Twotrees TS3 Laser Engraver Review and Test
What is the Twotrees TS3?
The Twotrees TS3 took a different design route from what we usually see with diode laser engravers. Instead of an open frame design, they went with an enclosed design style that we usually see with the CO2 lasers. The enclosed design helps with smoke and odor management. This way you will not need to buy or build an additional ventilation chamber if you want to use this machine indoors.
This machine has a built in air filter that circulates and filters the air inside the chamber and reducing odours this way. But with the machine you also get a fairly long air duct hose which you can use to vent the smoke directly out through the window.
In this Twotrees TS3 Laser engraver review article, we will put this laser engraver through a series of tests which will show what this machine is capable of. We will also test how well does the air filtering system work.
The machine comes pre-assembled and does not require any additional assembly. You just need to remove yellow zip ties inside the machine which held the parts stable for transport.
The machine comes ready for using the internal filtering system. If you want to vent the smoke outside, you need to undo a couple of screws and flip the fans around and install a hose connector apart. It is a simple 10 minute job.
Later in the article we will also test how good the air filter filters out the odors.
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 Twotrees TS3 features a 10W dual diode laser module with a fixed focus. It should offer a good cutting performance.
We have measured the true optical output power and it is right on the spot! HERE are the measurements for all other machines.
The only downside is that the laser module does not feature an active air management. The fan that cools the heatsink does not blow much air near the focus spot. When engraving wood, some smoke stains are to be expected. It also does not have an air assist to help with this issue.
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 for this machine is very straightforward and easy to do. The laser module is mounted on a Z-axis rail, which is adjusted by spinning a thumb screw on the top. The correct distance to the material-to-be-engraved is set by an aluminium focusing block. This time it consists of three parts – the base and three small shims, 1 and 2 millimeters thick. This way, when cutting thicker materials, you can set the laser module lower for a set amount of distance so that the optimal focus distance falls right in the middle of the material. This offers the best cutting performance.
Special Features Addons and Upgrades
Compared to other machines, the Twotrees TS3 has some special features that are definitely worth mentioning!
The obvious feature of this machine is of course its enclosed design. It has a built-in air filter that can circulate the air inside the machine and filter around 80 percent of the odors.
But if you want better air circulation, you can transform the machine to vent the air outside through the included air hose that is approximately 1.5-2m long when stretched.
Built-in Honeycomb Work Bed
The Twotrees TS3 has a removable honeycomb working table. It can be removed by hand if a taller object is to be engraved, or a rotary system is used.
Contactless Limit Switches
This machine has inductive limit switches that are used to calibrate home position or to prevent the machine from hitting its mechanical limits. They work on a principle of detecting metallic surfaces of the gantry. They work well, but our tests showed that they are not as precise as the mechanical switches, but still good enough.
Color LCD Touchscreen, Offline Engraving From SD Card or via WiFi
The Twotrees TS3 laser engraver can also engrave without being connected to the computer. It has two additional operation modes:
The first one is offline engraving using a design saved as G-code on a SD card. Using touchscreen interface, the design can be selected and some basic parameters can be adjusted before or during engraving.
The second way of engraving without the computer is through WiFi connection to the smartphone. On your phone create a WiFi hotspot, install the MKS Laser app, connect the machine to the WiFi hotspot, enter the machine IP into the app, and you are ready to control the machine with your smartphone!
You can draw designs with your finger or create simple shapes and text using built in tools. Then you adjust the settings and position the engraving on your piece. If you find out that your settings are not the best, you can adjust the speed and power in real time during the machine operation.
You can also engrave photos taken with a camera! You can choose between different image modes. This is an awesome feature to make personalized gifts!
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 Twotrees TS3 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 Twotrees TS3 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.
Thanks to the color LCD touchscreen, you can also engrave offline using SD card or you can connect the machine to your smartphone using MKS laser app and engrave camera photos, text shapes or even finger doodles!
