Meet the xTool S1, a fully enclosed 40W diode laser that can cut and engrave. Let’s break down what this machine can do and how this can work with your craft hobby or small business.
This post is sponsored by xTool and may contain affiliate links, view my full disclosure policy.
What is a diode laser?
I have shared many craft lasers here before and they are all diodes. This type of craft laser ranges from 5 to 40 watts and is designed to cut and engrave a wide variety of materials. This includes wood, metal, stone, and acrylic just to name a few.
If you are a crafter or small business owner and already use a Cricut or Silhouette you may find that a laser is the natural next step. You can cut thicker materials and add intricate engraving to so many materials.
A diode laser can be housed in a smaller space than a CO2 or fiber laser which makes it ideal for crafters.
xTool is a leader is the home laser industry. They have consistently produced lasers, tools and accessories of all kinds to help us create. xTool has the knowledge and experience that you want when investing in a big machine.
The xTool M1 is one of my favorite tools in the craft room. It’s a 10W laser that also comes with a blade for cutting vinyl and paper. It’s a great tool for crafters, take a look a my full review if you are interested in this machine.
xTool S1 laser
As much as I love my M1, the 10W laser head and the size of the machine have its limitations. The new S1 has quickly become my go-to machine.
Let’s talk about the features of this machine. If you’d like a visual review, take a look at the full video.
Materials. A diode laser can cut and engrave wood, coated metal, stainless steel, opaque acrylic, stone and fabric. Look at this all inclusive list for more details. Keep in mind that a diode is made up of blue light so it doesn’t engrave blue or white acrylic. It also is not made to engrave clear items.
There are some workarounds to engraving on clear items, but if this is your intended material you may want to opt for a CO2 laser that can perform this task easily.
Metals are limited to stainless steel and coated metals, to engrave other types of metal you will need an infrared laser which I talk about later on.
Safety. This is a priority and should be at the top of your list when looking into a craft laser. This machine is fully enclosed with a translucent green top. I am able to run it without wearing protective glasses.
The full enclosure combined with a fan and fire safety features give me peace of mind when running this in my home. There is also an emergency stop button on the side if I need to quickly shut everything off.
The machine can vent out a window or attach to a smoke purifier to keep the air around you clean.
Size. The xTool S1 is a larger laser with a cutting area of 19.6 x 12.5 inches. If you place the honeycomb base inside the area is a little smaller. This base is ideal for cutting items as it helps with air flow and reducing char around the edges of your wood.
Laser module. You can order the S1 with either a 20W or 40W laser head. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a laser size. The higher the wattage the more powerful it will be, however the difference between these two isn’t huge.
I can cut and engrave the same materials, but the 40W is faster. The 20W has a slightly smaller dot so technically the engraving detail is better. However, I have achieved excellent fine detail with the 40W.
The 40W can cut up to 18mm thick wood and 15mm thick opaque acrylic in a single pass. While the 20W can cut up to 10mm wood and 8mm acrylic in one pass. Both run at speeds up to 600mm/sec.
If you do more engraving you may want to opt for the 20W, if you plan to do more cutting opt for the 40W.
Positioning system. This laser uses a pin point positioning system that allows you to precisely place your design exactly where you want it on your material. In this video I walk through a beginner project and show how to use the positioning system.
Some enclosed diode craft lasers, like the M1, employ the use of a camera to help position graphics. While this is really useful it’s not always the most accurate.
Dynamic engraving. The xTool S1 is equiped with an auto focus system that helps set parameters for any material you put in the machine. It can even engrave a surface that is uneven giving you a perfect engraving every time.
IR module. There is an optional infrared module you can add on to the S1. This type of laser allows you to engrave raw and precious metals like bare aluminum, gold and silver. I have a full review and in depth look at the infrared module if you want to learn more.
Software. xTool has their own proprietary software called xTool Creative Space or XCS. It’s incredibly user friendly and very easy to learn. I appreciate that xTool is always updating it and taking feedback from users to ensure to best experience.
You are able to use the design elements within the software and you can upload you own graphics and designs. If you are looking for design files with a commercial license check out Creative Fabrica for a ton of options.
xTool bundles and accessories
The S1 includes either the 40W or 20W laser head, the complete enclosure, a vent hose, and a few test materials. There are a number of items you can add on to this basic package. You can opt to purchase them initially as part of a bundle and save, or you can buy them individually later on. The S1 40W basic kit additionally includes the honeycomb base and air assist.
You have the ability to raise up this entire machine so that you can engrave taller or longer items. The riser base is needed for taller projects and to work with the rotary accessory or conveyor.
The rotary tool is the same model that is compatible with other machines. Learn how to engrave tumblers using the RA2 Pro. The conveyor allows you to slide long pieces of wood through your machine to create large projects.
The smoke purifier is ideal if you don’t plan to vent this out a window. There is also a fire safety kit that works alongside the existing safety measures within the machine to detect and extinguish fires.
Is the xTool S1 right for you?
We’ve looked at all the features and capabilities of this laser. Now the big question, is this right for you?
This is an expensive machine, it’s not the best option for a casual crafter. If that is you, check out the M1. This machine is a workhorse with a large laser bed, lots of accessories and powerful interchangeable laser modules. If you have a small business selling handmade items this machine can work for you.
A few items to make and sell with the xTool S1
- Decorative signs of all sizes
- Coasters made from slate, wood or ceramic
- Jewelry made from acrylic, wood, stone and leather
- Cutting boards
- 3D items like phone holders, jewelry stands, key holders and boxes
These are a just a few ideas, take a look at the xTool project page for more inspiration.
For the most up to date pricing and deals, check out the xTool product page. Current regular price for the 40W laser is $2499.99, but there is always some type of deal going on. I highly recommend looking at the bundles to get the most bang for your buck.
Stay tuned for more projects and tutorials on the xTool S1 and find lots of existing laser videos on my YouTube channel.
Thanks for visiting!