xTool D1 PRO Review

Is the xTool D1 PRO the best laser cutter/engraver on the market? We Put It to the TEST! 

In our Test Lab, we got to thoroughly tested the Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W laser engraver. This unit boasts advanced features and the versatility to handle any laser engraving task. In the review below, we’ll highlight the machine’s performance in engraving and cutting various materials such as plywood, hardwood, acrylic, and stainless steel.

After reading this article, you will be able to determine whether this laser engraver will be right for your needs.

xTool D1 Pro Review

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What is the Makeblock xTool D1 Pro?

Of all the laser cutters we have tested, the Makeblock xTool D1 Pro 20W is the most capable one yet. Similar to its predecessor, the xTool D1, this machine boasts exceptional mechanics, advanced stepper motor drivers, and a strong laser module. However, the new model takes it up a notch with a quad-diode 20W laser module. Additionally, it comes with some new features and functionalities.

This machine is available in both grey and red colors.

In our test, we subjected the xTool D1 Pro 20W to various tests to demonstrate its true capabilities. Let’s get started with this xTool D1 Pro review.

The xTool D1 Pro 20W features a similar mechanical design to the xTool D1. It also has a rectangular working area of 430 x 390 mm and its steel rollers on all axes provide ample precision (even at high speeds) and minimal mechanical wobbling. All of its parts are solid, sturdy, and seem high quality.

Thanks to a well-written manual, you can assemble the machine quickly and easily. We assembled the machine in under thirty minutes.

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What Can You Make With the xTool D1 Pro?

Together with the machine, there is a brochure that provides ideas on what you can create with the xTool D1 Pro laser engraver. These ideas can enhance your hobby or even inspire you to start a business. So far, we find that the xTool D1 Pro is a capable machine for a small workshop.

On the xTool website, there is a wide selection of materials and blank products that are perfect for laser engraving. These items are available at competitive prices, and can be conveniently purchased directly from the website.

XTool D1 Pro Specifications

Parameter Value
Engraving Size
430 x 390 mm (16.93 x 15.35 inch)
Engraving Materials
Wood, Bamboo, Cardboard, Plastic, Leather, PCB Board, Aluminum Oxide, Non-reflective, Electroplating Layer and Paint Surface Layer Metal, 304 Mirror Stainless Steel, Glass, Ceramics, Cotton Cloth, Slate;
Laser Output Optical Power
20W
Laser Wavelength
450nm
Focusing Method
Fixed focus laser
Operating Software
xTool Creative Space, LightBurn, Android and iOS
Input voltage
AC100-240V, 50/60Hz
Weight
5kg
Warranty
One Year

xTool D1 Pro 20W Laser Module Specs

The xTool D1 Pro is equipped with a cutting-edge 20W fixed focus laser module. The laser head features four separate laser diodes that converge on a single point. This configuration delivers exceptional cutting power.

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At one corner of the module is a red LED that projects a red crosshair onto the workpiece to ensure accurate alignment of the engraving start point. Since the laserhead sets the offset values correctly, you don’t have to manually align the laser again.

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The xTool D1 Pro laser engraver also has a flame sensor and a tilt sensor. If the machine detects a material catching fire or someone lifting it, it will stop automatically. This is crucial to preventing potential damage or injury.

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We also tested the air assist of the Xtool D1 Pro and that of the Sculpfun. Read our findings in this article.

TRUE Optical Output Power of xTool D1 Pro Laser Module

To verify that the laser module actually outputs the specified power, we used an optical power meter. From the tests, it’s clear that the module meets and even exceeds the specified power output. This is impressive.

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I highly advise acquiring high-quality protective goggles with OD6+ protection for added safety. Your eyes are irreplaceable, so it’s crucial to protect them. Keep in mind that lasers operate in the visible light spectrum. Therefore, even reflections can cause significant harm to your eyes.

Considering the xTool D1 Pro’s impressive power output, it’s essential to wear appropriate protective gear at all times.

Prioritize eye safety and opt for high-quality OD6+ safety goggles. It’s worth investing in goggles that offer significantly better eye protection.

Focusing the Laser

The focusing mechanism on the original xTool D1 was ingenious. However, the xTool D1 Pro takes it a notch higher. The unit features a swiveling arm located next to the laser module. You can extend this arm to ensure the head is at the correct distance from the material when focusing the laser. Once you have the correct distance, simply tighten the thumb screw and swivel the arm back up.

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With the laser module now perfectly focused on the work surface, it is ready for engraving.

The xTool D1 Pro has another feature that makes it perfect for cutting thicker materials. This feature involves a thumb screw on the other side of the laser module that allows you to lower the laser module even further.

