xTool M1 Laser Engraver Review

Your workshop will appreciate the xTool M1 machine, thanks to its versatility. I call it my 3-in-1 tool since it handles my engraving, laser, and blade-cutting needs effortlessly. Yes, the machine features a powerful blade, a reliable laser, and fine-tuned engraving capabilities that allow you to complete multiple projects with it.

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AVAILABLE ON XTOOL

Given its multi-function attributes, you’d be right to pass it for an expensive tool. And this couldn’t be further from the truth. The xTool M1 is cheaper than some of its peers, like Glowforge.

Moving on, the laser engraver can handle a wide range of materials—from iron-on vinyl to paper to wood to slate coasters, acrylic, HTV, leather, and even metal. Overall, the versatility of the machine gives you a place to run when the creative bug calls.

xTool M1 Laser Engraver Review

Bu that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Join me, and let’s explore the nitty-gritty of the world’s first desktop hybrid laser & cutting tool—the xTool M1

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Inside the xTool M1 Box

First off, there are two types of XTool M1 machines:

There isn’t much difference between the two apart from the laser power. Therefore, either can be used to perform the following tasks:

  • Flat engraving
  • Rotary engraving with a rotary accessory (more on this in the next sections)
  • Scoring
  • Blade cutting

Scoring is similar to engraving. However, it creates a single line of engraving, making it suitable for creating decorative outlines or marking outlines for painting. The cutting option on the M1 might leave some “burnt edge” effect (charring) on some materials like wood.

Previously, the M1 lacked an air assist. However, XTool recently released the customized accessory. This part can really help with the charring (more on the tool in the next section.) Rubbing alcohol on the affected area also helps. Finally, you can also mask off the edges, as explained towards the end of this review.

The xTool M1 10W reaches higher speeds. This partly explains its higher wattage level and price point. If speed matters to you, I’d certainly recommend the 10W. The 5W machine can take on a material thickness of up to 4 mm. On the other hand, the 10W laser can handle up to 10mm in a single pass. So, the additional bucks are justifiable.

The machine and related parts are often enclosed in a white unit with a glass lid. The total package weighs about 9.8 kg. Therefore, it’s not lightweight nor overly heavy. It’s something you can move around single-handedly.

I love the white color and the fine finish too. Each part aligns perfectly with the other, which lends my craft-room aesthetics and some sense of order.

What’s in the Box?

  • 5W or 10W xTool M1 machine
  • Vent exhaust pipe
  • Vent pipe clamp
  • Vent pipe connector
  • Four vent pipe screws
  • Power Adapter
  • Power cable
  • USB cord
  • Triangle Prisms
  • Bundle of “triangle prisms”
  • Two cutting mats (one pink and another blue)
  • M1 material pack
  • Five 45° replacement blades
  • User manual

Included semi-finished products

  • A wooden phone stand
  • Two wood coasters
  • One jewelry set
  • Four stainless steel dog tags
  • A card-holder box
  • 20 metal cards
  • A canvas tote bag
  • Two stone casters
  • Two pine wood rods

The Xtool M1 comes with basic and premium material packages with some cool items. A detailed cheat sheet is included to help you get along. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect from either option.

Basic Material Package

  • One self-adhesive PVC sheet
  • One 3mm basswood
  • One white sticker paper
  • One stainless steel dog tag
  • One PU leather

Premium Material Package

  • One 3mm basswood
  • One 3mm black walnut wood
  • 20 pieces of PU heat transfer vinyl
  • 30 white sticker papers
  • Three pieces of PU leather
  • 20 pieces of self-adhesive PVC sheets
  • Two laser marking colored papers
  • Nine colored glossy paper sheets
  • 20 pieces of craft paper
  • Five transparent frosted PVC sheets

Note: The pink mat is for placing fabric like transparent PVC sheets as well as PU leather. The blue one accommodates other types of materials. So, be sure to use each according to its designated purpose.

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Tip: It’s common for newer PCs to feature USB-C ports instead of standard USB ports. If that sounds like your state of affairs, grab an adapter, connect and craft!

xTool M1 Air Assist Set

Air assist is an important accessory of an engraving or cutting machine. As the name suggests, the accessory encourages more airflow inside a workstation. The part works by blowing air at high pressures to clear debris and smoke created by the machine.

