XTool first cut

Like every cool toy they advertised when I was a kid, the new laser cutter came “some assembly required.” It took a few days to reach the top of the to-do list, and when it did, the straightforward task took a good hour or more. Strangely, the instructions get you to the point of downloading the software but do not even hint at how to produce something.

For that, you need to search the XTool support site for a tutorial or two. It turns out to be simple, but not self-explanatory.

The tool came with a little sample pack of materials, and the software includes some sample shapes. So, being Canadian, I chose the sample maple leaf and the sample 3mm basswood plywood and turned the whole contraption on.

Actually, at first I only turned on half the contraption as I forgot to turn on the Air Assist. This component blows air at the impact location to reduce the likelihood of flames. About ten seconds into the cut, I remembered, and you can definitely see the scorching get suppressed.

About half-way through the three-minute process, The Girl, who was Overwatching on the couch a metre away from ground zero, started to complain about the smell. My old nostrils could barely perceive the smell of burning wood. I would put it on par with burning a couple of wooden matches and frankly I like the smell. The extraction fan for my paint booth should easily keep the family happy.

A few seconds after The Girl’s initial complaint, I started to wonder if the material was staying completely still as the laser moved over it. When it turned back to complete the stem of the leaf and the head started to drag the whole sheet around, there was no denying it. Next time, I’ll tape down the sheet.

XTool sells a special honeycomb base for the cutter, which I’d wondered about, but didn’t purchase. Flipping over the sheet, I saw the underside was much more scorched than the front, and imagine the honeycomb base probably resolves this problem. If I were making coasters where the wood would be left raw, I’d get the honeycomb base.

Overall, despite the spoiled stem, I’m delighted with this first cut! With the air assist, the top surface is beautifully clean, and I can envision many useful parts.

6 thoughts on “XTool first cut

  1. I’ve been looking at these and bought a cheap cnc cutter with a 20 watt laser. It isn’t very useful so far. What power was the laser you got with this one?

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