

Vector Image Engraving

Vector images are much faster to engrave as the laser head directly follows the lines. You can not make a grayscale image though.

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 theSculpfun S9 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 S9 is very close to square shape as the engravings in horizontal and vertical direction look quite balanced.

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 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 Sculpfun S9 has a dot shape, sized approximately 0.1 times 0.2 millimetres.

Next was testing with different text sizes. This machine performed the best so far. It engraved the 1mm tall text PERFECTLY! And 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 significantly.

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.

There is also clear effect of slightly rectangular dot shape in the two squares as horizontal lines are thinner than vertical ones.

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 Sculpfun S9 performed the best so far. As advertized, it keeps the beam focused through greater distance.

You can also use the beam 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.

Sculpfun S9 focus distance test compared to atomstack A5 and Sculpfun S6

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. The Sculpfun S9 cut through in 8 passes.

We have also tried to cut 7mm thick black acrylic and it went fine as well.

Plywood Cutting Test

Test was made at three different 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 is a bit rectangular. Despite this, the Sculpfun S9 shows very balanced cutting performance in both directions.

Here is a comparison table between the Sculpfun S9 and Sculpfun S6 Pro.
We can quickly see that the Sculpfun S9 has a definitive advantage when cutting thicker material.

The Sculpfun S9 is a very capable cutter.

As the machine is advertized to cut very thick materials, We have done some tests on the light Paulownia wood 12mm and 15mm thick. The beam stays very narrow for a great depth! It takes a lot of passes though. An air assist system would give a very big benefit and we will definitely try that in the future.

Hardwood Cutting Test

This test shows how well the Sculpfun S9 cuts harder woods at 600mm/min.
First we tried to cut 4mm pine wood which is still quite soft.

The S9 had no problems cutting it in 8 passes.

Then we tried harder and denser 3mm thick Beech wood and the Sculpfun S9 had no problems cutting it and did it in 5 passes.

Here are some images of the test results of all the engraver we have tested so far for easier comparison.

Engraving Stainless Steel

This machine is the first here which is powerful enough to engrave stainless steel! Yes, you heard that right. First, the steel needs to be blackened with a cheap black spray paint. Engrave with slow speed. Then wipe the paint off with the acetone. The engraving is very durable and doesn’t scratch off easily.

Very capable cutter. The best we have tested so far!

Conclusion

This article should have helped you to decide if the Sculpfun S9 is the machine for you. It has the best cutting performance so far and its wood engravings appear to be on a next level compared to the rest of the engravers.

If you like the Sculpfun S9 or the Sculpfun S6 Pro, you can buy the them through the links below:

Buy Sculpfun S9Buy Sculpfun S6 Pro

I got a special coupon for the Sculpfun S9. By using the BG6d6194 and BGDNS9  (for USA buyers) coupons at checkout, you will get this laser for exclusive price of 299$ (Discount is for a limited number of orders) as a thank you for reading this article!

And if you want to upgrade your existing laser (Sculpfun S6, Ortur, Atomstack, Eleksmaker…) you can buy only the Sculpfun S9 laser head HERE.

If you want to buy the S9 in larger quantities, you can get them from Alibaba.

Or check the offer below. If our custom discount coupon is available, it will be listed next  to the button.

And if you want to see some cool projects we made with the S9 machine, check our blog post in the project section of our website.

Top offers
70 Comments
Show all Most Helpful Highest Rating Lowest Rating Add your review
  1. Hi,
    I bought the SO based on your review And I am quite happy so far.

    I did laser your 3mm plywood template with lightburn and I was wondering why the lines for the horizontal interval scan are so wavy at 60% power?

    • Reply
      Michael T Campbell October 31, 2021 at 06:34

      Hey, found your channel and LOVE your in-depth comparisons. Any plans to put the S9 against the Atomstack X7 Pro?

    • Reply
      Hobby Laser Cutters October 30, 2021 at 19:22

      Are they wavy just at 60% power? This is strange.
      If they are always wavy, you should check the tension of the belts on both axis and the tension of the rollers (eccentric nut). Check the manual for the appropriate setup.

  2. Hi, I also bought the S9 after reading your review and very happy with it so far. However, I’m also very much interested in upgrading the S9 with an air assist system. Do you already have an approximate date for testing an air assist system for the S9?

  3. Great review, just what I was looking for. Helped me decide on the S9

  4. Dear The Best,

    I have read your reviews and watch your wonderful video reviews.
    Now I have ordered a SCULPFUN S9.

