Laser information

Good afternoon,
This is sort of unrelated to Carbide 3D and Shapeoko. I’m looking at buying a laser / engraver and well… it is a bit overwhelming. I know a lot of people on here use lasers and 3D printers (of course CNC’s). I respect the members opinion. Everyone seems to be as helpful as they can.

I’m wondering about buying an add-on laser for my Shapeoko, (J Tech seems to be common), but I’m also wondering about a seperate dedicated laser as well. Floor space isn’t a big concern for me, and I know a dedicated laser will cost a little more. Does anyone have any input regarding this? Has anyone bought a J Tech add-on laser and then later wished they had bought a seperate dedicated laser, or vice versa?

I’ve been looking at this xTool 20W model. They must have a great advertising department, because I don’t see a lot of negatives about their tools. I can’t believe the only reviews are positive. The old adage, “too good to be true”, type thinking. Does anyone have experience with xTool? I like the fact that they offer a fixture to engrave on cylindrical items.

Also, I know higher wattage means a stronger and faster laser, but I’m trying to keep focus on what I’m really going to use a laser for. No, I don’t have intentions of cutting steel and such, or cutting thick wood. Is cutting 9 to 10mm (½") wood a lot for a laser?.. is cutting ¾" a lot? My intention is to mainly cut thin stock, ⅛", ¼"

I’ve been doing research and reading a lot, but cutting 9mm of wood, maybe a laser says they can cut this, but will it severely shorten the life of the laser? Are CO² lasers better? What about Diode lasers? This xTool has 4 diodes that all work together to create the beam. Their literature says these codes are cheaper to replace, am I going to be constantly replacing them?

Anyway, I just have so, so many questions. I’m just trying to figure this out so I don’t buy something I will be disappointed with. Thank you in advance if you have any input!


I’ll be following this thread, as I have a Jtech laser module on my Shapeoko that is perfect for engraving, but cutting through stuff efficiently is a very different matter and I have been looking at the 20W xTool machines too. The #1 blocker for me is efficient smoke management, so I know I want a laser with an enclosure and a pump to suck the smoke out and through the window of my garage. What I can’t decide is whether I could somehow manage to mount a high power laser to my Shapeoko AND manage smoke evacuation too. It seems really silly to me to be paying for another XY gantry (and spend the associated footprintin my garage) when I have a CNC already. I know people have made all sorts of smoke shoes, so if I can convince myself that I could make an efficient one, I will probably go the add-on way like I have been doing with the Jtech. It would also be vastly less expensive, as from what I can see a DECENT enclosed laser cutter is in the $3-4K ballpark


One thing to keep in mind is what the company advertises as “wattage” can vary.

I have an Ortur Laser Master 2 and a JTech 7W. Most of the overseas lasers rate their wattage at input rather than output. So a laser advertized as 20W actually outputs 5W in almost all cases. The standard JTech 7W actually outputs 7W as they rate at output instead of input. So a JTech 7W is around 40-something percent more powerful than an overseas “20W”. Now JTech has up to a quad diode laser that outputs 24W.

I like my Ortur, as I can run both at the same time. The JTech add-on gives me more power and a larger area. But the JTech ties up the Shapeoko. Both my Ortur and JTech 7W are great at engraving, but not so much at cutting. When my SO5Pro arrives I’ll have a JTech 24W going on it, so I anticipate some actual cutting can get done s well as faster engraving. :slight_smile:


Thanks Julien,
These are exactly some of the things I’m questioning and trying to research. I have also been looking at GlowForge for quite some time, but it seems their units need a constant WiFi signal. The signal in my shop can be sketchy at times.

And also in theory I would like to be using both machines at the same time…in reality, that is probably wishful thinking.

Thank you Josh,
I’m glad you replied, you are also the type of person that I’m trying to pick your brain. These are the values that I find confusing, diode vs CO², total wattage vs output wattage. It seems from one manufacturer to another, it is like comparing apples to bananas.
Maybe I should look into that JTech quad diode laser. It “sounds” like the same as this laser from xTool, except for 20W vs 24W.

Thank you.

I didn’t know the XTool went with output wattage. Good on them for bucking the trend. :slight_smile: I do like how they specify “Most powerful 20W diode laser.” Gets them showing that they are going with output rather than input, but not claiming most powerful.

I know JTech is run by laser nerds, and that they optimize, calibrate, and test their diodes using the proper tools to measure actual output.

The friend I bought my Ortur from, has a Glowforge. It has a user friendly ecosystem, but it is locked down and requires internet connection to function. And we had one on-loan at work for a bit. At one point it needed service, which took months, and the shipping was on the owner. So even “warranty” repair was costly.

We have a import 40W or 60W CO2 laser (given to us and there is little to no documentation). It functions fairly well, but I can tell the tube is starting to degrade on it. The tube is considered a wear item and ours is starting to be inconsistent. We mostly use it to cut acrylic and honestly I’m moving to cutting on out SO4Pro at work if things need to fit together. The angled kerf of the laser makes assembly a pain in the rear, whereas the SOPro makes such nice cuts the pieces press together with more security before glue than the laser cut pieces after. :smiley: Anything over 1/8" on our laser is just more difficult. That said we want to get a nicer, more powerful laser to get better results.

