AlgoLaser is a brand-new company founded by industry veterans with the goal of creating a great laser engraver that is reliable and powerful while still being affordable. Let’s see if they succeed. Is the AlgoLaser Alpha a good laser engraver?
The AlgoLaser Alpha is a great laser engraver that can cut various materials including wood up to a thickness of 12 mm in one pass, black acrylic up to a thickness of 45mm, leather, paper, and more. It can also engrave metal, wood, acrylic, leather, and more effortlessly.
This machine is quite impressive and feels sturdy and high quality. I recommend this machine to anyone who needs a reliable laser engraver that is used frequently.
Especially small business owners and patinate makers will find the AlgoLaser Alpha very useful.
|Heavy duty cales||Not enclosed|
|Sturdy frame||A base has to be buyed separately|
|Great engraving quality|
|Integrated distance gauge|
|Fast engraving and cutting|
They also have a special offer right now where the first 10 orders get one year of LightBurn and a honeycomb cutting surface as a gift and the first 300 orders get a honeycomb cutting surface for free. Read more about that special offer right here.
Watch my full review video right here!
The base features of the Alpha are:
- Great cutting capabilities
- Fast engraving
- 400 x 400 mm cutting area
- Active air assist
- Emergency stop button
- Sturdy metal frame
- Wifi connectivity
- Heavy duty cables
- COS technology for better performance
- Air Pump can adjust automatically
AlgoLaser claims that the Alpha has a very finely focused laser which enhances the cutting and engraving capabilities of the laser engraver. They achieve this by utilizing the second generation of COS technologies you can read more about that on their website.
And while I can’t prove that claim I have noticed that the Alpha can cut wood and acrylic much faster than other 22-watt laser engravers. For example, the Sculpfun S30 Ultra can cut a 4 mm wood board with a speed of 3 mm/s while the Alpha can cut the same type of wood with just 5 mm/s.
But more on that later, let’s first take a look at the setup and packaging of the Alpha.
Setup and Packaging
The machine is nicely packaged with an ample amount of protective foam.
The Alpha comes with:
- An illustrated manual
- Protective glasses
- Some cable ties for cable management
- A small brush
- A test piece of black acrylic
- A test piece of 8 mm thick wood
- A test piece of 3 mm MDF
- A test piece of 0.1 mm stainless steel
- Three test pieces of steel for engraving
- A small toolbox with tools and screws for assembly
Assembling the Alpha was pretty easy especially because of the instructions.
The only thing that slightly annoyed me were the preinstalled cables that can’t be unplugged. So you have to awkwardly assemble the Alpha with the preinstalled cables permanently getting in your way.
Connecting the tool head cables to the main board is a little finicky but I am nitpicking at this point.
I had, however, a major issue with getting the alpha to run at first. The machine would start up and when it tried to home the y-axis it would do a horrible sound. I quite quickly discovered that the tool head could not reach the limit switch on the y-axis because a screw was in the way.
AlgoLaser clarified that I was the only one so far who had this issue but I still want to mention it here. It was very easy to fix as all I had to do to fix the issue was remove the screw and put it in its correct place.
It took me about 30 minutes to get the Alpha operational.
However, the Alpha did not come with a surface to cut on. I simply put a large steel plate under the Alpha but that is not the best solution (more on that later).
The engraving quality of the Alpha is really good and quite fast.
I tested the engraving capabilities of the Alpha on wood and metal. But the Alpha can also engrave dark acrylic, leather, rubber, glass, and more.
To test the Alpha I designed and made this sign made out of wood and veneer with the Alpha. And, as you can see, the quality of the engraving is quite impressive.
And here is an example of engraved metal.
You can also engrave stainless steel with different laser intervals to oxidize the metal. The different intervals will change the amount by which the stainless steel oxidizes resulting in different colors.
This method of engraving stainless steel will allow you to engrave metal in a lot of different colors. You can see an example of this down below.
You will need to do some testing, as you can see above, to find out the right settings for each color. But once you do, you can do some very interesting projects with this.
You can test the settings by setting up a matrix of squares and then changing the interval and power at which each square is engraved.
Then you can choose the right settings to engrave a piece of stainless steel in many different colors.
The cutting power is also superior to other 22-watt laser engravers.
I tried cutting this 9.4 mm thick piece of wood and I was able to cut it in two passes. But I think I would have been easily able to cut it in one pass too.
It is also possible to cut leather, black acrylic, paper, foam, rubber, and more.
AlgoLaser claims that it is possible to cut 0.1 mm thick stainless steel with the Alpha as well but I was not able to cleanly cut stainless steel in my tests as you can see down below.
I want to make clear that it is possible to cut stainless steel with the Alpha but the metal will deform and as such the cut will not be clean.
Active Air Assist
The active air assist is great if you want clean cuts. Air will be blown directly under the tool head which will help to keep cuts clean.
And while the air assist works great for the top part of the piece that you are cutting with the laser, the bottom will still be quite dirty unless you cut the workpiece on a honeycomb surface.
Here is a piece I cut out of wood with the active air assist on.
And here is the back side of the same piece.
As you can see, it is quite dirty as the smoke gets trapped under the workpiece resulting in an unclean cut at the bottom.
This can be fixed if you cut on a surface that allows ample airflow at the bottom of the workpiece. Something like a honeycomb cutting surface for laser engravers.
These honeycomb cutting surfaces can be bought separately but I would have liked to see at least some kind of cutting surface that comes with the Alpha.
AlgoLaser also has an app that can be used to control the laser directly and start simple engraving and cutting operations.
There is a library of designs that can be used but it is also possible to choose your own images from your phone to engrave and cut.
The App is a great way for people who are new to laser engraving to get their first few projects done but I highly recommend using a third-party software like Lightburn for more complex projects as it offers much more functionality.
Finally, there are some safety issues with open laser engraver designs that I want to mention here.
A laser engraver that is not enclosed can cause damage to your eyes if you don’t wear eye protection when operating it. Wearing eye protection is required during the whole time the laser engraver is turned on.
AlgoLaser does provide protective glasses that come with the Alpha for this reason.
When cutting or engraving with an open laser engraver it is absolutely necessary to keep all doors and windows closed and covered to ensure that no one accidentally gets exposed to the laser while the laser engraver is working.
The laser should also only be operated in a well-ventilated area or while wearing a protective FFP2 mask to protect yourself from possibly harmful fumes that are produced from cutting and engraving different materials.
Hi, I am a passionate maker and professional prop maker for the entertainment industry. I use my woodworking, programming, electronics, and illustration know-how to create interactive props and puzzles for Escape Games and marketing agencies. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.