    Can you also add a review/video with rotary setup?

    Wonderful reviews, keep it up:-)

  5. Hello!
    Do I need some exhaust/ventilator/air cleaning system for this laser cutter?
    (for polywood, acryl cutting)
    thanx

    • Reply
      Hobby Laser Cutters November 13, 2021 at 20:21

      Ventilation is highly recommended. At least have some desk fan blowing air out of the window. Especially when cutting acrylic a lot of smell is produced.

  6. Can you make some article about glasses/goggles with testing?

  7. Is the controller on the S9 32 bit?

  8. Hi I too ordered an S9 after seeing your review
    Cant wait for it to arrive , says here by 18th December
    I have lightburn installed but in the new device wizard what do I enter as
    sculpfun isnt listed
    Do I just say its a GRBL ?

    Don

    • Reply
      Hobby Laser Cutters November 22, 2021 at 16:12

      This tutorial will help you to setup the machine in Lightburn (or LaserGRBL – here is tutorial for both programs):
      https://gzhls.at/blob/ldb/f/b/e/c/5c238a8e46a7541a755e8ab8326381fef7dd.pdf
      The tutorial is for Atomstack, but it is the same setup for Sculpfun.

  9. Hello, I bought this machine based on your review and while it is a perfect engraver it does not cut nearly as well as your table shows. I took 16 pass at 900/min max power to cut 3mm plywood, this is quite slow…

    • Reply
      Hobby Laser Cutters November 23, 2021 at 18:49

      The cutting performance depends on the wood type. The best wood for laser cutting is Poplar wood which is soft and cuts well. 95% of things you see laser cut is made from this wood.

  10. Hi
    Thank you for your reviews and videos, very informative and practical.
    I’m interested in purchasing the S9 but is there a way of running it not connected to a computer via usb? I will have to run it by a window and don’t have a spare laptop to leave connected to it all the time. Is there a way to have a wifi bridge or to use an se card?

    • Reply
      Hobby Laser Cutters November 23, 2021 at 18:48

      No, sadly it needs USB. Anything via wireless would be unreliable. You can try with active USB extension cable (5m, 10m length), but not having a computer nearby will make the machine very difficult to use. You need a screen and keyboard next to the machine so you can see what you are doing.

      • I’ve been looking at the NEJE 2S max with the dual beam (A40640). Neje seems to offer some sort of Bluetooth connection with a phone app.
        Will you be doing a review of this laser in the near future?

  11. sculpfun s9 can be cut 8mm acrylic plastic in every color including transparent???

    • Reply
      Hobby Laser Cutters November 23, 2021 at 18:46

      No. None of these machines can cut transparent or blue acrylic. They can cut black, yellow, red, green.. but lighter the color, more passes it needs to cut through.

  12. I’ve been looking at the NEJE 2S max with the dual beam (A40640). Neje seems to offer some sort of Bluetooth connection with a phone app.
    Will you be doing a review of this laser in the near future?

  13. I read it will not cut through clear acrylic, how about other color? Will it cut through other translucent or transparent color acrylic? How color opaque acrylic? i assume it has to do with the light it is using to cut? I also assume it is a characteristic of diode lasers since my co2 laser can cut these materials.

    • Hello,
      I have currently 3 ortur. The most I do is cut wood. I see the s9 is better at this?
      On the film you don’t use air assist?
      Does this machine has limit switches?
      Thx

      • Reply
        Hobby Laser Cutters December 24, 2021 at 19:26

        The S9 does not have limit switches currently. But it might soon get updated and get them.
        I don’t use air assist, but I am planning to make it.

    • Reply
      Hobby Laser Cutters November 25, 2021 at 14:37

      Diode lasers work differently than CO2 lasers. Diode laser emits visible light. So anything that looks transparent to you or very white in color will not be ready to cut because light reflects of white surfaces and passes through transparent materials. CO2 lasers work in IR spectrum which is basically heat. This is why it is absorbed by almost any material.
      Blue acrylic does not work because it is the same color as laser light – it reflects blue light.
      You can cut yellow, red and green and similar colors. But the lighter the color, more passes are needed. Yellow takes twice as many passes as black.
      Never tried opaque.

  14. Remenber this:
    The release of smoke from the combustion of PVC or vinyl is no more toxic than that of any other carbon-based material, including natural materials such as wood. The Hydrogen Chloride (HCl) contained in the smoke is highly irritating and provides an immediate signal of the development of the fire. So evry conbustion of carbon based matirial produce HCl.

