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My xTool S1 Review

The xTool S1 is the world’s first 40W enclosed diode laser cutting machine, and man am I excited to get my hands on it to review! This full xTool S1 review post provides everything you need to know about the machine, including comparisons to some other machines I use. xTool sent me the machine to review for this post.

My full xTool S1 review…is it worth it?

Hey all! Today I have another laser cutting machine review. I have been really enjoying working with different xTool machines and experimenting with what projects are the best for each machine’s capabilities.

My first review post was on the xTool M1, which is a diode laser machine like the S1. But my M1 machine is a 10W machine, while the S1 is a 40W machine. You can see my full xTool M1 review post here.

Later the fine folks at xTool also sent me a P2 CO2 laser cutting machine to review. And wow! That bad thing is seriously powerful. And it can do some things the diode laser cutting machine can’t. See my full xTool P2 machine review post here.

inside of an xtool S1 with honeycomb panel

xTool S1 Overview

Not a big reader? That’s ok! Below is a condensed list that outlines the high-level points I discuss in this article.

  • High Power: The xTool S1 offers 40W of power, making it capable of cutting a wide range of materials, including wood, metal, acrylic, and more.
  • Expandability: The machine is compatible with interchangeable laser modules, including a 2W 1064nm laser and a 20W laser module, allowing for flexibility in your projects.
  • Speed: The S1 has a fast cutting speed of 600mm/s.
  • Pin-point Positioning: Supports multiple shapes (circles, rectangles, polygons, lines) and enables precise, distortion-free positioning and auto-snapping without a camera; supports marking multiple objects in one pass.
  • Full-Scene Autofocus: The S1 features a full-scene autofocus system with an Intelligence Focus System for high-precision ranging and automated 3D object modeling.
  • Compatibility with Additional Tools: The machine can be expanded with accessories like an automatic conveyor feeder, rotary attachment, riser base, and honeycomb panel.
  • Software Compatibility: The S1 is compatible with Lightburn software.
  • Versatile File Support: It supports various file formats, including SVG, DXF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, BMP, and TIF.
  • Safety Features: The fully enclosed, fire-resistant shell design, along with the flame sensor system and emergency stop features, ensures a high level of safety during operation.
40W laser module on an xtool S1

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So what is the xTool S1?

Alright, let’s jump in to my xTool S1 review! The xTool S1 is the world’s first 40W enclosed diode laser cutting machine. xTool’s other main diode laser cutting machines include the M1, which I mentioned above, the F1, and the D1.

The F1 is a really neat little machine that comes with a 10W diode laser and a 2W infrared laser. It’s also small—it has a small workspace, but it can still do a lot. And it is designed to be portable.

The D1 is also a great machine that comes in a 10W and a 20W option. There are less bells and whistles on it when comparing it to some of the other cutters—for example, manual focus instead of autofocus. But it is a real workhorse. 

The xTool S1 combines many of the pros you’ll see outlined for the other diode laser cutting machines into one machine. And it is expandable—there are various laser modules and an expansive suite of accessories you can add on.

glowing green top of an xtool S1 laser machine

Why do I want a 40W machine?

When I first started learning about laser machines, I was really overwhelmed by information about wattage. Is more always better? What does it mean? It was like telling me I scored an 80 on a test…not bad if it’s out of 100 points, but very bad if it’s out of 200 points!

The truth is, you may not want a machine with more power. You’ll pay more, and if you don’t need it for the projects you want to make, it’s not worth it. So let’s talk about it.

As I mentioned the S1 is the first 40W enclosed diode laser on the market. It achieves this by having eight 5.5W lasers that are compressed to achieve 40W. This level of power is comparable to a CO2 laser machine, which is the gold standard for power.

The 40W of power is capable of cutting up to 20mm thick pine and 15mm basswood plywood. It can also cut up to .1mm thick stainless steel metal and 15mm thick black acrylic.

The S1 also comes interchangable laser modules, which is pretty neat. In addition to the 40W laser, you can switch to a 1064nm (2W) laser module.

So, the machine has up to 40W of power, which is great for cutting materials. But you may choose to use a lower wattage for engraving. I’ve recently gotten into the groove of cutting with my P2 and engraving with my M1.

40W laser module on an xtool S1

Want more? Check out my post about Make a Fairy Garden With a Laser Cutter, my review of 4 Things to Laser Engrave From Ikea, and my tips for How to Make a Puzzle With xTool!

How fast is it?

There’s power, but then there’s also speed. And this puppy is fast! It has stable performance at 600mm/s, which you can compare to the D1’s 400mm/s speed. 

What are the safety features?

I take safety very seriously with these machines—you know that saying, with great power comes great responsibility. So, first off, always keep a fire extinguisher handy in case of emergencies.

Right off the bat, I prefer enclosed machines. The xTool S1 has a full enclosed, fire-resistant shell design that ensures no laser leakage. You can see through the cover, but it offers great filtering capabilities.

That means you don’t need to wear protective glasses when working on a design and looking down into the machine. Part of the fun is watching the process—and monitoring for issues—so I like the enclosed design with a transparent top.

Like other machines, the S1 also has a powerful built-in smoke exhaust. There are a few options for exhausting these machines—out a window or into a smoke purifier machine are the easiest. I also like to drag my M1 outside sometimes and work in the open air.

The S1 has omni-directional flame detection through its flame sensor system, as well as sensors that trigger an emergency stop when opening the machine. This prevents laser leaks.

These features are in addition to tilt/impact detection, meaning the machine will automatically stop when the unit is disturbed, and an emergency stop button.

cutting pieces of wood on an xtool S1

Does the xTool S1 have a live view camera?