The xTool M1 air assist set is among the several M1 accessories provided by the manufacturer to enhance your crafting experience. So, it’s sold separately.

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AVAILABLE ON XTOOL

However, the extra bucks are worth it and here are the reasons why:

Advantages of the xTool M1 Air Assist Set

  1. Laser beams are powerful and produce a considerable amount of heat when in action. Meanwhile, cutting and engraving produce debris that can burst into flames due to a build-up of high temperatures. Using an air assist removes the debris and increases airflow, which acts as a coolant. The accessory enhances your safety by reducing fire risk.
  2. Since it continuously blows air on the material and the surface, having an air assist also helps you focus on the project. You’ll be more accurate, achieve higher precision levels, save resources, and become more productive.
  3. It keeps your working area clean—you want this as badly as I want it, right?
  4. Delivers a powerful 30L/min airflow, quickly removing debris on the object. This makes it easy to achieve deeper cuts.
  5. Accumulating debris and smoke particles can damage your machine’s laser. Using an air assist helps protect and extend the lifetime of the lens.
  6. The tool is pretty quiet, making it ideal for household use. Plus, it can be used along a honeycomb panel (more on this in the following sections) for a quicker exhaustion process.

Additional Crafting Essentials

Along with the M1 box items, here are valuable items to keep within arm’s reach.

  • Household fire extinguisher
  • Q-tips
  • Masking tape
  • Rubbing alcohol

xTool M1 Laser Details

The xTool M1 hybrid laser and blade cutter features a diode laser. This is unlike the case with Glowforge, one of its competitors, which has a C02 laser. The xTool M1 laser produces a 0.08 x 0.08mm beam that achieves impressive levels of precision and accuracy. The results are clean-cut and perfectly engraved projects.

Diode Laser vs CO2 Laser

The capabilities of a laser engraver are determined by whether or not it runs on CO2. Therefore, it’s important to grasp the concept to help you make an educated buying decision.

Diode lasers are semiconductors that use infrared light range to perform different tasks. In this case, the laser can be used to engrave and cut raster or vector images.

Diode lasers are robust, durable, and way cheaper than C02 lasers. They’re also easy to use. Put simply, diode lasers offer great value for money. This is why they’re becoming popular options in the DIY and crafting space.

Below is a side-by-side comparison between diode and CO2 lasers.

Laser power Laser component size Laser power Robustness AVG Lifespan AVG machine price
Diode laser About 0.015 From 5W Can withstand knocks and bumps (durable) 8000-10000 hrs. About $1200
CO2 laser About 1m From 40W Made from glass (pretty fragile) 6000-8000 hrs. About $4000

On the downside, diode lasers are less powerful. As a result, they are slower than their counterparts. Nonetheless, both CO2 and diode lasers are limited with regard to the thickness of the material they can cut.

Your other worry would be the engraving precision which goes hand in hand with the wattage. The higher the wattage, the greater the precision. Diode lasers have the least power needs in the laser market. Therefore, they are not as precise as CO2 lasers.

However, everything considered, my xTool M1 delivered beyond expectations. Therefore, you can be sure it will serve the purpose, unless you’re concerned about speed and engraving precision. In that case, you can go with CO2-powered series like the XTool Desktop 40W laser-cutter. Remember, the price would be slightly higher.

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AVAILABLE ON XTOOL

xTool M1 Size, Dimensions, and Technical Details

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The M1 is more or less the size of a large desktop printer or the same size as the Cricut Maker but slightly taller and deeper. It measures about 22 x 9 x 18 inches and has a print area of 15 x 12 inches.

You should leave space, about 18 inches above the machine, to allow you to open the lid and access your projects. Unlike other machines like ScanNCut and Cricut, the M1 doesn’t require space to load or unload its mat.

However, the machine includes a vent pipe at the back. About 8 inches of space will be sufficient to accommodate it. So, keep this in mind as you plan on getting your machine. Nonetheless, the M1 is still a space-saving machine compared to its peers.

Beneath the lid is a roomy bed which is where you place your materials.

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Inclusive also is the laser module, complete with rollers, a gold blade housing, and the laser itself. The gold blade housing is magnetic, therefore, easy to fix and remove. When powered on, the rollers move the module back and forth, initiating cutting or engraving activities.

