Sculpfun S6 Pro vs. Atomstack A5 Pro: Which one is better? Read our comparison to find out.
If you’re interested in buying a laser engraver, two popular models you will find on the market are the Sculpfun S6 Pro and the Atomstack A5 Pro. In this article is for you. We’ll be reviewing the Atomstack A5 Pro laser engraver and comparing its performance to the Sculpfun S6 Pro.
The Atomstack A4 Pro is a durable and versatile machine that allows you to experience the features of industrial-grade equipment from the comfort of your own home. This machine is an excellent option for both amateurs and professionals. We’ll go over the contents of the package, the engraver’s performance on various materials, and our overall evaluation after using it for a month.
Atomstack A5 Pro Laser Engraver Review
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Atomstach A5 Pro Specs
wood, paper, cardboard, plastic, white, PCB board, aluminum oxide, black-painted metal/ceramic
Laser Output Optical Power
Fixed focus laser
LaserGRBL, LightBurn, Benbox, GrblController, LiteFire, Support Windows system, Support OSMAC system. Supported file formats NC, BMP, JPG, PNG, DXF and other image formats.
What is the Atomstack A5 Pro?
The Atomstack A5 Pro laser engraver is a premium product that falls within the same price range as the Sculpfun S6 Pro. Similar to the Sculpfun, the Atomstack A5 Pro also comes with a well-written assembly instruction manual that is easy to understand. All the required tools are provided. The screws and parts are conveniently packaged in separate bags that are labeled.
The Atomstack A5 Pro laser engraver has a laser diode that generates about 5.5 watts of optical power. However, the machine is advertised to have the equivalent power of a 40-watt Co2 laser. The laser diode is a fixed-focus diode that produces a square beam spot shape.
With fixed focus, there are no obstructions in the path of the beam. This allows for a narrower focus and a faster focusing process than for adjustable focus systems with moving parts.
While the head of the laser engraver is protected by a shield for additional safety, it is still essential to wear the safety goggles that come with the machine.
The focusing procedure for the Atomstack A5 Pro is identical to the Atomstack 20W model we previously tested. To achieve optimal cutting, the laser head should be positioned 2mm above the surface of the material being engraved.
To focus the laser, you can use an acrylic sheet or shim placed underneath the laser head. The laser head should then be lowered onto the shim. The shim has a thickness of 2mm. After the z-axis screws are tightened with a hex key, the laser head will remain at a distance of 2mm above the material surface.
Cutting and Engraving Different Materials
The Atomstack A5 Pro laser engraver is capable of engraving on various materials, including wood, leather, cotton, rubber, paper, fruit, foam, acrylic, black anodized aluminum, and blackened metal.
In addition to its engraving capabilities, the Atomstack A5 Pro laser engraver is also proficient at cutting various materials, including wood, paper, tape, cloth, acrylic, cardboard, and others.
Software and Supported Formats
The Atomstack A5 Pro laser engraver can be used with the free LaserGRBL software or the commercial Lightburn.
LaserGRBL allows you to import both vector files (NC, BMP, JPG, PNG, DXF) and bitmap image files (BMP, JPG, PNG, GIF).
Lightburn has a wider range of format support, including vector formats such as AI, SVG, DXF, PDF, HPGL, PLT, and RD, as well as image formats like PNG, JPEG, BMP, TIFF, TGA, and GIF.
Our Test Results
For our test, we conducted a performance comparison between the Atomstack A5 Pro and its direct competitor, Sculpfun S6 Pro. While we have shared the results of the Atomstack A5 Pro in this post, you can check our other post for Sculpfun S6 Pro results.
We conducted a standardized test on the Atomstack A5 Pro laser engraver and cutter. This is the same test we perform on all laser machines. This allows for easy comparison of results between different machines.
The engraving pattern we use as a standard is intended to demonstrate the engraving capabilities of the machine at various settings. This allows us to evaluate the efficiency of the laser beam.
The power scale test pattern displays the machine’s engraving performance at various power levels and speeds. The power levels range from 10% to 100% in 10% increments, and the speeds are set at 600, 1200, 1800, and 2400mm/min.
The Atomstack A5 Pro appears to have slightly more output power than the Sculpfun S6 Pro.
The interval scale test determines whether the laser focus spot is square or rectangular by progressively increasing the scanning interval from 0.1mm to 0.5mm.
The Atomstack A5 Pro appears to produce a rectangular beam shape. This is because the vertical and horizontal scans appear markedly dissimilar.
Below is a test where we engraved a small 20mm photo, while varying the maximum laser power. Keep in mind that photos can take some time to engrave since the laser must scan line by line, similar to an inkjet printer.
The Atomstack A5 Pro performed relatively well in engraving the 20mm photo. However, compared to the Sculpfun S6 Pro, the Atomstack’s spot size is larger, resulting in slightly less detailed engraving.
Vector Image Engraving
Engraving vector images is much faster as the laser head directly follows the lines. However, grayscale images cannot be produced.
We engraved a Tit bird located in the top right corner of the test piece. Engraving the bird took only a few minutes. In the software, you can choose to fill closed shapes with patterns. For this engraving, the shape was filled by scanning with a 0.1mm step. For larger engravings, you can increase the step to 1mm or more to make the engraving process faster. This would create a raster or grid pattern on the black areas.
Anodized Aluminium Engraving
After the photo engraving test, we tested the Atomstack A5 Pro on a black anodized aluminum scrap piece. The engraved test pattern is designed to assess the size of the focus dot in both horizontal and vertical directions. We can also observe the impact of speed on the size of the focus dot.
