Is It Worth The Hype? xTool F1 Portable Laser Engraver Hands-On REVIEW and TEST

Hey there, fellow tech enthusiasts! Today, we're diving into the exciting world of laser engraving with the remarkable xTool F1 - the fastest portable laser engraver. Get ready to be blown away by this compact and lightning-fast galvo laser engraver that packs a punch with not just one, but two laser sources! Trust me, this is a game-changer. Read our xTool F1 review to see practical uses of this innovative laser engraver!

What Is The xTool F1 Portable Laser Engraver All About?

The xTool F1 is a compact and portable laser engraver with a galvo system which screams premium quality. It boasts a 2-watt infrared laser, which is enough power for engraving metals with mind-blowing precision and incredible engraving speed. Whether you’re working on delicate jewelry or large metallic or plastic parts, this beast has got you covered.

But wait, there’s more! xTool F1 also has a very powerful 10-watt blue diode laser that excels at engraving and cutting wood, acrylics and many other materials that can be engraved with blue diode laser module. Check out this article for some ideas. Dual laser source ensures that it can engrave almost anything!


If you rather watch videos than reading articles, you can watch our video review on YouTube!

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Speed demons, rejoice! The xTool F1’s galvo system takes engraving to a whole new level with its astonishing engraving speed. Brace yourselves, because this bad boy can reach speeds of up to 4000 millimetres per second. Yes, you read that right—4000! It is the fastest portable laser engraver in this format. Say goodbye to long hours spent on meticulous engraving tasks with standard laser engravers. This laser engraver is all about efficiency without compromising on quality.

Curious to see what the xTool F1 laser engraver can really do? Then stick around! In this xTool F1 review article, we’re going to put the xTool F1 to the test. We’ll showcase its capabilities and show you what you can do with it. Trust me, you won’t want to miss this.

So, if you’re an artistic soul looking to revolutionize your engraving game, or simply a tech aficionado hungry for the latest and greatest gadgets, stay tuned. The xTool F1 is about to take you on a journey of precision, high speed,, and endless creative possibilities as it really covers a wide range of materials. Let’s dive in and uncover the magic of this remarkable laser engraver together!

Unboxing the xTool F1 Laser Engraver

The xTool F1 portable laser engraving machine comes packed in a very premium looking box. All the stuff is neatly packed in separate cardboard boxes. The whole unboxing experience is like unboxing a premium smartphone! The experience is very different to unboxing other laser engravers. The xTool F1 portable laser engraver is very compact and premium looking. It is fascinating how the xTool managed to squeeze two laser sources in such a small laser head!

xTool F1 review and test unboxing

We also got the optional desktop smoke purifier filter to test if it is worth its money.

In the box you get the laser engraver and in our case also the desktop smoke purifier and the usual bits and cables.  You also get a metallic part that looks like a heatsink that is to be used like a honeycomb plate, and it helps to get a cleaner cut in plywood, acrylic and similar materials..

xTool F1 honeycomb plate

The xTool F1 laser engraver comes with a very generous sample pack of various materials. You will get a bunch of metal business cards and stainless steel keychains, some black acrylic pieces, two very cool wooden coasters, a slat stone coaster and some leather tags. You also get some photo paper and two plywood boards. The generous material pack is very welcoming. With other laser engravers you only get a wooden board or two and some acrylic.

xTool F1 material pack

This knob is used for manual focus adjustment. And the button below is used for enabling the preview function.

xTool F1 portable laser engraver review and test

The xTool F1 connects to the computer via USB C cable or Wi-Fi connection.

On the rear side you will also find a USB locking key which locks the machine if removed, preventing children or unauthorized people from using it.

Underneath the machine you can see the galvo lens in all its glory. The bottom plate can be removed which enables you to engrave bigger items easily, just by placing the machine on top of them.

Is It Worth Buying The Optional Desktop Smoke Purifier Filter For The xTool F1?

Laser engraving and cutting produces a lot of smoke and unpleasant and harmful smells. Often you can vent the smells out the window, but you often can’t do that without making your neighbours angry. This is why we also got the optional smoke purifier to see how good it will filter out unpleasant smoke and odours.

xTool F1 smoke purifier filter with activated carbon and HEPA filter element

First thing you notice is that it looks very premium. It can be controlled manually, by pressing the switch when you want it to work, but the xTool F1 laser engraving machine supports automatic control of the purifier. The air purifier filter will start working automatically when the laser beam is working. When the engraving process stops the filter will keep working for 10 seconds more (software adjustable) to clear out all the fumes.

