LONGER RAY5 Review: Advanced Laser Engraver for Intermediates

We recently got our hands on the LONGER RAY5 laser engraver and were pleasantly surprised with its performance. Find out our experience in this comprehensive review of the laser engraver unit.

LONGER RAY5 (Upgrade with Dual Blower Kit) is the first engraving machine with a built-in touch screen!

If you already have some experience in laser engraving and are looking to up your game with a professional, low-cost, and high-performance engraver, you want to check out the LONGER RAY5. We recently got the laser engraver in our Test Lab and have taking it for a couple of spins.

Here is our hands-on review of this unit, covering its features, quality and performance.

The regular price of the LONGER RAY5 (Upgraded with Dual Blower Kit) is $329. However, you can get it for $299 in the few weeks ahead, up to June. Use the coupon code “RK5PRO$30” for the discount.

LONGER RAY5 Review

longer ray5 laser engraver

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We’ve tested a couple of laser engravers in the past and so far, the LONGER RAY5 is the only one that we’ve come across that has a built-in touch screen. This is a cheap unit, as can be deduced from the hardware. Therefore, do not expect it to cut it for heavy industrial use.

However, if you are a home user or a laser engraving enthusiast, the LONGER RAY5 will be perfect for your various engraving escapades.

The laser engraver is shipped disassembled. However, the assembly process is easy, especially if you have worked with laser engravers in the past.

longer ray5 laser engraver package

LONGER RAY5 Laser Engrave Comes Disassembled

This unit produces fumes and possess some potential fire hazard. Therefore, it is advisable to operate it in an open space.

While the Longer RAY5 laser engraver is marketed towards intermediate hobbyists engravers, it boasts of a number of features you will usually find in more expensive DIY laser engravers. For example, this machine comes with a built-in touchscreen which allows you to easily control various aspects of the laser engraving process.

built in touchscreen
LONGER RAY5 Has a Built In Touchscreen

For example, after slicing a model, you can adjust the values on the built-in touchscreen.

The laser engraver also has a 32-bit motherboard that operates at 240 Mhz. This is a superior motherboard usually found in high end laser engravers. Despite this great performance part, the LONGER RAY5 laser engraver is still cheaper than its competitors.

The speed of a 32-Bit Motherboard is faster than that of an 8-bit Motherboard, and the command transmission speed is faster. The 8-bit Motherboard does not support SD cards,. Therefore, laser engravers that use 8-Bit motherboards cannot support offline engraving.

32 bit motherboard

Other features that made us love this unit include its fast-operating speed (6000 mm/min), movement and thermal protection, and emergency stop button.

Also included in the package is a pair of safety goggle to protect your eyes during the laser engraving process.

With that short introduction, let’s look at the features of the Longer RAY5 laser engraver.

Design

The Longer RAY5 is the first laser engraver manufactured by Longer. We’ve known Longer for its wide range for budget 3D printers, and even got a chance to test the Longer LK5 Pro 3D Printer.

You can see our review of some Longer 3D printers on the following articles:

Like is the case with laser engraving machines, the laser travels on two axes on the Longer Ray5.

When assembled, the Longer RAY5 has a working area measuring 15.75 x 15.75 inches (40.0 X 40.0 cm). This means you can laser engrave pieces that are quite large.

The laser engraver frame and other pieces, such as the display case, are made of metal. The laser module is attached to the X-axis frame and it moves in both the X and Y axes using a couple of motors.

When assembled, the frame is sturdy and holds nicely into place. We did not experience in large vibrations when the laser module was moving.

Control Box

The Longer RAY5 comes with a control box that has a touchscreen display. You can make changes to the engraving process through the touchscreen without having to take out the SD card.

Connectivity

The Longer RAY5 can connect to your computer either through a wired connection or Wi-Fi. Inside the box, there is a USB cable for those who wish to connect to their PCs the traditional way.

Laser Module

The Longer RAY5 laser module uses diode technology and has a wavelength of 450 to 460 Nm. The laser is a fixed focus type and has a 30mm focal range.

The laser engraver’s power input is 12V, 3A while the optical range output lies between 5W and 5.5W. This low power output means that you will not incur high energy bills even if you use this unit frequently.

If you wish, you can upgrade the laser model to a more powerful 8W or 10W model.

longer ray5 laser module

The laser engraver falls under FDA Class IV item. This means that the laser light can be harmful to your eyes. Therefore, it’s critical to wear safety goggles when operating this unit.

