After testing the Snapmaker A350 with the 5W laser module, we’ve now had a chance to test the capabilities of the newly released 20W module. In this Snapmaker 10W laser review, find out our experience with this more powerful engraving module.
The Snapmaker 10W 2.0 High-Power laser module is designed for the Snapmaker A350 and A250 models. However, it comes as default in the Snapmaker Artisan 3-in-1 3D Printer. The new Luban software features help make cutting experiences and laser engraving safer, faster, and, most importantly better.
Snapmaker 10W Laser Review
Unveiled just recently, this new Snapmaker 10W Laser boasts many new capabilities, like an upgraded camera and autofocus. This new camera helps you align and visualize your etches and outlines perfectly and captures the work surface to deliver perfect end results.
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Furthermore, because the module has a higher laser cutting power, it takes a lot less time to complete a project, with most projects taking an average of roughly 2 hours or so.
Packaging and Unboxing
Once again the Snapmaker team has absolutely outdone themselves when it comes to overall packaging. At first glance, it’s easy to confuse this product with a high-end watch or expensive perfume. In my humble opinion, I feel most people won’t mind keeping the main package it comes in with the white sleeve.
You can use this box to collect small things or store various tools such as the Quick Start Guide (a good quality guide), M4 screws, W10 Laser Module, and Materials for testing (like Anodized Aluminum 2mm, Acrylic 3mm, and Basswood 5mm, among other things), Cotton swabs, Calibration Target Plates, and extra laser lens protectors.
Some of the other things that come with the new and improved Snapmaker 10W 2.0 laser module include:
- One sheet of anodized aluminum
- One sheet of acrylic
- One sheet of basswood
- Eyewear to protect you against the laser
- The Quick Start User Guide
- A Paper Calibration card
- A Metal Laser Centering block
- Cotton swabs
- A washer, and
- M4 Screws
This high-power 10W laser head fits perfectly into the modular ecosystem of the Snapmaker, integrating both seamlessly and effortlessly into the 2.0’s workflow. This new and improved laser module offers better efficiency, more power, and the ability to cut, mark and engrave more materials as well as providing a wider array of many other capabilities.
Installation of the device is as simple as plug and play. It has a 6000mm per minute work speed and you can use it to cut through 8mm thick basswood materials. Simply put, it’s almost 8x better than what you’d get from your standard 1.6W laser cutter, and its industrial-level speeds will allow you to practically create factory lines that can push out products in minutes.
For engraving, Snapmaker suggests using this laser head for a range of engineered and natural woods, anodized aluminum, stainless steel, copper, painted metal, cardboard, leather, marble, and shale. This new Snapmaker laser module is also designed to laser-cut materials like beechwood, plywood, pinewood, walnut, red and black acrylic, walnut, and MDF.
If you want to package and design cards and gifts all within one machine, then this is what you need in your life.
Having tested over ten laser cutters and engravers, 3D printers and CNC routers, I put the new Snapmaker 10W 2.0 module through many different test runs on metal, acrylic and wood, as well as testing it with the company’s rotary attachment module. Here’s what I found.
The new 10W laser module takes things to a whole other level and allows you to reach new strengths. You can use this module to cut through wood and acrylic up to about 8mm thick as well as engrave on anodized aluminum.
In fact, here’s a full list of the materials you can engrave and cut with this new Snapmaker laser module;
- Anodized aluminum
- Dark glass
- Stainless steel
If you want to use your Snapmaker 2.0 with this new 10W laser module, you will need to update the Snapmaker Luban software as well as its firmware. I’ve had the Snapmaker 2.0 for quite some time now and I couldn’t use the laser head before I updated my current firmware.
However, that’s not all.
Once you have attached and switched on the laser head, you will need to calibrate it as well. If this won’t be your first time using a Snapmaker, then there’s a high chance you have some calibration cards from your previous jobs with it. However, this new module also comes with another one you can use to calibrate it to its laser bed.
Once you’ve calibrated it, you’ll need to calibrate material thickness and find the print bed’s middle using the laser target metal card. This will take you about five minutes or so before you’re ready to both engrave and cut.
a) Wood Cutting
The first test I tried was both practical and fun. It was cutting the basswood sheet that comes with the laser module. The sheet is 5mm thick. I took a custom design, set it up on Luban and tested the 10W laser.
The whole job took about 10 minutes, and left me with a pair of cleanly and precisely cut measuring tools. The overall end result was outstanding. I got a clean cut and the entire process was so fast at this rate compared to if I were using a 1.6W laser module. In fact, at this you could do around 10 to 13 similar-sized designs per hour, making this module a potentially great money earner.
However, there’s a part of the engraving that was left wanting. Although, that may have been largely because I didn’t hold down what I was cutting well enough, so you might want to consider using the clamps.
For my second test, I cut a bunch of custom designs for a local day school.
b) Engraving Anodized Aluminum
The next thing I tried to do with the module is engrave a certain design on a piece of anodized aluminum. This was arguably one of the things I was most excited about. I really wanted to see what this new 10W laser head module could do when it came to engraving designs on metal materials.
The small job I did took me about one minute and left a contrasting and clear line design on the metal, though you couldn’t feel the design when you ran your hands over the metal’s surface.
The ability to engrave and mark metal materials so clearly, seamlessly, and easily are some of this powerful laser head’s biggest advantages, and you can expect to have a great deal of fun engraving and marking aluminum, stainless steel, and even stone with this new 10W 2.0 laser head module.
1. Faster, more precise, and more powerful
Arguably the most impressive thing about the new 10W laser head module by Snapmaker is the extra speed and power it offers you.
Whereas it would take you around an hour just to cut out a relatively small box on softer woods using a standard 1.6W laser head, the 10W model will do this almost 8x faster. Not only that, it’ll do it in a much more precise manner and it can cut through tougher and thicker wood materials.
Even though it isn’t the fastest in the market, it’s perfect to begin a productive high-quality business with.
2. Easy-to-use software
Even though most 3D printing software, such as Cura and the like, are simple to use and incredibly intuitive, laser software and CNC software are known to be a lot more complicated, with many functions and parameters that may scare off beginner hobbyists.
However, Snapmaker’s in-house Luban software is very easy to use and houses everything within one application (cutting, laser engraving, 3D printing, and 4-axis CNC. Even 4-axis laser cutting was made quite simple.
3. Saves you space
Another great thing about this 10W laser module is the fact that it’s a 3-in-1 machine, meaning you don’t have to own three separate machines to perform the same tasks. You can also avoid cluttering up the workspace. With that said, naturally, you’d be sacrificing laser performance, but with the add-on feature you can mimic a standalone desktop laser cutter within one machine.
1. A bit pricey
The new Snapmaker 10W laser module is a great improvement from the 1.6W laser module, but sadly, it still struggles to successfully compete with CO2 lasers. The K40 40W laser head by OMTech is about a hundred bucks more and comes with 40W of power you can use to make better marking engravings and cut through much thicker materials.
For business use or more serious standalone uses, you might want to consider going for a standalone machine instead of this module.
Like all of the components on the Snapmaker 2.0, the 10W laser module looks to bring out the very best in the user’s imagination and the machine’s capabilities. This highly durable laser head has two blowing systems for its laser diode and PCBA to ensure overheat protection and that the diode properly cools off after you’re done with it.
All in all, Snapmaker looks to have outdone themselves once again with this new and improved product. If you use the device properly, it’s going to comfortably last you as long as around 10,000 hours. It really doesn’t get too much better than that.