The fan in the purifier has three speeds. The lowest speed is used for engraving metals, the highest speed is used when engraving and cutting materials which produce a lot of smoke like wood and acrylic.

xTool F1 smoke purifier speed control selector

Let’s see what’s inside! On top of the filter we find the replaceable pre-filter. You also get two spare pre-filters included. And below is the true HEPA filter with activated carbon. The filter is very large and looks to be of high quality. If you shake the filter, you can hear that there is a lot of activated carbon inside which suggests that it should be very good at removing odours.

How did the smoke purifier perform with the xTool F1 laser engraver?

Automatic control is very nice. Set it and forget it. When working with the xTool F1 laser engraver, we left the outlet of the air purifier filter to stay inside our lab, to test the air cleaning performance.

xTool F1 connected to the xTool smoke purifier filter

When laser cutting plywood, a lot of smoke ans smell is produced. Usually our whole room would instantly get cloudy. But not with the xTool F1 air purifier! No smoke escapes out the purifier! There is only a faint smell coming out of the outlet, but it is nowhere near as strong as without using the filter. You still want a window open nearby if you are going to do a lot of cutting, but it feels like that it filters out 99% of the smell. The filter is very good. Without it, the whole room would be full of smoke in a blink of an eye!

We have also tested the air purification when acrylic is being cut. Acrylic produces even more powerful smell which is very unpleasant. But the activated charcoal filter in the xTool D1 air purifier does a very good job. The smell is barely detectable.  Without the filter I would get a headache for sure.

The smoke purifier is purchased separately and it is definitely worth its money if you can’t properly vent the smoke directly outside.

Using The xTool F1 Portable Laser Engraver

Focus adjustment

The xTool F1 laser engraver has a motorized Z-axis used for focus adjustment. The focus can be adjusted manually by rotating the manual focus adjustment knob which will move the laser head up or down. The laser projects two dots on the material surface. One red and one blue dot. When these two dots align, the material surface is in perfect focus. Manual focusing is useful for engraving shapes that can’t be easily measured by a digital caliper.

The focus can also be automatically adjusted just by entering the material thickness in the xTool Creative Space software. Auto focus is a very handy feature!

The engraving preview function

The engraving preview function will project a rectangular frame with the size of you engravings to show you the exact position of the engraving on the material surface. It draws it with a faint blue light which is safe to look at. It can also draw the outline of your shape which comes useful when trying to engrave round or irregular shaped designs. This helps a ton when trying to accurately position the design.

The preview function of the xTool F1 laser engraver

The engraving speed of the xTool F1 laser engraving machine

Thanks to the industrial grade galvo system (galvanometer), this laser engraver can reach a very high engraving speed. It can reach up speeds up to 4000mm/s. it is up to 20 times faster than conventional gantry mechanical system. The only downside is that galvo system limits the usable working area. This machine has a working area of 100*100mm (a bit less than 4 inches square).

xTool Creative Space software

The machine can be operated by the xTool Creative Space software also known by the name XCS software. This software is free, and we decided to use it for all our tests in this review as it is easy to use and more than good enough for getting the most out of the xTool F1 laser engraver. Software is free and works offline, so no cloud dependency is needed which is great!

It supports all basic functionalities like drawing lines, vectors and text and all operations on these vectors like merging, subtracting, grouping and it also has a library of more complex shapes. Work is organized in layers, where each layer is a different operation (cutting, engraving, selecting laser type to blue or IR laser… You can also import your own vector designs and perform everything you expect from a laser software.

xTool Creative Space Software

xTool Creative Space took a step with the trends and it also included an AI image generator if you want to invent some custom designs. Here we have generated some automatic prompts for a quick test. It can also use an existing photo as a source for generating similar images.

This feature is not free though. But by registering, you get 500 free points to use for AI image generation which is good for 100 images. Points can be either purchased or earned with various activities like sharing on social media and you even get points when you spend some money buying stuff or services from xTool.

xTool F1 portable laser engraver supports Lightburn software too!

xTool F1 laser engraver also supports the most popular laser software called Lightburn. This is advanced software, but we have decided not to use it in this xTool F1 review article as we have found that the free software was more than enough for getting the most out of the xTool F1.

The xTool F1 and Safety

The xTool F1 has quite a few safety mechanisms inside.

Firstly, you have an emergency stop switch on the side of the enclosure which comes useful to quickly shut down the machine if you notice that something went wrong.

Secondly, the xTool has thought of children safety too. The xTool F1 has a USB locking key plugged in at the back. If you remove the key, the machine will not be able to work. This can prevent unauthorized people from using the machine.