Remember, you’ll be using the blade in this instance. So, adhere to the right mat at the base of the bed when you reach the objective. The mat is adhesive on the upper side too. So, your materials will be secured on it, helping you to cut with minimal hassle.

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Sometimes, the project could mean engraving thick materials. The M1 provides two options to cater to that: use the manufacturer’s rotary engraving tool or detach the machine’s base to create space.

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While either option is viable, the rotary attachment features 360° cylindrical engraving capabilities. It can accommodate items with diameters ranging from 3mm to 70mm. So, it’s ideal for engraving items like tumblers, trophy metal cups, urns, and mugs quickly.

I’d recommend having it to kill several birds with a stone (I mean, be free to engrave thicker materials, enjoy the convenience and quicken your turnaround time.)

You can also raise your materials for a better laser-cutting experience. Just grab the triangular prisms and put them at the base, place the material on top, and cut! Besides, the raisers promote airflow minimizing chances of charring and flare-ups. Remember, triangular prisms are strictly reserved for laser-cutting projects.

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The M1 bed includes a powerful camera with 500dpi and 16 pixels image resolution, AI camera information, real-time preview, and auto-focus adjustment. The attributes allow for capturing drawings, images, and designs, enabling you to visualize the final product.

That said, you can make necessary adjustments to your project before cutting or engraving. You can also play around with scrap materials to fine-tune the end product, then embark on the real crafting journey.

The xTool M1 is compatible with IOS, macOS, Android, and Windows devices. You can connect over WiFi or use a USB cable. Further, you’ve over 7 languages to choose from, including English, Italian, Chinese, Russian, etc.

The back of the machine has the USB port alongside the machine’s vent, power cord and power button. Set up is quick and easy. In fact, my machine was up and running in under 5 minutes.

Here’s the procedure:

  1. Use the enclosed screws to attach the vent to the back of the machine
  2. Connect the cables to the corresponding ports at the back
  3. Use the USB cord to connect the machine to your computer
  4. Plug in the power cable to a power source

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A note on venting

While the M1 is quitter than Cricut or Silhouette, it produces considerable smoke. Fumes are also inevitable when working with materials like acrylic and wood, demanding adequate ventilation.

You can use the machine outside or vent it through a door or window—the idea is to have sufficient circulation. If the vent pipe happens to be short, you can obtain an additional one from a home improvement store. Also, an inline fan, air purifier, or respirator can be a great addition if venting fails to provide satisfactory results.

The xTool M1 Safety Features

Built with user safety in hindsight, the xTool M1 is Class I FDA Certified.

First off, the lid is tinted. So, you can confidently craft without worrying about damaging your eyes after extended exposure to the laser beam. The feature also caters to the little ones if they happen to be around. You know how curious kids can be…

Additional safety comes with an auto-stop function. The feature springs into action when the front power button is pushed, or the lid is lifted mid-processing.

In addition, you can only start the machine by pressing the button at the front right corner and not from the software. The design ensures you’re in control of the machine to keep everyone safe. The button also changes colors relative to the status of the machine.

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Overview of the M1 Software

The M1 laser/engraving machine uses Creative Space, xTool’s proprietary software, which instructs the machine what and when to do something. The program is not web-based. It requires downloading and installing to be able to use it. You can download it here at no cost.

If you’ve ever used Silhouette Studio or Cricut Design Space programs, you already have a feel of the xTool Creative Space (XCS) interface since they are somewhat similar.

After installation, a connect device prompt appears on the screen. Click it, then select the machine’s name from the pop-up window. The application opens, revealing several design functions.

In fact, it comes with several projects that can be a great resource for beginner crafters. You also have many basic images, shapes, and text at your disposal. Those are located on the left side of the canvas.

You’ll find cutting, engraving, scoring, and material settings to the right. Some options feature additional functions. For instance, clicking the text tool on the right sidebar opens another menu allowing you to adjust specific settings. The best part is that Creative Space is user-friendly, a valuable attribute to both newbies and experienced crafters.

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In my quest for efficiency, I discovered I could use separate design programs and achieve the same results. So, I settled for Adobe Illustrator (Inkscape is equally efficient), worked on my designs then imported them to XCS. The idea also helped me navigate complex projects since XCS is somewhat limited and ideal for simple crafting tasks.