Assembling the Longer RAY5

The assembly process is quite easy, and there is handy instruction manual to help you. To make your work easier, watch the video below:

If you prefer written instructions, here we go:

To begin, you need to align the four frames of the engraver on a large flat surface. Make sure that the Longer logo on the frames is close to you.

Next, attach the marked frame to the right, the frame with the small knob to the left, and the last frame at the “top”.

Next, get the corner grooves from the plastic pouch and insert them into the frames to form a perfect 90° angle.

Next, use the Allen keys provided in the package to insert the M5x25 screws into the frames using the circular pouch.

The next step is to slide the X-axis assemble into place, putting the frame in-between the three wheels. On inserting the frame, you will notice that it will be stopped by the nut that is already installed on the left frame.

Next, get the three metallic feet and the display from the pouch. Screw each foot using two M5x16 screws and tighten them into the dedicated holes.

For the display, use of M5x6 screw and one M5x16 screw to tighten it to the front frame.

Finally, use the remaining screw and the nylon insolation column to limit the X-axis movement towards the display.

We now have to install the timing belt. Put it with the tooth facing downwards inside the frame canal from the right side. Make sure that it goes under the two wheels but stays above the cogwheel.

Push the belt out of both sides of the two narrow holes carved into the feet you had previously installed. Next, use the screws to fix one part of the belt into position. Ensure that you have rotated the trapezoidal screw so that it fits perpendicularly. After that, tighten the belt and use another pair of screws on the other side of the belt.

Repeat the procedure for the left frame.

The final step is to install the laser head. You’ll use two thumb screws to fix the laser model in place. After fixing the head, adjust its height from the rear side using the two M3x6 screws and the nylon isolation column.

Do not place the laser head too high. The type and thickness of the material you will be engraving should help you decide the correct position of the head.

The final installation step is to take the cord attached to the display and insert the middle-placed connector to the motor on the left side, and the two connectors at the end of the cable. One connect should be placed in the laser module while the other should be on the top placed motor.

And with that, you are ready for calibration.

How to Calibrate the Longer RAY5

Before you start the engraving process, you need to calibrate the Longer RAY5. To do this, take the board that is going to be engraved and place it under the laser head. Then, take the metallic cylinder and place it between the board and the dedicated area without the laser model assembly.

Adjust the screws to match the correct height and then tighten them back

That is all about calibrating the Longer RAY5.

Engraving Process

When you connect the power cable and place the metallic button from the top of the controls section, the laser fans will start turning. The display will also show some information, including the status of the Wi-Fi connection, the laser intensity (the S- should be 0 when in standby mode), and the position of the laser model (X, Y, and Z axis).

On the Control tab, you can adjust the position of the laser head, set the moving speed, moving distance or zero position.

On the Engraving tab, you will see the files in your SD card and can start engraving a model.

Under Tools you will see the CPU frequency, firmware version and type of board installed. You can also set up Wi-Fi under the Tools section.

When the unit connects to Wi-Fi, the IP address of your router will be display. You will have to enter it into your browser and, from there, the web-based utility will replace the controls from the display.

Other things you can control include the speed and distance of the axis, intensity of the light and position of the light.

Under Settings, there is an option to send files to your SD card through Wi-Fi. You can also adjust various options.

What Materials Are Compatible?

With the LONGER RAY5, you can engrave a wide range of materials, including all types of wood, paper, plastic, leather, PCB board, aluminum oxide, non-reflective plating, lacquered metal, among others.

Here are the laser settings recommended for engraving various types of materials:

MATERIALS LONGER RAY5 LASER ENGRAVER
Basswood Engraving 2000mm/min,S1000
Cutting 2mm thickness
300mm/min,S1000
Require 1 pass
Plywood

Engraving 2000mm/min,S1000

Cutting 4mm thickness
100mm/min,S1000
Require 1 pass
Pine Engraving 2000mm/min,S1000
Cutting 6mm thickness
120mm/min,S1000
Require 2 pass
Stainless Steel Engraving 200mm/min,S1000
Acrylic  Cutting 2.5mm thickness
120mm/min,S1000
Require 2 pass

If you wish to do some cuts, you can use the LONGER RAY5 laser to cut materials such as cardboard, non-woven fabric, light wood, Acrylic material, thin plastic board, among others.

