xTool S1 Review. A Very Capeable and Safe Printer.

Table of Contents

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The xTool S1 is an enclosed diode laser with many interesting and helpful features. The S1 can be expanded with several modules like a honeycomb panel, an air purifier, an automatic feeder to engrave long objects, a rotary tool to engrave round objects, and more.

I tested the S1 for over 100 hours by engraving various materials and I used it to build a treasure chest out of MDF wood. In this article, I will share my experiences with the machine.

The S1 was provided to me by xTool for free.

ProsCons
Very quick and easy to set upDoes not come with a honeycomb laser surface
Fully enclosedCan´t cut transparent materials such as transparent acryl. A CO2 laser is required for that such as the x-Tool P2.
Lots of safety features
Automatic focus
Adaptive focus for uneven objects
Pinpoint positioning
Lots of accessories and extra modules
Very effective smoke exhaust
Great custom software (no need for Lightburn)


The S1 diode laser is a robust and dependable machine that impresses with its safety and user-friendly features. Its versatility is enhanced by numerous available extensions. The xTool controller software, provided free of charge for their machines, adds to the S1’s appeal for beginners. With excellent cutting capabilities and impressive engraving performance, the S1 is a reliable and versatile choice.

Cutting Quality
90%
Laser strength
80%
Engraving Quality
85%
Speed
65%
Build Quality
95%
Safety
90%
Price
70%

Check out the S1 on the official xTool website. And the before-mentioned P2 (CO2 Laser) from xTool.

xTool S1 Specs

The xTool S1 is available as a 20 W or 40 W version. In this article, I will review the 20W version. You can see the differences below.

SpecsxTool S1 40WxTool S1 20W
Laser Power40W20W
Spot Size0.08 x 0.10mm0.08 x 0.06mm
Working Speed600mm/s600mm/s
Working Area498 x 319mm
19.61 x 12.56inches
498 x 330mm
19.61 x 13inches
Output Voltage25V 11A24V 8A
Connection WayUSB / Wi-FiUSB / Wi-Fi
Supported SystemsAndroid & iOS
Windows 10 or above & macOS
Android & iOS
Windows 10 or above & macOS
SoftwarexTool´s Software / LightburnxTool´s Software / Lightburn
Support fileSVG / DXF / JPG / JPEG / PNG / BMP / TIFSVG / DXF / JPG / JPEG / PNG / BMP / TIF
Machine size765 x 561 x 183mm (excluding riser base)
765 x 561 x 268mm (including riser base)
765 x 561 x 183mm (excluding riser base)
765 x 561 x 268mm (including riser base)

Features

Let´s take a look at the major features of the S1.

20W or 40W?

The S1 is available with a 20 W laser head or a 40 W laser head. The biggest difference between 20W and 40W is the cutting power, engraving speed, and accuracy. 20 W diode lasers have a smaller laser focus area than a 40 W laser while a 40 W laser can engrave faster and cut thicker materials.

The difference in laser dot size (how small the laser dot is at the focus distance) is very small and you will barely see a difference. I personally think that a 20W diode laser is more than enough but the choice is up to you and depends on your use case.

Working Area

The S1 comes with several small triangular metal parts that can be used as a cutting surface. They allow an ample amount of airflow underneath the workpiece to ensure clean cuts.

xTool also sells honeycomb panels separately and I highly recommend getting one. In my opinion, the S1 should come with a honeycomb panel to begin with because the triangular metal parts are a little annoying to use.

They keep moving when you place a workpiece on them and some smaller pieces can´t be cut with them as they will simply fall through.

Other than that, the work area is quite big with 498 x 330 mm, and can be extended to over 3 meters on one axis with the automatic material feeder.

Pinpoint Positioning

The pinpoint positioning is a feature that allows you to track the dimensions of the workpiece very accurately.

It works like this.

First, you activate the feature in their software. The S1 will beep, indicating that it is ready, and some instructions will appear on the PC screen.

Now, you can move the laser head to one corner of the piece. The movement of the laser head is tracked in real-time.