From the results, the laser dot of the Atomstack A5 Pro is somewhat rectangular. This is because the engraved pattern appears distinctively dissimilar when scanned along the horizontal (X-axis) and vertical (Y-axis) directions.
We engraved the text at a speed of 600 mm/s. This is considered fast for small movements, and it resulted in some shaking of the laser head that is noticeable in the corners. However, this issue can be easily resolved by adjusting the acceleration and speed settings.
We continued with our testing using a digital microscope. See the images below that were captured using the Andonstar AD407 microscope.
When viewed under the Andonstar AD407 digital microscope, the Atomstack A5 Pro’s laser dot has a shape that measures around 0.15mm x 0.25mm.
Interestingly, the Atomstack A5 Pro did not produce evenly spaced horizontal lines in the interval test. Also, and adjusting the belt and wheel tension, the issue persisted. The cause of this error remains unknown.
However, when we did the same test with the Sculpfun, it worked without any problems. This means that the issue is not with the software. If you have any insights into what might be causing this issue, please share them with us in the comments section.
The next test involved examining various text sizes. With this machine, 2mm text size is acceptable and even 1mm text size is legible. However, there is some distortion noticeable in one axis, probably likely due to mechanical factors. The speed used for this test (600mm/min) may also have influenced the accuracy.
The image below shows two sets of squares engraved on the right side, with one inside the other. The inner square is engraved at a speed of 1000mm/min, while the outer square is engraved at a speed of 100mm/min.
At higher speed, there is more wobbling, presumably due to mechanical effects. However, the speed does not seem to have any effect on the brightness of the engraved pattern. There is also a noticeable difference in the thickness of vertical and horizontal lines. This indicates that the laser beam is a rectangular dot shape.
Laser Focus Distance Test
This test aims to demonstrate how the laser dot size changes as it penetrates deeper into the material. The ability to maintain focus as it goes deeper will determine the thickness of material that can be cut. To perform the test, we lower the board by 3mm for each square without adjusting the focus of the laser head.
The zero mm setting indicates the ideal focus position achieved with the aluminum block. For the 3mm square, we lowered the test piece by 3mm from the optimal focus position and engraved it to observe the size of the laser dot. The same principle applies for larger distances as well.
For this test, the performance of Atomstack A5 Pro was slightly inferior to that of Sculpfun S6 Pro. However, the difference was negligible. As the distance from the surface increases, the spot size of Atomstack A5 Pro becomes less rectangular and more square-shaped. This is consistent with most laser engravers.
As we move farther away, the dot size increases. At 6mm and 9mm, the dot becomes considerably thick. This thickening effect can be utilized in scenarios where low-detail engraving of larger objects is required. In such cases, the laser can be set up in the out-of-focus position, where the beam will be wider, and the engraving can be done faster with larger distances between engraved lines.
Acrylic Engraving And Cutting
We conducted a brief test on 3mm black acrylic (also known as plexiglass) at a speed of 600mm/min. Both the engraving and cutting were excellent, with a clean cut edge. The Atomstack A5 Pro managed to cut through the material in just 8 passes.
An attempt was made to conduct the same test on blue acrylic, but it was unsuccessful. The blue color does not absorb the laser light effectively, possibly due to the material not being dark enough or the blue color reflecting the blue laser light. Even after 50 passes at 600mm/min with full power, the Atomstack A5 Pro only melted the board slightly. There were no visible engraved letters.
Therefore, it can be concluded that the Atomstack A5 Pro laser machine can only cut and engrave very dark acrylic boards effectively.
Plywood Cutting Test
This test involves cutting 3mm and 6mm thick Poplar plywood at three different speeds using the Atomstack A5 Pro and Sculpfun S6 Pro. The cutting was done in both scanning directions – horizontally (X axis) and vertically (Y axis) – as the cutting performance varies in each direction due to the rectangular shape of the laser dot. Below is a table comparing the performance of the two machines.
|Number of passes||3mm Plywood||6mm Plywood|
|Model||Atomstack A5 Pro||Sculpfun S6 Pro||Atomstack A5 Pro||Sculpfun S6 Pro|
The cutting ability of the Atomstack A5 Pro is impressive. However, its performance varies depending on the direction of the cut due to the rectangular shape of its focus spot. This could also pose some challenges when cutting tight fitting finger joints for wooden boxes. Therefore, test fitting may be required before cutting the final piece.
Hardwood Cutting Test
This test evaluates the Atomstack A5 Pro’s ability to cut harder woods at a speed of 600mm/min. Initially, a 4mm pine wood was tested, which is relatively soft. The Atomstack A5 Pro cut through it with ease in only 7 passes.
Next, a denser and harder 3mm beech wood was tested. The Atomstack A5 Pro cut through it in 5 passes without any issues.
The cutter is highly proficient, but its drawback lies in its rectangular focus spot shape.
Comparing the Atomstack A5 Pro laser engraver with the Sculpfun S6 Pro, the latter is slightly more convenient. Although it is slightly slower at cutting, it has a smaller and more rectangular focus beam for engraving.
While waiting a couple of minutes longer for cutting is not an issue, reducing the focus spot size is impossible. Therefore, your priorities and requirements will determine which one is the best for you.
Apart from that, the Atomstack A5 Pro functions well as a laser engraver. The only drawback is the light shield that hangs too low. At times, it can be inconvenient as it frequently collides with the magnets used to secure the material.
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