Below are some examples of materials cut using the LONGER RAY5 laser cutter.

LONGER RAY5 Review: Advanced Laser Engraver for Intermediates 1
Circular Board Designs

 

LONGER RAY5 Review: Advanced Laser Engraver for Intermediates 2
Holiday Decorations

 

LONGER RAY5 Review: Advanced Laser Engraver for Intermediates 3
Cubes

 

LONGER RAY5 Review: Advanced Laser Engraver for Intermediates 4
Board Puzzles

 

LONGER RAY5 Review: Advanced Laser Engraver for Intermediates 5
Wooden Trinkets

 

LONGER RAY5 Review: Advanced Laser Engraver for Intermediates 6
Intricate Decorations

Software

LONGER RAY5 works with PCs running Windows (WIN XP up to Windows 10). Users of Windows OS PCs can use both LaserGRBL and LightBurn Software.

Connecting the unit with LaserGRBL is easy. See the media below:

Connecting LaserGRBL

MAC and Linux users can use LightBurn Software. Here is a guide on how to use connect the unit with Lightburn.

Connecting Your Laser Engraver with Lightburn

The Longer RAY5 comes ready for use with LaserGRBL. This lightweight software directly connect to the laser engraver. You can download the software from the SD card or from the official website.

When you open the software, you can adjust the position of the laser module as well as other parameters you will usually see on the small display. Other capabilities of the software include resizing models, adjust the brightness and contrast of models, and even converting a model.

Apart from LaserGRBL, Longer RAY5 also comes bundles with a trial version on Lightburn.

You can use the LONGER RAY5 with different image file formats, including BMP, JPG, PNG, DXF, AI, SVG, etc. The machine also provides support for more software and materials

Safety

It is crucial to maintain your safety when working with the laser engraver. Let’s find out what the LONGER RAY5 has to offer.

5 safety protections

Eye Protection

To begin, make sure you wear the safety goggles that come in the package. Also, do not put the engraver in a place where there are reflections as this can lead to the laser light bouncing on it and reaching people inside the room.

The RAY5  laser module has an acrylic cover which can shield 99% of the laser and protect the eyes

Remember, the laser light can damage your eye as well as burn you. Therefore, do not look at the light when you are not wearing safety googles nor put your hand on the way of the laser light.

Move Protection

When the engraving machine is moved heavily, for example, the machine falls down, it will detect the movement and stop functioning. An alarm will also be sounded.  This is important in prevent fires or accidents when you are not around while the machine was laser engraving or cutting.

Thermal Protection

One of the best features of the Longer RAY5 laser engraver is the flame sensor. When this sensor detects fire, the laser will automatically stop and an alert will be sounded.

LONGER RAY5 Review: Advanced Laser Engraver for Intermediates 7

Finally, it is good practice to keep the Longer RAY5 in the open during the engraving process. This is because the unit does not have a way of ventilate the smoke or dust from the model. Moreover, the fumes are toxic to breath This is why you need to use the engraver in an open workshop area that is well-ventilated.

Motionless Detection

During operation, should the laser head be motionless for 5 seconds, the machine will detect this and automatically stop operating. Apart from this, an alarm will be sounded. 

LONGER RAY5 Review: Advanced Laser Engraver for Intermediates 8

Emergency Stop Button:

The LONGER RAY5 has an emergency stop button. If you want it to stop engraving, simply hit the power button.

Performance

The Longer RAY5 is shipped with three small pieces of plywood that you can use for testing. For our tests, we used the default settings (100% laser power and 10mm). As you can see, the results had some burning marks around the models. Therefore, if you are not using a plywood that is too thick, you will want to lower the laser power quite a bit.

Conclusion

The Longer RAY5 is the perfect DIY laser engraver for intermediate hobbyists. The unit does a great job and I love the fact that it has a larger work surface than usual. Its preciseness is commendable and the display is one of a kind.

Moreover, you can connect to your PC through both wired connection or Wi-Fi

This unit takes a shorter time to assemble and the assembly instructions are straight forward. From our test, we were able to both engrave and cut into wood with easer. We also tried engraving metal and had considerable success.

Looking at the price, the Longer RAY5 is an excellent engraver for anyone who wants to go a step further with the laser engraving hobby.

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