Next, you press the button on the laser and you will hear a beep that tells you that the first point is saved.

Finally, repeat the process until every corner of the piece or the area that you want to engrave is tracked. The software will connect the dots and show you the area in the software. Now you can add any design, place it inside the area and the laser will accurately cut or engrave the area.

As you can see, this feature works really well and allowed me to cut this design out of some spare material. Something that would have been really difficult to do without this feature.

Dynamic Focus and Autofocus

The S1 also has a sensor for measuring the distance from the laser head to the workpiece. This sensor allows you to easily focus the laser perfectly with one simple click of a button.

The sensor will engage, the laser head will move down until it senses the workpiece, and then the laser head will disengage the sensor again. The correct value will be saved in the software and you are ready to use the laser.

This is a very smart way of measuring the distance and allows the S1 to do something like the dynamic focus. The dynamic focus will probe the workpiece in a mesh, as you can see below, and save the depth to each point.

This will allow the laser head to move up and down accordingly during engraving to ensure that the laser is always in focus. This feature allows you to engrave uneven or bent materials. It has its limits though, like the depth and the speed (capped at 30) at which it can engrave.

Connectivity

The S1 can be connected via USB and Wifi. I connected the S1 via Wifi and had no connectivity issues. Connecting the laser to my Wifi was very easy and straightforward.

You can also track the position of the laser head in real-time in the software via Wifi.

If you don´t want to connect the laser to your Wifi, you can also connect it via USB to your PC.
The USB connection allows you to use Lightburn instead of the official xTool software, too.

But I honestly recommend the official xTool software because it supports all of the features of the S1 and it is free!

The Software

The official software from xTool is called “xTool Creative Space”. It can be downloaded and used for free and is used to control your laser engraver. It supports SVG, DXF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIF, and allows you to use all of the features of your laser engraver as well as a whole bunch of useful presets.

Most other laser engravers would require you to use Lightburn in order to control them properly and if they have custom software for their machine then it usually isn´t great or lacks features that Lightburn has.

This is actually the first time that I prefer the custom software over Lightburn. “xTool Creative Space” is easy to use, intuitive, has many features, connects easily to their machines via WiFi or USB, and has a lot of helpful presets for many different materials.

It also runs very stable on my PC and the software is available for Mac, IOS, and Android.

Packaging and Setup

The S1 is overall very well packaged and incredibly quick to set up. It comes mostly assembled and only requires you to attach the laser head and remove some easily accessible screws inside the laser that keep the x-axis fixed during transportation.

The S1 and all the upgrades come with the required tools and screws for assembly as well as a nicely illustrated manual that will show you how to assemble and use the machine.

In total, it took me roughly 15 minutes to get the machine operational.

The USB Key

There is a little USB stick that needs to be inserted into the back of the laser engraver. This USB stick is a key that needs to be inserted into the laser for the machine to work.

This is another safety feature that can ensure that only certain people are allowed to operate the machine. The S1 comes with two USB keys.

Cutting Ability

The cutting ability of the S1 is very good. It can cut 10 mm thick wood in one pass with ease. It can cut MDF, black acrylic, paper, leather, and similar materials. The cuts are clean right out of the box but the active air assist and a honeycomb panel can improve that further.

The automatic focus feature makes the cutting process very easy as it ensures that the focus is always set at the perfect distance.

I always like to test a machine by using it for a project. For the S1, I decided to make a box for a live escape game, that I am working on currently.

I cut all of the parts for the box out of 3mm MDF. It took a total of 1,5 hours to cut all of the parts for the box. The S1 consistently and reliably cut all of the parts cleanly without any issues.

I was able to easily assemble all of the parts. Here is the final result after painting it.

Engraving Quality

The engraving quality of the S1 is really good, although the speed is a little lacking, as is the case with most diode lasers.

I tested the engraving quality by engraving an image with very high contrast and fine detail in the darkest parts to test the engraving quality of the S1. I chose to engrave on some birch plywood because it burns quite dark when engraved.

The first attempt was a failure, as you can see right here, but after dialing in the settings the finished result turned out quite well.