You can also work with free SVGs or opt for purchased files from sites like Design Bundles, Free SVG Designs, HelloSVG, Svg-Etsy, and Creative Fabrica, among others.

Like its peers (Glowforge, Silhouette Studio, and Design Space,) Creative Space supports a wide range of file formats from PNG, JPEG, GIF, SVG, BMP, JPG, DXF, and WEBP. You’re also free to use the program’s editing capabilities to remove the background of an image.

While I preferred using Adobe Illustrator, you might find it a little complicated, especially if you recently launched into the crafting space. I’d recommend using XCS since it provides an easy way to play around with vector points allowing you to create vector designs.

Vector designs are said to possess infinite resolution attributes. As a result, they can accommodate multiple sizes and color adjustments without losing quality, assuring you of crisp designs. Also, creating them is easy.

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The framing function is another key feature of the XCS software. The related button is often located at the bottom right side of the screen. It requires no input from you aside from selecting the button on the software interface and pushing the machine’s button.

A frame show ups outlining the area to be processed. The function helps you to focus on the precise area you want to cut or engrave. It’s such a great time and material-saving function.

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More convenience comes with the super-efficient M1 high-resolution camera. Just place the object or image inside the machine and let the camera do its own thing. After then, import the image to XCS and engrave it!

Worthy of mention is the camera’s AI auto-focus feature. So you don’t have to select the parameters. You can rely on it to achieve impressive levels of precision, particularly when working on small-sized projects or materials

Before processing, however, make sure to select the basic options to enable the machine to auto-select related options and execute the job at hand. To do so, navigate to the right side of the screen, and choose blade or laser. You can navigate to the rotary attachment menu and make necessary adjustments when using the accessory.

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You can manually enter material thickness or select the auto-measure option for your laser projects. The options are also located on the right side of the screen. I found the auto-measure function great when working with other materials outside the xTool brand.

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As mentioned earlier, raisers go in first, then the materials when using the laser. The laser function in XCS allows you to select settings related to triangular prisms before proceeding with your project. Meanwhile, the measurements often auto-adjust, relieving the burden of manual setup off your shoulders.

While the M1 features impressive processing speeds, the timer can be misleading. The program repeatedly underestimated the processing time. I found myself waiting a little longer, which can be inconvenient, especially if you’re tight on time and have multiple projects in the queue.

In addition, the material settings are limited. I had to play around with the function to achieve the best results for each of the materials I worked with—it was a bit time-consuming.

Nonetheless, the program recently came out of beta, and there are high chances the developer will fix the glitches soon.

The blade has to be calibrated too. Else, it will not cut the same location per the live view. Initially, users had to download the calibration software separately, install then restart the Creative Space program.

Further, the calibration software is only compatible with Windows—another hurdle for Mac users like me. Nonetheless, xTool responded to the cry of distress and provided an updated program. The new version allowed me to calibrate my blade within XCS.

Xtool M1 Materials

Endless possibilities abound with the M1 hybrid laser and cutting machine. From achieving clean-cut objects to precisely engraved objects and the ability to handle a wide range of materials, I had every reason to invest in it. So, which materials can the machine take on?

Note: the list in each category is not exhaustive since xTool keeps testing and adding newly approved materials on its website. You can make it your go-to source of evergreen information.

The M1 Laser Cutting Materials

  • Wood (walnut, maple, and cherry)
  • Draft-board
  • Bamboo
  • Basswood
  • Acrylic (some colors including black, green, yellow, and orange)
  • Some fabric products
  • Leather
  • Most paper

M1 Blade Cutting Materials

  • Paper
  • Kraft paper
  • Sticker paper
  • Fabric
  • Cardboard
  • Faux leather
  • Felt
  • Adhesive vinyl
  • Heat transfer vinyl (HTV/Iron-on Vinyl)

The M1 Laser Engraving Materials

  • Glass
  • Ceramic
  • Paper
  • Sticker paper
  • Wood
  • Cardboard
  • Bamboo
  • Acrylic
  • Fabric
  • Slate coasters
  • Felt
  • Cork
  • Painted metal
  • Stainless steel

Masking Your Materials

As mentioned earlier, some materials are more susceptible to charring (“burnt edges”) than others. I also noticed an interesting relationship between wattage and charring—an increased laser wattage means higher chances of burning your materials.