You can use this screw and the included scale printed on the side to lower the laser head to precisely half the thickness of the material you want to cut. This ensures that the optimal focus distance is in the middle of the material. The result is excellent cutting performance.

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Special Features

The xTool D1 Pro also has additional features, such as:

Limit switches

The xTool D1 Pro has limit switches on both of its axes. Therefore, it can go to the home position automatically without its components hitting the physical limit.

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Engrave With a Lightning Speed With Advanced Stepper Motor Drivers

The controller board of the machine is highly advanced. It features Trinamic stepper motor drivers that operate the motors with a smooth sine wave. The motors are accurate, quiet, and do not produce any rough edges when engraving diagonal lines.

The Makeblock xTool D1 Pro has an impressive speed of up to 400mm/min, or over 20,000mm/min. At this speed, your engraving time will be quite short. The powerful 20W laser module can easily handle this speedt.

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Wireless Connectivity

The machine offers multiple connectivity options such as USB or WiFi. Moreover, you can even control it through a smartphone app available for both Android and iOS.

Steel Rollers

The xTool D1 Pro 20W features steel rollers on all axes. Unlike plastic rollers used in some budget laser engravers, the steel rollers provide better precision and reduce mechanical wobble during high-speed engraving.

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Offline Operation using SD card

Using an SD card, you can operate the machine offline. This would be useful when producing a series of engravings.

Flame and Tilt Sensor

An automatic flame sensor and tilt sensor are integrated into the xTool D1 Pro laser engraver. Thanks to this feature, the machine will stop if it is lifted or if the material catches fire. The automatic stop helps to prevent any harm or damage.

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Cutting and Engraving Different Materials

The xTool D1 Pro laser engraver can engrave a variety of materials. These include wood, bamboo, cardboard, plastic, leather, PCB board, aluminum oxide, non-reflective metal, electroplating layer, and paint surface layer metal, 304 mirror stainless steel, glass, ceramics, cotton cloth, and slate.

The machine is also an impressive laser cutter. It can cut  materials such as cardboard, non-woven fabric, wood board, acrylic, some thin plastic board, and sponge.

The laser engraver can effortlessly cut through materials that are more than 15mm thick. With poplar plywood being soft, it can be easily cut with this machine.

However, avoid cutting some plastics like PVC and vinyl. This is because the materials release hydrogen chloride gas while being cut. This gas is highly toxic and corrosive.

Software and Supported Formats

The xTool D1 Pro 20W laser engraver can be operated using the xTool Creative Space software. The user-friendly software has many features, including the ability to update the machine’s firmware. However, when compared to Lightburn, it is quite limited.

When  laser engraving, I prefer using Lightburn over the dedicated xTool Creative Space software. Lightburn is more powerful and user-friendly. However, it’s not free and costs $60 for a license. Still, you can try the software for free for a month to see if it fits your needs. In my opinion, the investment is worthwhile since it saves a significant amount of time (which is also valuable).

To use the Xtool D1 Pro with Lightburn, check this tutorial.

Lightburn is compatible with a wide range of file formats. These include vector formats such as AI, SVG, DXF, PDF, HPGL, PLT, and RD. The software is also compatible with image formats such as PNG, JPEG, BMP, TIFF, TGA, and GIF.

You should use vector format for laser engraving. This is because it includes precise paths around the edges of the shapes that the laser head follows. Engraving vector files is faster since the laser cuts directly on the path, rather than scanning like a printer and creating dots for engraving bitmap images (such as photos).

There are many vector designs available on the internet for free. There are also various free vector drawing programs like Inkscape or QCAD (more suitable for technical drawings) that you can use to create your designs. You can also import a wide range of vector designs and images from free vector sites, or purchase excellent laser designs from websites such as Etsy.

xTool D1 Pro Tests

In the past, we have evaluated the xTool D1 Proand compared its performance to that of other laser engraving machines such as the standard xTool D1, Sculpfun S10, Atomstack A10 Pro (also known as Atomstack X7 Pro), as well as the Neje A40640, Comgrow Z1, and others.

We conducted a standardized test on the xTool D1 Pro, similar to the tests we perform on other laser engravers and cutters. This allows for easy comparison of results between different machines.

Wood Engraving

The standard engrave pattern we use is intended to demonstrate the engraving abilities of the machine at various settings. The test provides a clear indication of the laser beam’s effectiveness.

Note: The engraving pattern we used for 10W machines has been adjusted for the  xTool D1 Pro 20W to account for its double power, with all engraving speeds precisely doubled.

At the time of writing, we have only tested one quad diode 20W laser engraver. Therefore, it is not possible to make direct comparisons with other machines.

The engravings by the xTool D1 Pro may appear lighter compared to the xTool D1 10W machine. However, this doesn’t mean any decrease in power. When I attempted to engrave the standard pattern used for 10W machines, the xTool D1 Pro 20W machine burned through the wood. This means the unit is a highly powerful machine that engraves fast.