There were no visible steps in the lines and the cut-off at the edge of the image was very clean.

Safety Features

The S1 is very safe. It comes fully enclosed, and has a built-in exhaust system, fire detection, an emergency stop button, and a sensor that detects if the lid is open or not.

The S1 is easily the safest diode laser I ever reviewed. Most other diode lasers are open and, aside from maybe a stop button, lack any safety features.

Additionally, an active smoke purifier can be bought to purify the exhaust allowing you to use the S1 inside without the need to direct the smoke outside.

How Noisy is the S1?

The S1 is surprisingly silent. On average its noise levels are between 55 dB and 65 dB during operation. Which is a little louder than a normal conversation. This gets a lot louder, to about 75 dB when the air purifier is in use.

Accessories

There are a lot of accessories available for the S1. In the following, I will cover most of them. You can find more information and the prices of the accessories on the official xTool website.

Honeycomb Panel

A honeycomb panel allows better airflow underneath the workpiece which results in cleaner cuts on the bottom side of the workpiece.

I personally prefer the honeycomb panel over the out-of-the-box solution of the S1 with the metal triangles. But even though I prefer the honeycomb panel and highly recommend getting one I also have to admit that it is not a necessary upgrade. It will make your life a little easier though!

The honeycomb panel can simply be placed inside the S1 and will replace the triangle metal pieces that come with the machine.

Smart Air Assist

The smart air assist will blow air right underneath the laser head to ensure clean cuts. The air assist will ensure that the top part of the workpiece is cut cleaner without any smoke or burn marks.

I can highly recommend this accessory as well if you are struggling with getting clean cuts without burn marks. That being said, if you mainly plan on cutting materials like leather, acrylic, or similar then a smart air assist won´t make much sense.

If you plan on cutting a lot of wood or MDF, however, then the smart air assist might be a good investment for you.

The smart air assist is easy to install. It only needs to be hooked up to the back of the S1 with a USB cable and the hose needs to be connected to the back of the S1. The S1 will automatically register that the air assist is installed and use it in the future.

RA2 Pro Rotary Engraver Tool

The RA2 Pro Rotary Engraver is a rotary tool that can be hooked up to the S1 and will enable you to engrave round objects. The rotary tool comes with several accessories that will allow you to engrave all shapes and sizes of round objects including rings, bottles, round stock, and more.

This accessory is highly situational and only makes sense if you plan on engraving a lot of round objects. The S1 can engrave round objects right out of the box using the automatic focus, as described earlier in this article, but the RA2 Pro will allow you to engrave designs on all sides in one go.

Riser Base

The riser base is a really useful upgrade if you need to engrave all kinds of items including taller objects. You might also need the riser base when you want to use the RA2 Pro Rotary Engraver to engrave bigger round items.

This upgrade is also quite situational. It doesn´t make that much sense for me personally as I mostly cut and engrave thin materials but if you need to frequently engrave big objects then this might be an option for you.

The riser base is very easy to install as well. All you have to do is remove the bottom of the S1 and mount it to the riser base. Then place the S1 on top of the Riser Base and screw them together.

Smoke Purifier

The smoke purifier can be hooked up to the exhaust of the S1 to purify the air from any harmful particles and it even reduces the smell by quite a bit.

The smoke purifier has three layers of filtration. The top layer will remove some particles and can be cleaned by hand. The second layer filters 99.9% of the remaining particles and the final filter is an active carbon filter.

All of these filters can be replaced easily. The smoke purifier comes with a replacement filter for the top layer.

xTool Delivery Time and Buying Experience

I bought the smoke purifier from their shop to test the buying experience.

I bought the smoke purifier on a Monday. The shop is easy to navigate but there are some annoying popups on their site. The checkout process was straightforward and easy.

I got the confirmation e-mail almost instantly and my package was shipped the next day. A tracking code was provided with a follow-up e-mail. I live in Germany and the package arrived after only 3 days.

Overall, it was a pretty seamless shopping experience. The only slightly annoying thing is the popups on their website that are a little too disruptive, in my opinion.

Valentin
Valentin
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.

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