The reason is that my CO2 lasers almost always burn my projects, forcing me to mask burn-prone areas. My experience with M1, however, was different. Given the lower wattage, I was able to laser cut many materials without masking, and the projects came out great.

Nonetheless, walnut seemed prone to charring. I had to perform several tests to verify my findings. True to my assumptions, my Walnut projects had burn marks. That said, you’ll want to mask your materials to prevent charring.

The straightforward and inexpensive procedure involves wrapping areas susceptible to burning with masking tape. Further, testing is vital. It’ll help you make the necessary adjustments, like slowing the cutting speed or boosting the power.

It’s best to start with simple tests, tune-up, and then proceed to complex ideas. Also, start with the recommended settings, then proceed from there. That way, you can mistake-proof your final product and obtain perfect items.

Most importantly, make sure to write your findings after each round of testing. You can always reference and implement them to save time and materials.

XTool M1 Capabilities

I worked on a few projects to test the machine’s engraving, blade, and laser-cutting capabilities. I used the materials enclosed in the box besides testing with other brands. Overall, the results were excellent.

Here’s a summary of the test results.

Laser Cutting Projects

Important note: Make sure to use the triangular prisms under your material. Also, remember to detach the blade housing from the laser module before cutting with the laser module.

For my laser cutting tests, I tried working with acrylic, a combination of acrylic and adhesive vinyl, natural as well as faux leather, and lastly, basswood.

I had problems with acrylic since the laser is limited and can only cut black, green, yellow, and orange acrylic materials. So, I couldn’t experiment with my favorite colors like clear, white, and grey. I settled for black and made a pair of pretty earrings.

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Next, I used acrylic and adhesive vinyl to create the below tag. I had no problem cutting either material.

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I also tried it with natural leather, and it cut well. However, I was stuck with the settings for some time. After several attempts, however, I got the hang of it, ran the laser, and couldn’t be less happy with the outcome.

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My last attempt was with basswood (3mm). I used standard settings in XCS and had no problems at all. It gave me the best M1 laser cutting experience.

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Laser Cutting & Engraving Projects

The M1 laser produces a powerful beam of light that scores, engraves, or cuts your materials. Remember, “burnt edges” is a common challenge when working with the laser, particularly when handling wood.

So, ensure you have an air assist, alcohol, or masking tape to help you handle any unsightly discoloration. Alternatively, you can use the blade to evade the “burnt edges” problem.

Like with laser cutting, the blade housing needs to be removed before using the engraving function. The triangular raisers are not a prerequisite, however.

My testing journey kicked off with these perfectly engraved artwork magnets made using walnut plywood. I love working with the material since it often produces clear-cut, professionally-looking items.

Now you know why I started with walnut plywood.

The cutting experience was heavenly. However, the engraving process took a bit of time. The results were perfect, so the effort was worth it.

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I also made a paw print tag for my dog’s bin. I used maple hardwood for the front piece and a piece of walnut for the back. By the way, the tag can make a perfect ornament idea. Depending on the use case, you can engrave or score beautiful words to lend it a personalized touch. Sounds like a great gift idea?

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Next, I used basswood to test the M1 laser cutting and engraving capabilities. The machine did an amazing job. Here are the results.

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My third project fetched me the below Christmas Bookmarks. By the way, the software has six designs you can work with. I settled for Snowman Design and used basswood, which engraved and cut nicely.

However, my first two projects had dreadful burn marks. I did some reading and realized I hadn’t selected the ‘Height Raised – Yes option’. I adjusted the specific settings and obtained a clean bookmark! It was an amazing journey of discovery.

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Laser Engraving Projects

The M1 laser can engrave on metal! Remember, it’s strictly engraving and not cutting since metal is sturdy and requires something powerful to cut through.

Armed with this knowledge, I experimented with the sample dog tag from xTool. I chose Heavitas, a simple font that yielded satisfactory results.

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Next, I engraved two wooden kitchen spoons (another timeless gift idea.) I used the kitchen quotes bundle from Creative Fabrica and loved the results.

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I wound up the laser engraving tests with the below-colored aluminum plate I obtained from Zoom Precision. Just like with the spoons, I visited Creative Fabrica, searched around, and settled for the Welcome to the Garden quote. The project turned out quite well.