No, the S1 does not have a live view camera like the M1 and P2 machines do. Instead, it has a Pin-point Positioning System that supports multiple shapes including circles, rectangles, polygons, and lines. I’ll admit that this was kind of hard to wrap my head around without seeing it.

Basically, the machine uses a coordinate-like system that easily and accurately places patterns in the materials processing range. If you’re like I was, you might be thinking that this is inferior to a live view camera.

But it isn’t. It enables precise positioning and auto-snapping—without a camera but better than a camera. It also supports marking multiple objects in one pass, freeing you from jigs and boosting processing efficiency.

It’s just a bit more of a learning curve. Once you do a few projects, it will become second nature. That’s because camera systems can be vulnerable to distortion issues, which I’ve seen firsthand on some projects.

The first time using a system like this can be overwhelming, but the system walks you through it pretty easily. For my first project, I just manually moved the laser head to the top-left corner of my material, pushed the button to record that, and then moved the laser head to the bottom-right corner.

This then creates a box on your workspace in xTool Creative Space, which you can place your items between. Here are a few screen captures of that process. The first image is after I’d set the parameters. In the second image, you can see it created a green box where I could place my pieces to cut.

screenshot of xtool creative space while marking the processing area
screenshot of xtool creative space after marking the processing area
cutting pieces of wood on an xtool S1

Is it a manual or autofocus system?

The S1 has a full-scene autofocus system. It also uses an “Intelligence Focus System,” which enables multipoint high-precision ranging and automated 3D object modeling. In other words, it adjusts in real time to ensure meticulous precision. 

What additional tools is the S1 compatible with?

One of the things I appreciate about xTool’s machine is that you can kind of decide what you want after getting the base machine. For example, you can get the S1 and the S1 only. Do some projects, and then maybe decide you want to get into other things.

That might mean larger projects. The xTool S1 features an automatic conveyor feeder that extends the processing dimensions from 498mm by 330mm to 498mm by 3000mm. Note that this must be used with the S1 riser base.

You might also be into rotary engraving—for example, engraving things like tumblers, mugs, and rings. You can get the RA2 Pro rotary attachment (and use it with the riser base) to add this feature into your crafting arsenal.

And I mentioned the riser base—this can be used on its own, too. For example, you may use it to engrave a larger project. Adding it to your machine lets you engrave objects of up to 125mm tall.

One note—you might notice two types of riser bases. One type is sold in Europe and the UK and complies with Class I laser safety. The other is sold elsewhere, complies with class 4 laser safety, and can be used with the automatic conveyor feeder. 

The honeycomb panel is available for most of the xTool machines. This piece is basically a grid-like honeycomb design that you put your projects on while cutting or engraving. Doing so helps to provide neater and cleaner cuts because the design helps with heat dissipation. 

Finally there’s the smart air-assist, which automatically adjusts the size of the air flow according to your project’s processing status; the smoke purifier, which I have and use often; and the additional fire safety set.

xtool S1 air assist box
laser marking on a piece of wood

Is xTool compatible with Lightburn?

Yes, the S1 is compatible with Lightburn. However, I am not a Lightburn user, so I can’t speak to the experience using it with the S1 machine.

According to xTool, LightBurn supports basic processing functions such as focusing, framing, and flat and rotary attachment processing. Features such as real-time laser module positioning, material area measurement, and curved surface mode are not supported by LightBurn. 

xTool S1 specifications rundown

Here are a few other things you might want to know about the S1 before buying it!

  • Working area: 498mm by 319mm (470mm by 3000mm with the automatic conveyor feeder)
  • Machine size: 765mm by 56mm by 183mm (765mm by 561mm by 268mm with the riser base)
  • Connection method: USB or WiFi
  • File types supported: SVG, DXF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIF

Want an S1? xTool is running a promotion until 10/31! If you order by then, you’ll get a free air assist worth $169 and a honeycomb accessory also valued at $169!

positioning the laser module on an xTool S1 to mark the processing space

My first two S1 projects…

I really dove right in testing this machine. We set it up, and I had files ready to go. I was able to connect without issues, but there weren’t yet preloaded settings in xTool Creative Space. That meant I had some playing around to do.

I started off with the power and speed settings I’d use on my 10W M1 machine, but I increased the power. Then I just played around with them until I achieved the result I was looking for.

DIY test tube propagation stand

The first project was a DIY test tube propagation station. I modeled this piece after a similar test tube propagation station I made years ago! And it turned out great. I’ll have the files for this project up in their own post soon, too.

You can see a fair bit of scorching on the wood here, but keep in mind that this was my very first project, and I was playing around with the settings. You could easily sand this off—but I knew I would be painting this dark green.

DIY test tube propagation station cut on an xtool S1
DIY test tube propagation station cut on an xtool S1
DIY test tube propagation station cut on an xtool S1
woman holding a DIY test tube propagation station cut on an xtool S1

Modern tea light candle holder

And the second project was a pretty little modern tea light candle holder. I grabbed this file off Etsy and was very happy with how quickly the S1 cut all of the many pieces out. Gluing them together manually took much more time!

I found the scorching to be a bit less on this second project. I kept the power at 100%, but I increased the speed and did it a second pass. Definitely more to come on playing around with these settings.

cutting pieces of basswood on an xtool
cutting pieces of wood on an xtool S1
tea light candle holder made using an xtool S1 machine
tea light candle holder made using an xtool S1 machine
candle holder made using an xtool S1 machine on a table with plants

Pin my xTool S1 review post!

collage that says xtool S1 laser machine review and two projects with pictures of the machine

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