    • This is complete nonsense. Only chloride-containing materials can release hydroden chloride. Come on, this is chemistry, not magic.
      Cutting or engraving chloride-containing plastics (PVC, vinyl) is dangerous for the machine and for the operator.

  15. Hi, Thank you for your videos. I saw your Sculpfun S9 Review and wanted to find out if this laser engraver would cut thicker leather (like that you’d find in a nice belt, and if you could engrave something like a challenge coin. I am a coach and wanted to create patches and coins for my athletes.

    Thanks again

  16. First of all, thanks for the excellent review.
    When you talked about the Air Assistant, I had already thought about it and I asked a question on another site and they replied that it wasn’t necessary but we await a test from you on this.
    Note: I have the Sculpfun S6 Pro
    Cheers

  17. I have ordered a new Sculpfun and have just found your site. I really enjoyed your reviews and test. Thanks for the time you spend on research and helping new comers to cnc make informed choices on what we are looking at and thinking of spending our money on. Looking forward to seeing something on rotary accessory for cups and round objects.

    Thank you,
    Charles

  18. can a Sculpfun S6 be upgraded to a S9

  19. Love your reviews. I’ve been waiting for an affordable cutter and I think the S9 has hit the parameters I’ve been looking for. Just one question that I haven’t seen yet: how do the laser cutters function with MDF? Plywood and solid woods are okay but MDF is becoming more popular as a craft material.

    • Reply
      Hobby Laser Cutters December 12, 2021 at 08:46

      I really haven’t tried MDF yet, but it should cut it without problems. I have seen many people cut MDF with weaker lasers.

  20. will the ATOMSTACK R3 Roller work on the S9?

  21. I’m thinking on getting the sculpfun s9 and also getting LightBurn. I’m assuming i need the g-code.

  22. You compared the S9 to the S6, what about the S9 to the Orturo laser master pro? I have narrowed my choices to these 2 but can’t find any good comparison videos.

    • Reply
      Hobby Laser Cutters January 2, 2022 at 09:33

      On this website you can also find an article of the Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro. You can directly compare the results:
      https://hobbylasercutters.com/ortur-laser-master-2-pro/

  23. Reply
    Francisco Xavier Caraballo January 4, 2022 at 23:59

    Hello. I want to know how can I but the S9 Sculpfun maquine?
    Thank you

  24. what happened to the sculpfun s9 video? I can’t seem to find it.

    • Reply
      Hobby Laser Cutters January 5, 2022 at 20:09

      For this laser I didn’t make the full video featuring all the tests, but I made a video featuring some cool projects I made with the S9. It is also on this website under the tab Projects and Ideas.

  25. Do you have any experience with the xtool D1? It looks pretty capable and has more features than the sculpfun or atomstacks do. It comes in under $500 as well so I was considering it. However having no experience with laser cutters I seek a pro like you and trust your advice. Thanks.

  26. I bought the Sculpfun S9 and is so nice!! I was wondering what power you used to cut plywood in the Plywood Cutting Test??

  27. Hello everyone,

    Thanks for the review to HOBBY LASER CUTTERS.

    The SCULPFUN S9 laser module looks to be an excellent option for all needs on engraving and cutting. I recently bought a NEJE MASTER 2S MAX (30W), so I was wondering:

    Can I use the S9 laser module with a NEJE MARTER 2S MAX board?

    Thanks.

  28. Hi, I bought a Sculpfun s9, but I can’t understand why when I have to cut a material that is cardboard or wood, both with one pass and with several passes it does not pass me on the same point. And in addition, when I cut 4mm mdf power 90% 200mm / s 4 passes there are points where it does not cut me and the piece does not come off. How can I solve these problems? What are they caused by?

    • Reply
      Hobby Laser Cutters January 23, 2022 at 09:40

      You should try to contact Sculpfun support. It could be that the tension of the belts or the rollers is too high but it can also be an electrical issue.

  29. Hello, I got a so model and It’s having issues moving along the y axis freely, it’s like there’s some stiffness in the belt…

    Please help out

    • Reply
      Hobby Laser Cutters January 23, 2022 at 09:39

      Try to remove the belt. If movement is still stiff, adjust the eccentric nut under one of the rollers and release some tension.

  30. *sculpfun s9 laser model*

  31. What is the speed and power you used to engrave on stainless steel and anodized aluminium?

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