Is The xTool D1 PRO Really The BEST Laser Cutter/Engraver Machine? We Put It to the TEST! (Review)

The Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W laser engraver is a state-of the art do-it-all laser engraver that can tackle any task you throw at it! In this article we have reviewed the machine and put it through the range of tests to see how well the xTool D1 Pro 20W engraves and cuts plywood, hardwood, acrylic and stainless steel. SPOILER ALERT: This machine is a cutting beast! It could even help you run a small to medium laser engraving business. This article will help you decide if this machine is the best for you.

Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W Review and Test

What is the Makeblock xTool D1 Pro?

The Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W is by far the most capable laser cutter machine we got our hands on so far. Just like its predecessor, the xTool D1, it features excellent mechanics, advanced stepper motor drivers and a powerful laser module.  But this bad boy boasts a quad-diode 20W laser module! It also has some additional features and functionalities compared to the that we will mention later in this post.

You can get this machine in grey or red color!

In this article, we will put the xTool D1 Pro 20W through a series of tests which will show what this machine is really capable of.

The Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W is mechanically similar to the xTool D1 and has a rectangular working area of 430 * 390 mm xTool D1 and it features a steel rollers on all axis which should mean there will be a lot of precision at high speeds and very little mechanical wobble. All the parts are solid and heavy and have a quality feel to it.

The assembly of the machine is easy and it takes less than half an hour to assemble it thanks to a good manual.

Best Laser Engraving Ideas For Making DIY Stuff With The xTool D1 Pro 20W

With the machine, you also get a brochure that will help you get some more ideas of what is possible to make with the xTool D1 Pro laser engraver. You can use it to spice up your hobby or even start a business for which the xTool D1 Pro 20W is more than capable.
You can purchase a great variety of materials and blank products ready for engraving right on the xTool website HERE at great prices!

Specifications

Parameter Value
Engraving Size
430 * 390 mm (16.93 * 15.35 inch)
Engraving Materials
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
20W
Laser Wavelength
450nm
Focusing Method
Fixed focus laser
Operating Software
xTool Creative Space, LightBurn, Android and iOS
Input voltage
AC100-240V, 50/60Hz
Weight
5kg
Warranty
One Year

xTool D1 Pro 20W Laser Module Specs and Features

The Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W features a state-of-the-art 20W fixed focus laser module. This means that it has 4 separate laser diodes inside, all focused in a single spot. This should provide a very good cutting power that we will thoroughly test later in this post.

The module has a red LED in a corner which projects a red crosshair on the workpiece below. You can use it to align the start of the engraving on your piece very precisely.  You just need to set the offset values correctly. This comes in very handy as you don’t need to fire the laser for alignment!

The xTool D1 Pro laser engraver also features a flame sensor and tilt sensor. In case of a material catching fire or somebody lifts the machine, the machine will stop automatically, preventing damage or injury.

We have also tested the air assist on this machine. More performance tests were made in this article.

Measuring the TRUE Optical Output Power of The xTool D1 Pro 20W Laser Module

We used an optical power meter to test if the laser module really outputs the specified power. We found out that it outputs even more power than specified! Awesome!

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! This machine is very powerful and you should wear good protection equipment!

Focusing procedure

The focusing method on the original xTool D1 was very clever. But this machine has it even better! Next to the laser module, there is a swivelling arm which you pull out when you want to focus the laser. It assures that you drop the head on the correct distance from the material. Then you tighten the thumb screw and swivel the arm back up.

Now the laser module is perfectly focused on the work surface which is ideal for engraving.

But the Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W has another great feature which is great for cutting thicker stuff! It features another thumb screw on the other side of the laser module which is used to additionally lower the laser module even more. Using this and the included scale printed on the side, you can precisely lower the laser head for half the thickness of the material you want to cut, putting the optimal focus distance in the middle of the material for optimal cutting performance!

Special Features

Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W also has some additional special features worth mentioning:

Limit switches

Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W has limit switches on both axis which makes it possible to set the home position of the machine automatically.

They also prevent the machine from hitting the physical limit and putting strain on the components.

Engrave With a Lightning Speed With Advanced Stepper Motor Drivers

The machine has a very advanced controller board. It has Trinamic stepper motor drivers which drive the motors with a pure sine wave. This way the motors are very precise and silent.There are no jagged edges when engraving diagonal lines.

The Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W can archieve a lightning speed 400mm/min or over 20000mm/min! Combined with a powerful 20W laser module that can cope with this speed, you will save many hours of work time! Times when we were waiting hours for engravings to complete are long gone!

Wireless Connectivity

Machine can be connected via USB or a WiFi. And you can also control with a smartphone app on Android or iOS.

Steel Rollers

The Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W also has steel rollers on all axis instead of the plastic ones we have seen on all other machines. This should allow for more precision and less mechanical wobble when engraving at high speeds.

Offline operation using SD card

You can run the machine offline using an SD card. This should come in handy when making a series production.