If you wish to test your own laser, you can download the test file from this link.

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Power Scale

The test pattern for power scale illustrates the machine’s engraving ability at various speeds and power levels.

To account for the increased power of this 20W laser, we made some adjustments to the pattern and doubled the speed ranges used for 10W machines. The pattern varies power from 10% to 100% in 10% increments, with speeds of 2400, 3600, 4800, and 6000mm/min. To avoid excessive burning, we  excluded slow speed/high power shapes from the pattern since they tend to produce large charred blobs that do not provide useful information.

At the 6000mm/min speed range, the shapes’ frames were mistakenly engraved at 3000mm/min instead of 6000mm/min due to an error in programming when modifying the 10W pattern for the new one.

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Interval Scale

The interval scale test demonstrates whether the laser focus spot is rectangular or square by gradually increasing the scanning interval from 0.1mm to 0.5mm. To adjust for the higher output power of the xTool D1 Pro 20W laser module, we doubled the speed for this test.

The xTool D1 Pro 20W performs impressively in the interval scale test. It outputs a square and well-balanced laser beam, as is seen by the near-identical engravings in both the horizontal and vertical directions. This is particularly noteworthy given that the laser module is quad-diode.

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Photo Engraving

Below is a test where we engraved a small 20mm photo while varying the maximum laser power. Remember, photos can take longer to engrave since the laser head needs to scan line by line, similar to an inkjet printer. If you’re planning to engrave a large photo, be prepared to wait for a couple of hours.

As shown below, the xTool D1 Pro 20W demonstrated impressive photo engraving capabilities, thanks to its small laser focus spot size.

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Vector Image Engraving

Engraving vector images is significantly quicker as the laser head directly traces the lines. However, it is not possible to create a greyscale image using this method.

For our test, we engraved a photo of a Tit bird on the top right corner at a high speed. The software allows for the filling of closed shapes with patterns. In this case, this was achieved by scanning with a 0.1mm step. For larger engravings, the step size can be increased to 1mm or more to speed up the process. However, this will result in raster or grid pattern on the black areas.

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Anodized Aluminium Engraving

We also tested the xTool D1 Pro 20W by engraving a scrap piece of black anodized aluminium. The engraved test pattern displayed below is designed to assess the size of the focus dot in both directions and to observe the impact of speed.

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Again, the important aspect of this test is the interval scale, which involves scanning vertically and horizontally with different interval steps to approximate the size of the laser dot. The results reveal that the laser dot of the xTool D1 Pro is almost a perfect square since the pattern appears to be well balanced when scanned in both horizontal (X Axis) and vertical (Y Axis) directions.

The text engraving was conducted at a speed of 600 mm/s, which is quite fast for small movements. As a result, some laser head shaking was visible in the corners. This is where the standard xTool D1 10W excelled. However, the xTool D1 Pro performs equally well despite its larger and heavier laser head. Thanks to its excellent mechanics, the machine remains nearly free of wobbling, resulting in flawless 1mm tall text engraving.

We then conducted additional testing using the Celestron 44341 digital microscope. Below are the images that were captured.

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The initial observation is that the laser dot shape of the xTool D1 Pro 20W module is a square with dimensions of 0.15 mm x 0.15 mm.

For the next test, we tried different text size. We found out the machine’s mechanics to be very stable as all the text was engraved perfectly. This is the best result we have seen so far.

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The following image shows two sets of squares on the right side, where one is inside the other. The outer square was engraved at 1000mm/min, while the inner square was engraved at 100mm/min. It’s clear that there is not much wobbling present, even at higher speeds, thanks to the excellent mechanics.

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Laser Focus Distance Test

This test aims to demonstrate how the laser dot size changes as it goes deeper into the material and how it affects the laser’s cutting ability. The deeper the laser can maintain a focused dot, the thicker the material it can cut. To perform this test, we gradually lowered the board by 3mm for each square without re-focusing the laser head.

The square with 0mm indicates that the focus is perfectly set with the help of a swiveling arm. On the other hand, the 3mm square is engraved by lowering the test piece 3mm below the optimal focus to determine the size of the dot when it is 3mm deep into the material being cut. This principle can also be applied to larger distances.

The performance of the xTool D1 Pro 20W laser module was comparable to that of the standard xTool D1 and Sculpfun S10. On the other hand, it was superior to that of the Atomstack M50 laser module in the Atomstack A10 Pro (Atomstack X7 Pro) and significantly superior to that of the Neje Master 2S Plus. However, it is still not able to match the performance of the Sculpfun S9, which is a 5W single diode laser module.

