Makeblock xTool D1 Is The Most Premium Laser Engraver So Far!
Contents of This Review
What is the Makeblock xTool D1?
The Makeblock xTool D1 is by far the most premium looking laser cutter machine we got our hands on. It features excellent mechanics, advanced stepper motor drivers and a powerful 10W dual-beam laser module. We also tested their rotary roller system.
In this article, we will put it through a series of tests which will show what this machine is capable of.
The Makeblock xTool D1 has a rectangular engraving area of 432 * 406 mm (17 * 16 inch) 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.
432 * 406 mm (17 * 16 inch)
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
Makeblock LaserBox Basic, LightBurn, Android and iOS
The Makeblock xTool D1 features the 10W fixed focus laser module.
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!
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 method on this machine is very clever. 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. Brilliant!
Makeblock xTool D1 also has some special features worth mentioning:
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. The drivers also support homing procedure without using limit switches as the drivers measure current through motors and detect the limit this way. This is why this machine does not need physical limit switches for homing.
The machine has drivers for 3 axis – so you can plug in the roller system as a Z axis instead of having to disconnect one of the axis when working with a roller system.
Machine can be connected via USB or a WiFi. And you can also control with a smartphone app on Android or iOS.
The Makeblock xTool D1 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.
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 is also a very capable laser cutter.
Cut: Cardboard, Non-woven Fabric, Wood Board, Acrylic, Some Thin Plastic Board, Sponge;cardboard…
You can cut more than 10mm thick stuff with this laser engraver. 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 Makeblock xTool D1 laser engraver with the dedicated Makeblock Laserbox Basic software which works OK 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. 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).
For using the 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 xTool D1 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 at the top of this article, we have tested the performance of the Makeblock xTool D1 and have compared some of the results with the Atomstack A10 Pro, also known as Atomstack X7 Pro and a little bit to the much cheaper Sculpfun S9 (5W laser).
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.
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. Compared to the 5W machines, 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 xTool D1 laser module.
In this test, the xTool D1 shows the properties of a square and very balanced laser beam as the engravings in vertical and horizontal direction look almost the same.
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 xTool did a preety good job at angraving photos, although the looks less detailed than with Sculpfun S9, which had more contrast and detail with its engraving due to a smaller focus spot size.
This was expected. Because of the higher output power, there is less resolution for controlling the laser power. Combined with a slightly larger laser spot size, you get less detailed photo engravings. But the result is still very good.
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 Makeblock xTool D1 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 is basically a square, as the engraved pattern looks very similar 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 xTool D1 really shines. Due to its superb mechanics, it remains 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 has a dot shape, sized approximately 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 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 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 performed 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 it still did a very good job..
Keep in mind that the xTool D1 has double the power of the Sculpfun S9 and it should still cut very well as we will see in the next test.
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 was able to cut through 3mm thick black acrylic in only 4 passes which is very good.
We also tried to cut the 10mm thick black acrylic. The xTool D1 took around 42 passes to cut through at the speed of 600mm/min. We could say that this thickness of acrylic is not practical for cutting as it will take a long time to cut through for larger pieces.
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.
The Makeblock xTool D1 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 cuts harder woods at 600mm/min.
First we tried to cut 4mm pine wood which is still quite soft.
Neje has cut it in 4 passes.
Then we tried harder and denser 3mm and 5mm thick Beech wood. The xTool D1 had no problems cutting it and did it in 2 passes for 3mm thick ans 5 passes for 5mm thick beech wood.
We also tried cutting 5mm thick Oak wood and xTool D1 did it in 5 passes.
This is the best cutting performance so far.
Engraving Stainless Steel
Tried to engrave text on blackened stainless steel (sprayed with cheap acrylic spray paint) with full power and 200mm/min. The engraving came out with great contrast. We can see how much smaller the dot is with the Sculpfun S9
This is why the Sculpfun is still such a great cutter, despite having only half the output power. Smaller dot allows for greater details when engraving small text and photo engraving.
The Rotary Roller Attachment
Together with the machine, you can also order the rotary roller attachment which can be used to engrave on cylindrical objects.
The attachment comes with eight riser feet which are used to raise the machine higher, to accommodate the extra height of the cylinders.
Like the Machine itself, the attachment is also very solidly built. It is made from cast metal and is heavy and sturdy.
It is plugged in the control board as a third axis, so there is no need to disconnect anything.
We ran the laser at almost its max speed of 10000mm/min and full power to test if it can engrave text and images at that speed.
This was the most impressive thing on this machine! It is very stable and there is very little wobble at that speed. Compared to Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro it is way more stable. And the Ortur is already a pretty stable machine!
Check out the YouTube Video to see how fast this looks like!
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 here!.
A laser engraver with top of the line mechanics and a powerful laser module
Makeblock xTool D1 is a very well thought out machine. Precise, fast and solidly built.
It comes at a premium price, but it is worth it for someone that wants a good and almost an industrial grade table top laser engraver capable of fast cutting and precise engraving thanks to a powerful 10W laser module.
Ideal for a good hobby or a small business.
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 D1Buy Atomstack A10 Pro
- xTool Christmas Big Sale!
- D1 Pro 20W Bundle
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- EU Store:
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D1 Pro 20W Productivity Kit_Advanced (714 € Off at checkout)
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- Amazon Christmas Deal of this Year! All 15% OFF! (4/12-25/12 PT)
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