Flame and tilt sensor

The xTool D1 Pro laser engraver also features a flame sensor and tilt sensor. In case of a material catching fire or somebody lifts the machine, the machine will stop automatically, preventing damage or injury.

xTool D1 Pro 20W laser module air assist nozzle underneath

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 Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W is also a monster of a laser cutter.

Cut: Cardboard, Non-woven Fabric, Wood Board, Acrylic, Some Thin Plastic Board, Sponge;cardboard…

You can cut more than 15mm thick stuff with this laser engraver. The machine can cut wood like butter, 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 Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W laser engraver with the dedicated xTool Creative Space software which works great and has a lot of functionalities and can be used to update the machine firmware and is very easy to use for basic work, but it is a bit limiting compared to the Lightburn.

For laser engraving, I always 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).

For using this machine with Lightburn you need to follow THIS TUTORIAL to make it work. It is definitely worth it.

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.

The Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W can also be controlled via WiFi. There is also a smartphone app for Android and iOS which you can use to control the machine with your smartphone.

Our Test Results

In the video below we tested the performance of the Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W and have compared some of the results with the standard xTool D1, Sculpfun S10, Atomstack A10 Pro, also known as Atomstack X7 Pro and other machines like Neje A40640, Comgrow Z1 and more.

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.

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. Lets see the result in more detail in the below chapters.

Compared to the pattern we have used for 10W machines, this pattern has all the engraving speeds exactly doubled in order to accommodate twice the power of the Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W.

As for writing this, we have tested only one 20W quad diode laser engraver, so you can’t directly compare the results at this moment. 

Although the engravings of the xTool D1 Pro look lighter than xTool D1 10W machine, this does not mean that it is any weaker. I tried to engrave the standard pattern that we use for 10W machines, and everything got burned through the wood. The xTool D1 Pro 20W machine is very powerful! Higher power enables you to engrave faster.

If you want to test your own laser, you can get the below test file HERE.

Power Scale

The power scale test pattern shows how the machine engraves with different power levels at different speeds.

Since this laser is twice as powerful, we have modified the pattern a little bit to better suit it to this much more powerful machine. The speed ranges are exactly twice of the ones used for the 10W laser engravers.

Power is varied from 10% to 100% in 10% increments and the speeds are 2400, 3600, 4800and 6000mm/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.

In the 6000mm/min speed range, there is a programming mistake, the frame of the shapes was not engraved at 6000mm/min but at 3000mm/min which was a mishap when modifying the 10W pattern into the new one.

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.

For this test the speed was doubled to accommodate higher output power of the xTool D1 Pro 20W laser module.

In this test, the xTool D1 Pro 20W shows the properties of a square and very balanced laser beam as the engravings in vertical and horizontal direction look almost the same. This is very impressive for a quad-diode laser module!

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 xTool D1 Pro 20W did a pretty good job at engraving photos. This means it has a small laser focus spot size. (We will measure it later on).

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. It was engraved at a very high speed. 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 Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W 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 Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W is almost a perfect square as the pattern looks well balanced when scanning in horizontal (X Axis) and vertical (Y Axis) direction.

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. But here is where the standard xTool D1 10W really shined.  And the xTool D1 Pro is also just as good, despite the laser head being much larger and heavier. Due to its superb mechanics, it remains almost wobble-free and even the 1mm tall text engraving looks perfect!

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 Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W laser module has a square dot shape, sized 0.15 times 0.15 millimetres.

Next was testing with different text sizes. We can see that this machine has a very stable mechanics and all the text was engraved with perfection. The best so far!

Below is the engraving of two sets of squares on the right side, one inside the other. The outer 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 due to the excellent mechanics.

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 a swivelling arm). 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 Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W laser module performed similar to the standard xTool D1 or the Sculpfun S10 and better than the Atomstack M50 laser module in the Atomstack A10 Pro (Atomstack X7 Pro) and much better than the Neje Master 2S Plus. But it still cannot match the the Sculpfun S9, but the S9 is a 5W single diode laser module.

Keep in mind that the xTool D1 Pro has quadruple the power of the 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 thick black acrylic (plexi glass) at 600mm/min. The engraving and cutting came out great with a clean cut edge. The Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W was able to cut through 3mm thick black acrylic in only 2.5 passes which is amazing.

We also tried to cut the 10mm thick black acrylic. The xTool D1 Pro took only 14 passes to cut through! This is an amazing result! For example, the standard 10W xTool D1 took  42 passes to cut through at the speed of 600mm/min. We could say that the xTool D1 Pro 20W machine is a serious laser cutter!

As you can see at the 10mm thick piece, the cutting performance did not get any weaker going deeper into 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 can be different in each direction because the dot can sometimes be rectangular shape.

Here is a comparison table between the  xTool D1 Pro 20W and the standard 10W xTool D1.

A table comparing results between the xTool D1 Pro 20W laser engraver and the standard xTool D1 10W laser engraverat laser cutting plywood

The Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W is a powerful and capable laser cutter with a a very balanced cutting performance in both directions. It is the best performing diode laser cutter so far.