The xTool D1 Pro has four times the power of the Sculpfun S9. Consider this while comparing their performance.

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You can leverage the thickening effect when you need to engrave larger items with low detail. By positioning the laser out of focus, the beam will be wider, and you can engrave more quickly since the distance between the engraved lines can be greater.

Acrylic Engraving and Cutting

We did a small experiment on black acrylic (also known as plexiglass) that was 3mm thick. We engraved and cut it at 600mm/min. The results were impressive, with a clean cut edge and well-executed engraving. The xTool D1 Pro cut through the material in just 2.5 passes. This is remarkable.

We also tested a 10mm thick black acrylic using the xTool D1 Pro 20W. The machine cut through in just 14 passes. This is impressive. In comparison, the standard 10W xTool D1 took 42 passes to cut through at the same speed of 600mm/min. This shows that the xTool D1 Pro 20W is a highly capable laser cutter.

The cutting performance remained consistent even as the laser went deeper into the 10mm thick material, as shown in the images.

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Plywood Cutting Test

We then tested cutting poplar plywood of 3mm, 6mm, and 10mm thickness at three different speeds. The cutting was done in both the horizontal X-axis (left-right) and the vertical Y-axis (back to front) directions. This was important since the cutting performance may vary in each direction due to the dot shape sometimes being rectangular.

Below is a comparison table between the xTool D1 Pro 20W and the standard 10W xTool D1.

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The xTool D1 Pro 20W is an impressive laser cutting machine with remarkable cutting ability and well-balanced performance in both horizontal and vertical directions. Thus far, it stands out as the most high-performing diode laser cutter.

Hardwood Cutting Test

This test demonstrates the cutting capability of the xTool D1 Pro 20W on harder woods at a speed of 600mm/min. Initially, we attempted to cut 4mm pine wood, which is relatively soft. The xTool D1 Pro  completed the cut in just over two passes.

Next, we tested 3mm and 5mm thick Beech wood. The wood is harder and denser. The xTool D1 Pro had no difficulty cutting them. It accomplished the task in 2 passes for 3mm thickness and 3 passes for 5mm thickness Beech wood.

We also tried cutting 5mm thick Oak wood. The xTool D1 Pro cut through it in 2.5 passes. This is the best cutting performance observed so far.

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Engraving Stainless Steel

We conducted two separate tests to evaluate the engraving performance of the xTool D1 Pro 20W on stainless steel. For the first scenario, we engraved directly on the stainless steel surface. For the second scenario, we engraved on stainless steel that had been previously blackened with spray paint. In both tests, the machine was set to a very slow speed of 200mm/min and full power, as usual.

The resulting engravings were very dark in both cases. The direct engraving left a brown residue that could be easily removed by finger. The engravings were deep enough to be felt by a fingernail. The xTool D1 Pro 20W performed impressively in both scenarios. See how it compared with other 10W machines and the 5W Sculpfun S9 below. The left side shows direct engraving, while the right side shows engraving on blackened stainless steel.

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xTool D1 Pro 20W Endurance Test

I had to cut a complex design out of 6mm acrylic and decided to use the xTool D1 Pro that was readily available. After running the x-tool D1 Pro for over an hour at full power to cut a complex design from 6mm acrylic, the laser head became dirty. This resulted in a significant reduction in output power.

Cleaning the lens with isopropyl alcohol and a q-tip restored the power to the 20W range. This shows the importance of periodically cleaning the lens. It also indicates that the laser module did not lose power due to extended use at full power.

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The Rotary Roller Attachment

The xTool RA2 Pro 4-in-1 chuck style rotary roller attachment can be purchased alongside the machine to enable engraving on cylindrical and spherical objects. Read our Xtool RA2 Pro 4-in-1 Laser Rotary review for more information.

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The xTool RA2 Pro 4-in-1 chuck style rotary roller attachment is uniquely designed compared to the commonly used rubber roller-based rotary systems. It is equipped with a chuck similar to the one found on a lathe and  offere greater precision when engraving intricate designs on cylindrical objects.

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To assess its capabilities and compare it to rubber roller systems, we tested it.

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Ventilation Enclosure

We strongly suggest using a laser engraver enclosure with the xTool D1 Pro to vent out harmful air through a window. Check out our article on the best laser engraver enclosure for the xTool D1 Pro for more information.

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The xTool D1 Pro laser engraver is a highly capable machine that can handle a wide range of tasks with exceptional performance.

Conclusion

The xTool D1 Pro 20W is a comprehensive laser engraver that excels in all aspects including power, speed, quality, usability, and upgradeability. It allows for quick, efficient, and reliable work.

The well-designed machine can cater to various needs. It is an ideal choice for those who are serious about their work or those who want to establish a laser engraving business on a small to medium scale.

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