Our Test Results
In the video below we made a full review of the Twotrees TS3 laser engraving machine and tested its performance at laser engraving, laser cutting and showed you its distinct features. We also compared some of the results with comparable 10W machines like the Sculpfun S10, 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 Twotrees TS3 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 Twotrees TS3 appears to have very balanced power range. The only downside we could find at a first glance is that it leaves significant amount of smoke stains due to not having good air management under the laser module.
Lets see the detailed analysis of the test patterns in the chapters below.
The power scale test pattern shows how the machine engraves with different power levels at different speeds.
Since the Twotrees TS3 laser is twice as powerful as other 5W machines, we have used the modified thest pattern that we use for the 10W machines.
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.
In this test, the Twotrees TS3 appears to be quite balanced in X and Y direction. This means that it should have a rectangular beam shape.
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 Twotrees TS3 lack a bit of low end grunt, but this could be due to the laser diode driver dynamics and could be corrected by adjusting the engraving parameters.
Here we could also notice some charred dust on the engraving. It can be easily blown away afterwards, but it shows that the air management is not the best with this machine.
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.
Twotrees TS3 did a great job at engraving this design.
Anodized Aluminium Engraving
Next, we have tested the Twotrees TS3 laser module 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 Twotrees TS3 laser module is more rectangular than the wood engravings suggested, as the pattern looks a bit different when scanning in horizontal (X Axis) and vertical (Y Axis) direction.
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 Twotrees TS3 laser spot size is sized approximately 0.15*0.05mm as we can see that the engraved lines in X direction are much thinner.
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 Twotrees TS3 is superior to some other machines we have tested previously.
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 the machine stays stable also at higher speed as the outer square does not show more mechanical wobbles compared to the inner square which is engraved at 10 times slower 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 (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 compared to other machines like the Sculpfun S10, Atomstack A10 Pro (X7 Pro), the xTool D1 10W and Neje Master 2S Plus, the Twotrees TS3 remains quite well focused at a greater distance which is great for cutting thicker materials.
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 The twotrees TS3 was able to cut 3mm thick black acrylic in 4 passes.
We also tried to cut the 10mm thick black acrylic. It took 35 passes to cut through at the speed of 600mm/min. This is reasonably goof number for not having an air assist.
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.
Interestingly, despite the laser module having a rectangular spot as we found out in the anodized aluminium test pattern, the cutting performance of this machine appears to be nicely balanced in both cutting directions!
The Twotrees TS3 is still a very capable laser cutter. If you would add an air assist then it would be a proper beast!
Hardwood Cutting Test
This test shows how well the Twotrees TS3 laser engraving machine cuts harder woods at 600mm/min.
First we tried to cut 4mm pine wood which is still quite soft.
Twotrees TS3 has cut it in 4 passes.
Then we tried harder and denser 3mm and 5mm thick Beech wood. TheTS3 had no problems cutting it and did it in 3 passes for 3mm thick and 5 passes for 5mm thick beech wood.
We also tried cutting 5mm thick Oak wood and Twotrees TS3 did it in only 4 passes.
Engraving Stainless Steel
Tried to engrave text on blackened stainless steel (sprayed with cheap acrylic spray paint) with full power and 200mm/min. The Twotrees TS3 performance is almost the best at engraving stainless steel. It can also engrave stainless steel directly, without blackening, like all 10W machines can do.
Sculpfun S9 is the only 5W machines that could engrave stainless.
All-in-one package that can do it all!
The Twotrees TS3 laser engraving machine took a different design route from what we usually see with diode laser engravers. Instead of an open frame design, they went with an enclosed design style that we usually see with the CO2 lasers. This makes up to a great all-in-one package that can do everything you throw at it. Great for using it indoors, in the office or when having children nearby as it is very safe to be around when the lid is closed. Thanks to its touchscreen and Wi-Fi connectivity, it is also great for offline use.
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