Jtech for shapeoko 3 xl. Thinking of getting it

My shapeoko 3XL is about 6 months old and I’m thinking of getting the Jtech 2.8 watt laser. Is it pretty straightforward to install and operate? Completely new to the idea of laser cutters and could use some help! I’m looking to do engravings on wood and to do some cutting for inlays if that’s possible without burning the top edges to a crisp. ( I have a drum sander though, so I imagine that wouldn’t be a large issue unless the burns go really deep on the edges??) I’m way more of a woodworker than a CNC guy though, hence the drum sander lol. Still very new to all of this, but very excited at the thought of adding a laser to my arsenal, so any input/help is greatly appreciated!!!


PS: I use fusion 360 for all of my design and CAM stuff, but also use inkscape a bit for creating bitmap traces and such. i’ve heard inkscape has something to generate gcode for laser cutters like the jtech one, but i haven’t looked into it a lot, so if any of you have experience with that, i’d also like to hear your experiences and opinions! Thanks again for any help!

Before investing in a laser, my suggestion would be to push the CNC router aspect as far as you can first — V carving w/ a 60 or 45 degree endmill can be very detailed.

Some folks are very pleased w/ the laser cutters/engravers and there’s a fair bit on them here in the forums, and the wiki: https://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/Laser_Cutter

Thanks for the advice Will! I’m looking to use it to accurately do woodburnings as well instead of using the tool that takes a long time and is only as accurate as your hands are. Are there any tutorial articles or videos on how to program the gcode using fusion 360?

I have and use a 2 watt L-Cheapo diode laser that I bought for my SeeMeCNC 3D printer a few years ago. I’ve adapted it to my S3. I was able to cut 1/8" red acrylic with about 10-15 passes. However, I rarely use it for cutting anymore since routing makes sence 99% percent of the time. I only use it for wood engravings now. Well, I do cut foam with it too. Can’t route that.

I will say that using it with Inkscape and Fusion 360 is a real pain in the ass. My favorite and most reliable method to produce usable gcode is Vectric Vcarve Desktop. I even think Jtech has a complete how to for it. Vcarve is a little pricy but worth every bit the money. It even rivals Fusion 360 for 2.5D and 3D routing\milling.

Anyway, I have a Vcarve template already to go. All I have to do is import or draw my artwork, pick either hatch mode or outline mode and post process. Simple.