1 Like

I have an Endurance 10w diode laser add-on to my Sienci Long Mill. I realize that my CNC is not a Shapeoko, but FWIW, I believe my experience will address your questions.

I do not have floor space for a stand-alone laser, so this set up suits me fine. I use it exclusively for carving/etching, not cutting. I have the CNC router function for cutting. I have experimented with cutting and have found that any wood over 3mm/.125" is very slow going. In researching this, I found that, if you want to cut with a laser, and you are buying a stand-along, buy a CO2.

One plus to having the laser attached to the CNC router is that I can do “hybrid” projects. Meaning, I can carve a design, then burn into it. Since I don’t need to move the material, the alignment is perfect.


Thanks Grant!

That is good food for thought.

A lot of the advertisements (in my opinion) only tell me what they want me to know and they are misleading.

I feel like I’m trying to punch holes in their claims about “how amazing this model is”. I’m new to lasers so I am confused and have questions. It seems it is difficult to compare one brand with a different brand.

This plug says they can cut at 400 millimeters per second…is that fast?? Or is that slow? (For these hobbyist level lasers, not big industrial models).

This one says it cut 10 mm wood at 100% power and 2% speed. So, 2% of the quoted 400 mm/sec would be 8 mm/sec, is that good?

Is it normal to run a laser at 100% power for long periods of time, or does that seriously shorten the life of the laser (diodes)?

After reading what @SLCJedi wrote concerning the J Tech quad-diode 24 W laser add-on, im seriously considering going that avenue.

Thanks again Grant.

2% speed is arbitrary. :smiley: Usually they would say something like 100% @ 2mm/s or something like that. I think diodes can be used at higher levels for longer than CO2 tubes can, but still degrade with use no matter what. I think keeping a diode properly cooled means you can run it harder, longer.

That 400mm/s is for raster engraving. The laser will move similar to the way a print head moves on an inkjet printer.
I think this comes down to how much you want to spend and what you’ll use the laser for.
In general, a good CO2 laser will be on a completely different level than these top of the line diodes, but you’ll also pay for it.

What’s your end goal? What do you want to cut and how much of it will you be cutting?

Same goes for the CO2 tube.


I have the Atomstack 4 diode 20w system with air assist and it will cut .75" wood in a few passes and .25" poplar in 1 pass at 85% 150mm/min.

I engrave at 50% 8000 mm/m with great results for basic fill.

I never run at 100% power because it kills the diodes faster. Keep in mind the 20w has a bigger beam width and does not do fine detail as well and were I to go back I might have gone with the 2 diode 10w system with air assist and just run slower.

Smoke management is a must as these things will haze a 2 car garage in less than a couple minutes. Also buy quality laser goggles and avoid the cheap ones that come with the machine. Even scattered beams that reflect off the piece can damage your eyes.


I checked on the Xtool D1 Pro and some of the comments were not very positive. Also i called the support line to ask a few questions and got a recording. That’s a red flag for me.

This guy has used almost all of them out there presently. This video will help you tremendously.


Hi @Able,

Would you mind sharing your smoke management setup ? This thread gave me the impulse I needed to go and buy a 20W laser, and the Atomstack M100 looks good, but a question remains. All these 20W modules have air assist, which I understand is an air blast INTO the laser output to blow away the smoke at the laser spot, but then one still has to suck the smoke out of there and push it through the window. Do you have a smoke shoe or something ? My natural tendency would be to 3D-print one to fit around the M100 module, and then build a ventilation system of some kind. Possibly reusing my dust collection hose since it’s there already, and connecting it to the ventilation system rather than the cyclone/shopvac.

1 Like

I currently just open the garage 3-4ft and use a high velocity cage fan aimed at the laser until I figure out where I want it to live full time and dig the lid to my old So3 enclosure back out from the shed.

I did buy a dryer vent kit and an exhaust fan that I will hook up to the enclosure and port the smoke out my garage window with a custom window filler board or possibly through the rear door that never gets used.

You only need a 100cfm fan and a slinky hose with a 4in duct flange to make a simple exhaust.


I use a NEJE module on my Shapeoko 3xxl. It was easy to wire in. I purchased a mount from eBay I believe. I also have 2 stand alone NEJE laser. All of the modules are the A40640 11 watt output, I have been using NEJE laser for over a year and am very happy with all of them. Let me know if you want to talk further and I will give you my phone number.

1 Like

If it’s at all possible, I’d love to benefit from the Q&A too. Obviously do a phone call if you’d like, but it’d be amazing if everyone could keep following along.

1 Like

We had a big discussion on adding diode lasers a couple years ago. The 4 and 6 combo diodes didn’t exist then.


Lot of good info here so far.

I have an Ortur Laser Master 2 with a 10W laser module upgrade from Laser Tree.

I can easily cut up to 1/4 inch, but beyond that, doesn’t matter how many passes I make.

I imagine 20w lasers are similar but up to a different thickness–wild guess by what I’ve seen, up to half an inch (more in certain circumstances).

If I were buying today, I would probably get the Xtool, but I would also understand that we’re in the same era as computers were in the late 90s–no matter what you buy today, something better will come out in 5-6 months, tops.

I would say go ahead and get the Xtool 20w now, and expect to upgrade in 3-4 years to something at least twice as good.

1 Like

I know nothing of this subject but would something like this work?