Hardwood Cutting Test

This test shows how well the Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W cuts harder woods at 600mm/min.
First we tried to cut 4mm pine wood which is still quite soft.

xTool D1 Pro has cut it in just over 2 passes.

Then we tried harder and denser 3mm and 5mm thick Beech wood. The xTool D1 Pro had no problems cutting it and did it in 2 passes for 3mm  thick and 3 passes for 5mm thick beech wood.

We also tried cutting 5mm thick Oak wood and xTool D1 Pro did it in 2.5 passes.

This is the best cutting performance so far!

Engraving Stainless Steel

We tried two different scenarios for engraving stainless steel with the Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W. First was engraving directly on the stainless steel and the second was on the stainless steel that was previously blackened with a black spray paint as we did before. The machine was set at a very slow speed of 200mm/min and full power as always .

The engraving is very dark in both situations. Direct engraving left a brown residue which could be easily removed with a finger. The engravings are very deep. You can feel it with a finger nail. This machine can engrave stainless steel with ease and produces great results. Here is how it compares to other 10W machines and the 5W Sculpfun S9. Left is direct engraving and the right is engraving on blackened stainless steel.

xTool D1 Pro 20W Endurance Test

I also had to cut a complicated design from 6mm acrylic so I tried to cut it with the x-tool D1 Pro which was already at hand at the moment.

The machine was running at full power for more than an hour and successfully cut the design. The laser head got a bit dirty, so I tried to test the output power again.

The output power was heavily reduced. This was due to the lens becoming dirty which is not unusual. I cleaned it with the isopropyl alcohol and a q-tip and measured the power again. The power was again in the 20W range. This is why periodical cleaning of the lens is important.

This proved that he laser module did not loose power due to working continuously at full power for a full hour.

The Rotary Roller Attachment

Together with the machine, you can also order the xTool RA2 Pro 4-in-1 chuck style rotary roller attachment which can be used to engrave on cylindrical and spherical objects. We have a full detailed review of it HERE!

This is a very different design to the more common rubber roller-based rotary systems. It features a chuck, just like the one you find on a lathe. It should provide much more precision when engraving very detailed designs on cylinder shaped objects. We have put it to the test to see what it can do and how it compared to rubber roller systems!

xTool RA2 Pro - The WORLD'S FIRST 4-in-1 Rotary for Laser Engraver

Ventilation Enclosure

And we also highly recommend that you use a laser engraver enclosure, so the harmful air is vented out through window. Read more about laser engraver enclosure for the xTool D1 Pro here!.

foldable and smoke-proof enclosure for D1/D1 Pro and other laser engravers

A very serious laser engraver that can do it ALL. Period.

Conclusion

The Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W has it all - the power, the speed, the quality, the usability and upgrade-ability. With this laser engraver, you can work fast, efficiently and reliably.

It is a well thought out machine that can do it all. It is a great machine for a serious user or for one that wants to start a laser engraving business. on a small to medium scale.

We have also tested the air assist on this machine. More performance tests were made in this article.

You can use our coupon code "JTxTool" for a 10% off at checkout for D1 Pro and accessories! Only for a limited amount of time and for a limited amount of orders!

Buy xTool D1 ProAlternative store

Black Friday sales on xTool:
xTool D1 Pro US
xTool D1 Pro EU
D1 Pro Kit Basic (US)
D1 Pro Kit Advanced (EU)
Amazon:
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You can also get this machine IN THIS STORE. We also recommend getting it together with the RA2 PRO rotary system in this special coupon deal!

Or check the COUPON PAGE. If a fresh discount coupon is available, it will be listed there.

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1 Comment
  1. Reply
    Daniel Fernandes July 9, 2022 at 19:05

    My compliments to the members of Makeblock, maker of the excellent xTool D1 and D1 Pro machines.

    Now, I am starting in the world of lasers and, therefore, I am always investigating about the most powerful laser machines for engraving, but mainly for cutting some materials such as wood, acrylic, etc.

    Yes, I know that perhaps the xTool D1 PRO is the best laser cutting/engraving machine, until proven otherwise, or a better, more powerful laser is released.

    About a year ago, I bought my first laser machine, Sculpfun S6 Pro, which, for me, is a good machine, although, this manufacturer has already released its latest laser, S10 Pro, which is powerful for Cut wood up to 15mm thick.

    As I said, I understand and, everything indicates that the xTOOL D1 and even more, the D1 Pro, are one step ahead of laser machines, but you have to consider the accessibility of things and this refers exactly to the cost, that is, the price of things and, in this regard, the xTOOL D1 is also far beyond the other laser machines, embrora, the xTOOL D1 Pro, is better in some points, compared, for example, with the excellent Sculpfun S10 Pro.

    Nowadays, people are considering the famous cost-benefit because, life is not so easy, to use the money, which is earned with sweat, whatever it is.

    I, for example, will expect a good promotion, who knows, for New Year’s Eve or Christmas, from some laser manufacturer like Sculpfun, Atomstack or even xTOOL.

    Thank you and, I hope you will consider my message,

    Daniel Fernandes

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