Packaging: The unit arrived extremely well packed. All the parts and accessories were tucked neatly into a foam enclosure with double stacked pieces like the side rails separated with additional foam. A desiccant pack and extra sturdy corner protectors were also found, adding to the already substantial packaging.
The X7 Pro has some very interesting new features. The easiest to see is the new controller with its touchscreen interface. The new controller has an E-stop (emergency stop), power and reset switch. It also has an SD card slot and the USB and power connectors. The SD slot allows you to save laser gcode files to the SD card and keep them local to the laser. This allows you to run laser jobs in a standalone mode. There’s no need to have a computer attached to the laser when you run it this way. There is a software update scheduled for December of 2021 that will allow connectivity over local WiFi but it wasn’t available at the time of this posting. A second enhancement to the X7 Pro is the new dual beam laser head. The dual beam makes this head a 10-11w total optical power head compared to the 5.5w heads I’ve reviewed in the past including the Atomstack A5 Pro. The 10-11w optical output is achieved by combining 2 standard 5.5w laser diodes. This is done using a mirror. One laser is pointed straight down and the other is at 90 degrees or parallel to the work surface. With the mirror, these two beams combine. The picture I included in the photo gallery should help explain this better. Needless to say, 10-11w is better than 5.5w. It allows much faster cutting and engraving as well as opening up more choices in materials. I was able to actually etch grade 5 Titanium. Pretty impressive. Atomstack offers a kit that allows you to double the lasers work area. The kit replaces some of the frame members allowing you to stretch the machine out to a 410x800mm work area for those bigger projects. There is also a rotary option if you need to engrave round objects.
Safety: The manual also covers the very important aspects of safety and they can’t be repeated enough. Though small, this is a laser that can cause serious damage. Read and follow all the safety warnings. As a basic rule, don’t look at the laser light at all, make sure what you’re cutting won’t give off toxic fumes (like PVC, ABS, Epoxies, etc.), Use only in an extremely well ventilated space and don’t stare at the beam. Safety is your responsibility… you have been warned.
Fume Extraction: I setup a basic fume extraction system with an 6″ inline fan, some 6″ ducting and a 6″ blast gate. I created a simple enclosure with some 24×36 inch sheets of corrugated plastic. I was pleased with how well it works. The fan pulls from the enclosure and vents to the outside. the blast gate is used to allow fresh air in from the outside (well away from the exhaust) so that the fan has the ability to pull freely.
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Laser engraving is a popular option that provides a permanent and legible marking on an object through etching, ablation, or deep laser engraving. It is similar to laser marking, but the resulting appearance differs due to the depth of laser penetration.
Laser engraving is commonly used to create permanent serial markings on substrates made of: Metal, Wood, Plastic, Leather.
Benefits Of Laser Engraving Over Traditional Processes
Compared to manual engraving:
Minimally Invasive: Laser engraving can be performed at a range of depths without any direct contact at all. Surface marks can even be done on stainless steel with no depth. Overall, lasers are less damaging than manual engraving and keep the substrate material’s physical integrity intact.
Precise: Lasers provide a level of control that’s impossible to achieve manually. Compared to hand-engraving, the process is swift, clean, and highly repeatable, with little room for human error.
Versatile: A single laser engraving machine can be used to create a host of different designs with only minimal calibration. They can also produce exceptionally complex patterns.
Affordable: On average, laser devices last longer than other engraving machines and require less maintenance, resulting in savings that can be passed along to the consumer.
Fast: Lasers can be programmed to render virtually any design in a matter of moments. Because the process is automated, it’s easy to scale production runs as needed according to demand.
Long-Lasting: Laser-engraved designs are permanent but can wear over time, depending on the substrate material that’s used. Soft metals, for example, may experience more signs of wear than hardwood. In general, however, laser-engraved designs tend to have a longer lifespan compared to other engraving methods.