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Blade Cutting Projects

The blade is suitable for projects involving more delicate materials like PU leather, iron-on, filmed acetate, and adhesive vinyl. The M1 box comes with five 45 degrees blades designed to cut through 5 to 6 mil material thickness.

The market also offers 60 degree blades. Those are ideal for cutting material thicknesses of 6 mils or more.

Before you can start working, the blade has to be placed inside the laser module. The lid must be closed too.

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Following are related steps:

  1. Retrieve the gold housing from beneath your machine (the blade housing is magnetic, therefore, pops out easily)
  2. Remove the rubber cover on one blade
  3. Drop the blade inside the housing (facing out)
  4. Place the housing into the laser module
  5. Choose blade cutting in XSC
  6. Select the type of material you’re working on in XSC

Recall: Like with ScanNcut or Cricut, the thumb rule is–no mats, no blade cutting. Also, the mats are often adhesive on both sides to help them stick on the machine’s cutting surface and prevent the material from moving.

Further, You’ll want to be careful when sticking the mat to avoid wrinkles since they can affect the quality of your products. Remember to keep the backing sheet safe after peeling it off the mat. Then, stick it back before storing it to help preserve the adhesive.

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I used xTool’s heat transfer vinyl (iron-On vinyl or HTV) for my first blade-cutting test. I then visited Creative Fabrica and fetched a lovely butterfly file. I also had to select the blade option and then HTV under the material settings in XCS.

The M1 really shines at this point. It cuts the material at the right depth, relieving users of the burden of working in the settings. I, however, framed the material to ensure the blade cut within my scope.

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My experience with faux leather (sample from xTool) was equally satisfactory. However, I noticed the machine was inefficient with other types of faux leather (I have quite an amount in my craft room.) After further questioning, I realized it was about the thickness.

The sample from xTool was way thinner than what I had in my drawers. I haven’t searched around yet, but I’m skeptical you could find ultra-thin faux leather like the one provided by xTool.

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My next trial was with PU leather. Again, I visited Creative Fabrica and imported a unique Leather Pouch file at no cost. However, the project flopped.

Here’s the sad story.

The project I settled for included a lovely pattern I had planned to engrave on a piece of PU leather. The material was quite thin. The engraving went right through it and into the mat.

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After some research, I realized the trouble stemmed from the settings. I forgot to adjust them to suit the thin PU leather I was working with. I considered giving it another go, then decided against it, given the pungent smell I endured throughout the cutting process.

I may try it out someday, though. So, be sure to check my updates here.

My third project was a print-to-cut job. I was looking to create beautiful stickers, and I wasn’t disappointed. The results were just astounding.

Creative Fabrica was my main source of inspiration for my blade-cutting tests. I found a really nice Christmas Stickers PNG file from the site and uploaded it to the program.

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I also created another batch of stickers using Bee Gnome designs from Creative Fabrica.

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I avoided looking for material and used sticker papers from xTool. The machine was also super-efficient. After printing, the M1 cuts along the resultant cross-registration marks on the paper. Easy-peasy and enjoyable.

My experience with faux leather (sample from xTool) was equally satisfactory. However, I noticed the machine was inefficient with other types of faux leather (I have quite an amount in my craft room.) Further questioning and I realized it was about the thickness.

The sample from xTool was way thinner than what I had in my drawers. I haven’t searched around yet, but I’m skeptical about finding ultra-thin faux leather like the one from xTool.

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I’ve got a soft spot for paper crafting. So, there’s no way I could miss a test along the same line. I opted for card stock and chose an intricate heart design from Creative Fabrica to be sure the M1 could handle the toughest jobs.

The machine delivered exactly what I wanted. However, Creative Space lacks card stock in the material settings tab. I selected Kraft Paper which is the closest alternative to card stock. The idea worked.

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The blade can also handle your PU leather crafting jobs. Here’s what it delivered: two well-defined key tags complete with book rings to securely hold a bunch of keys.

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Similarly, the M1 blade can cut Kraft paper. For this test, I was able to make simple yet elegant envelopes. I’ll use them to keep assorted items like cards and mail.

I also toyed with the idea of making gift card envelopes at this point. I could make as many as I want within no time and save a few dollars. Thanks to the machine’s cutting speed. This is something I will revisit soon.

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xTool M1 vs. Cricut/Silhouette

A fair comparison between the M1 and Cricut/Silhouette might not be easy since the M1 is a hybrid machine with engraving, laser, and blade-cutting abilities. On the other hand, Cricut and Silhouette lack a laser.