Thirdly, if the device is bumped or tilted during work it will immediately stop to prevent any accident. Program can be resumed or cancelled via software.

xTool F1 portable laser engraver review and test

xTool F1 and eye safety

Thanks to its fully enclosed design it is relatively safe to observe the engraving process without laser goggles. The fully enclosed cover is good at blocking the powerful laser lights. This is why the xTool F1 package does not come with a pair of safety goggles.

But if you would engrave something larger, and you will need to keep the lid open, then you must wear quality laser safety glasses. We found a very good and affordable pair of laser safety goggles that I use regularly.

They protect against both wavelengths and are safe to use with blue (450nm) and infrared (1064nm) laser which is optimal for the xTool F1 dual laser source. You can get them HERE.

Real-Life Test Results - Testing the Performance of the xTool F1 Portable Laser Engraver

Engraving metal business cards

With the xTool F1 laser engraver, you get a big pile of metal business cards of all colors.

We have engraved this vector design and the xTool F1 has demonstrated its blazing engraving speed by engraving it in only 6 seconds total!

Metal business card engraved with the xTool F1 laser engraver

Engraving and cutting acrylic with the xTool F1

Next, we engraved some black acrylic where we can show you how to use both laser sources in one single project. We have set one layer to engrave the logo with infrared laser. Infrared laser leaves a nice white engraving on black acrylic as we have already seen in my other videos. And the second layer was set to blue laser which is great for cutting the acrylic and was used for cutout.

The result was very impressive. You can’t make a part like this without having two powerful lasers inside. Infrared laser can’t cut and blue laser only can’t engrave acrylic with such a high contrast as it does only melt the acrylic a bit. But the dual laser source in the xTool F1 does the job well!

Black acrylic engraved and cut with the xTool F1 laser engraver using blue and infrared laser module.

Incredibly detailed photo engraving with the xTool F1

The infrared laser beam has a very small focus spot and it can achieve high DPI which makes photo engravings look like they were printed out. You could call it a laser printer in this case. The engraving accuracy is incredible!

The engraving was made on the black paper from the material sample pack. The result is incredible. I really can’t believe how good the resolution is. On the head of one of the dogs there is a small anomaly because the paper has moved during the engraving process because of the airflow from the purifier. It is recommended to weigh down light materials like paper.

Realistic photo engraving made with the xTool F1 laser engraver

Engraving with the maximum speed of 4000mm/s

Now it’s time to test the xTool F1 maximum engraving speed by engraving this vector design of an eagle. The drawing is made of thousands of small vector strokes and will be the perfect test for this machine.

It engraved this with lightning fast speed while maintaining high precision. Check out our YouTube review video to see it with your own eyes! The video is not sped up. This is the advantage of galvo lasers, because they don’t have external moving parts and therefore they can be very precise at blazing fast speed! The result is amazing, and it took only 27 seconds to complete!

xTool F1 vector engraving with high speed and precision made on photo paper

How well can the xTool F1 engrave on metal?

xTool also sells a lot of different materials and items that can be engraved with their machines. We got these metallic necklaces to test if the xTool F1 is good at engraving jewelry.

The result is once again, very good! The engravings on metal are permanent, but of course the engraving thickness is not as deep compared to stuff we have engraved with fiber lasers like the ComMarker B4 which have 10 times the power. The infrared engraving performance of the xTool F1 is similar to the Enjoywood M4 we have tested a while ago.

Golden necklace engraved with the xTool F1 laser engraver

How well can the xTool F1 engrave wood?

Let’s try to make something cool with this wooden coaster which came with the material pack! You can change the preview from rectangular to the actual outline which comes in handy for round objects. We have made this design in seconds using Kittl designer.

Note: The infrared laser does not work on wood at all. For example fiber lasers 10 times more powerful can’t mark wood at all. This is why this machine is so versatile for having both laser sources!

Wooden coaster engraved with the xTool F1 laser engraver

What about cutting wood with the xTool F1?

The xTool F1 can also cut wood thanks to its powerful 10W blue laser diode. it can’t cut very thick, because the focus length is quite short, but 3mm thick Poplar plywood was cut in two passes at 600mm/min which is almost as good as regular 10W laser engravers!

Can xTool F1 engrave on stone?

Some materials like this slate stone coaster can be engraved with both laser beams. We have set up two identical engravings, one to be engraved with blue laser and the other one with infrared laser to see the difference between them.

The infrared laser has smaller focus spot and produces more detailed engraving. In this case it also has a bit more contrast. For some materials it is worth experimenting to see which laser module is better for the job.