So, this section might not fit the description of a comparison. Instead, we’ll examine whether the M1 is the crafting game changer you’ve been hunting for.

Cricut features an adaptive system comprising a wave cutter, blade, scoring wheel, and an engraving tip. The M1, however, is designed to handle a wider material selection. It’s also faster and pretty accurate.

The machine’s high-resolution camera makes it even more desirable. The live view ensures you achieve precisely what you want. In other words, the M1 is more efficient.

On the downside, the camera has little to offer when we narrow it down to blade-cutting jobs. I found it inconvenient that I had to keep calibrating the blade to align it with the live view and then perform multiple tests to ensure the blade would cut per what was showing in XCS.

Meanwhile, you can grab a Cricut or Silhouette, skip the repetitive calibration process and achieve the same goal.

If you’re into paper crafting, I wouldn’t advise you to jump to xTool just to own a hybrid machine. No. Cricut comes with many blades specifically designed to handle paper crafts. It can take on traditional materials like vinyl, paper, HTV, and others more easily than the xTool M1.

In short, a Cricut or Silhouette would make a better choice for blade-cutting projects.

However, if you want to experience the best of both worlds (laser and blade), the M1 is your go-to tool. This is a brilliant idea, particularly if you’re low on cash and obtaining dedicated machines wouldn’t be an option.

Further, the M1 features a generous working space. It’s also designed to accommodate accessories allowing for rotary engraving, a perk lacking in Cricut and Silhouette. That said, you can move forward with the affordable xTool M1 and give yourself time to budget for another machine.

xTool M1 vs. Glowforge

To reiterate, the M1 is a great tool, given its hybrid qualities. However, it’s a diode laser cutting and engraving machine; therefore, it can never be as powerful or fast as CO2-powered lasers like Glowforge. For that reason, I wouldn’t recommend M1 to:

  • An experienced crafter looking to churn out projects quickly
  • Anyone keen on producing large batches of different products
  • Owners of busy online craft shops or websites
  • Those into heavy engraving
  • Crafters focused on Acrylic projects

The mentioned needs can be best satisfied by a CO2 laser. So, Glowforge wins. However, experienced crafters looking to laser-cut or engrave personal items or gifts can invest in the M1. I’d recommend the 10w laser, in particular.

Since I’ve used both machines, I can confidently say the M1 would make a perfect tool for beginner crafters, hobbyists, and the DIY community. Not only is the M1 easier to use, but it is also more versatile than its counterpart—Glowforge.

Where to Buy the xTool M1

You can purchase an M1 from Amazon or directly from the manufacturer’s sites–xTool.com or xTool M1. At the time of writing, the 5W xTool M1 was listed at $ 999, while the 10w M1 retailed at $1299.

Those are the MSRP prices, however. The manufacturer frequently offers discounts on either machine. So, keep an eye on xTool’s site before buying to help you save even more.

Final Words

As I opened the xTool M1 box, I was quite skeptical about the machine’s performance. Thanks to the negative reviews I’d read before its arrival. However, I was blown away when I took it out of the box. I loved the size, color, and design in general.

Then followed the setup step, which was pretty straightforward, quick, and required no tool from start to finish. On turning it on, the machine was quiet and ideal for home use which was a plus. At that point, I couldn’t wait to test its performance.

Although I had a few challenges, the testing phase was another memorable experience. The projects turned out well, dealing a blow to my fears. My only reservation would be the speed of the machine. The M1 is slower than my Cricut and Glowforge, regardless of whether you use the blade or laser.

It’s something I noticed when working with acrylic. While my CO2 laser requires about 2 minutes, the M1 took over 20 minutes to complete the task. Therefore, I ruled out the possibility of using the M1 to mass-produce products with a quick turnaround time.

In addition, the xTool M1 requires a lot of testing, which consumes time and materials. Therefore, you might find it taxing when starting your crafting journey. However, this is a temporary challenge since you can note the settings after each round of testing and reference them later.

Overall, the M1 is a deal-breaker given its competitive price, yet it can laser cut, engrave and blade cut a wide range of materials, including metal and wood! By the way, the M1 is the world’s first hybrid laser-cutting machine. I consider it a genius innovation!

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