Slate stone coaster engraved with the xTool F1 laser engraver using blue and infrared laser module

Engraving anodized aluminum with both laser sources

Anodized aluminum animal tags can also be engraved with both lasers. Our settings weren’t optimal. With some tweaking, better results can be achieved in both cases. We source our tags from Chewbarka. Check them out, they have a wide range of animal tags, business cards, luggage tags and many more!

anodized aluminum metal animal dog tag engraved with the xTool F1 laser engraver. Blue vs infrared laser performance test

Infrared laser is great for engraving other plastics too

The infrared laser is also good at engraving plastics very quickly. This is a great way for engraving phone cases and other electronics to make a customized gift. We have engraved a white powerbank and the engraving came out great!

Caution! Certain plastics like PVC produce very toxic fumes when engraved! Proper ventilation of the exhaust gasses is essential. The purifier does certainly help to minimize the harmful gasses, but there is no proof that the exhaust is completely free of toxic fumes.

Plastic powerbank case engraved with the xTool F1 laser engraver

Cleaning coins and removing rust with the xTool F1

 As we have seen in our other review articles and our guide on how to make money with laser engraver, the infrared laser is also very good at cleaning coins and removing light rust. The xTool F1 performs these tasks very well with its infrared laser.

Cleaning coins with the xTool F1

The Attachments And Extensions For The xTool F1 Laser Engraver

Desktop smoke purifier for the xTool F1

Reading through this article, you should have already familiarized yourself with the desktop smoke purifier so we will not repeat ourselves here.

But sit tight! The xTool F1 supports more attachments!

xTool F1 smoke purifier filter with activated carbon and HEPA filter element

Using xTool RA2 Pro rotary attachment with the xTool F1 laser engraver

xTool F1 laser engraver also supports the xTool RA2 Pro rotary chuck attachment which we have already reviewed. You connect it with a dedicated cable to the side port on the machine. The bottom plate needs to be removed and put next to the machine to support the rotary extension.

For testing the precision, we have engraved a ring. In the software you just need to enable the cylinder mode and enter the diameter of the object. Be careful, any engraving larger than the perimeter will start overlapping.

metal ring engraved with the xTool F1 using the xTool RA2 pro rotary attachment

With the xTool RA2 Pro you can also engrave larger cylinders like this bottle below. The engraving has removed the paint down to the metal and will not wear off any time soon! The chuck style rotary system makes engraving mugs easier as the handle will not get in the way.

If using the xTool F1 with the rotary tool, we recommend buying the additional pair of safety goggles as the machine comes without them. This way working with the machine will be MUCH safer! You can get them HERE.

xTool F1 slide extension

The xTool F1 laser engraver also supports the connection of the slide extension for increasing the working area to 100*400mm. The extension slides the material below the laser automatically. This is ideal for batch processing, increasing the engraving work area.

We have tested it and you can see how it works in this short YouTube video.

xTool F1 slide extension kit

Where to buy materials and blank products to use with the xTool F1?

xTool also sells a variety of materials and products that you can engrave with their lasers. You can check them out HERE.

xTool F1 Fastest Portable Laser Engraver Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • dual laser source in a single machine is much more affordable and convenient than having two separate lasers
  • can engrave almost all types of materials
  • portable laser engraving machine that can be taken anywhere
  • desktop smoke purifier is very good
  • it supports rotary attachments and slide extensions
  • very premium and quality feel
  • a lot of safety systems
  • offers a good free XCS software
  • Also supports Lightburn
  • very precise engraving accuracy
  • very fast engraving speed
  • automatic laser focus adjustment
  • easy to use
  • relatively affordable considering you get two lasers in one machine

Cons:

  • small working area
  • not very good for cutting materials thicker than a few millimeters
  • infrared laser is only 2W which is much less than traditional fiber lasers (but it is also at a fraction of the cost!)
  • sometimes software appears to be a bit glitchy as it is still in active development. Future updates will improve it for sure

A true jack of all trades, master of none, but in a good way!

Conclusion

 The xTool F1 portable laser engraving machine is a very good piece of kit.

It is an excellent machine for someone who wants to engrave on a wide variety of materials and who doesn't need a large working area.

It features a blue diode laser which is great for working on materials like wood and acrylics. And the infrared diode laser beam is excellent at engraving metals and plastics. You really get the best of both worlds with the xTool F1 laser engraver!

Get the xTool F1 here!

Don’t forget to check our other reviews too and don’t miss out on visiting our discount coupon page where you could get a great discount for purchasing your next laser engraver!

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3 Comments
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  1. Thanks for review 🙂

    Do you know the Dot size and Resolution please?

    Also, when cutting through 3mm stock near the edge of the work area, aren’t the edges cut at an angle, please?

    David

    (Keen to see comparison with LaserPecker LX1 and LX1 Max)

  2. Hi
    Thanks for a great review. When you bought the safety glasses did you get the OD4 or OD6? I am not sure what the difference is between them
    Bruce

    Leave a reply

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