In the test: Atomstack A10 Pro - strong, safe and high quality

Review: Atomtack A10 Pro

Lately I've had a test report on one or the other laser cutter or laser engraver in the blog from time to time. Today, however, there is a report on a special device: the Atomstack A10 Pro, which the manufacturer sent me for testing. Why is he so special? Because with 10 watts of optical output power, it's pretty much insanely powerful.

I just cut cardboard with the settings that I used to operate the other laser cutters before and suddenly a lot of smoke came out of the cutting area. I thought I'd stop the job, but the smoke grew more and more until I realized that the cardboard had caught fire from the laser.

With 10 watts of optical output power, the Atomstack A10 Pro is the most powerful laser I have tested so far. Read here in the test report how I find the laser cutter and engraver overall and what advantages and disadvantages it offers (photos: Sir Apfelot).

With 10 watts of optical output power, the Atomstack A10 Pro is the most powerful laser I have tested so far. Read here in the test report how I find the laser cutter and engraver overall and what advantages and disadvantages it offers (photos: Sir Apfelot).

Flying sparks when lasering stones

Making cardboard burn doesn't justify buying a $560 laser cutter, but my next try was a simple dirt road rock that I lasered with a simple circle.

Sparks flew during the laser engraving, which was probably due to the type of mineral. Luckily there was no fire, but an amazingly clean cut in the stone, which I didn't expect. I was thinking that there might be discoloration on the surface that might attack the upper rock, but that the Atomstack laser actually cuts the rock, which is beyond my expectation.

It was hard to capture, but here are two sparks that flew off while working on my stone (Photos: Sir Apfelot).

It was hard to capture, but here are two sparks that flew off while working on my stone (Photos: Sir Apfelot).

Specifications of the Atomstack A10 Pro

  • Item Model Number: Atomstack A10 Pro
  • Manufacturer: Atomstack
  • Engraving these materials: wood, bamboo, cardboard, plastic, leather, circuit board, aluminum oxide, non-reflective, electroplating layer and metal paint surface layer, 304 mirror stainless steel, glass, ceramics, cotton cloth, slate
  • Cutting these materials: cardboard, non-woven fabric, wood board, acrylic, thin plastic sheets, sponge
  • Laser Power: 50W
  • Laser output power: 10-11W
  • Wavelength: 445 +/- 5nm
  • Air-Assist: yes and no, built-in fan in the laser head; but there is a more powerful air-assist kit here to buy (€30 discount with code: 30FZBANX)
  • Engraving area: 410*400mm
  • Emergency stop: Yes
  • Reset Switch: Yes
  • Engraving Accuracy: 0,01mm
  • Focusing method: fixed focus laser, no need to focus
  • Operating software: LaserGRBL, LightBurn, support Win XP/Win 7/Win 8/XP/Win 10 system.
  • Input format: NC, BMP, JPG, PNG, DXF, etc.
  • Data transfer method: USB connection or SD card
  • Input voltage: AC100-240V, 50/60Hz
  • Power adapter output voltage: DC12V, 5A
  • Laser sintering temperature: up to 1200℃
  • Auto Home Stop: yes
  • Protective glass on the side of the laser
  • Engraving without a computer: yes, via touch display and SD card
  • Software (not included): LaserGRBL, supports Win XP / Win 7 / Win 8 / XP / Win 10 / Win 11 system; LightBurn, supports Windows/Mac OS/Linux
  • Price: approx. 550 EUR at Amazon (currently available with a 70 Euro discount; code "ZBANX70F")

What's in the box

  • Atomstack kit made up of various parts
  • necessary tool
  • power cable
  • Power Supplies
  • USB cable
  • USB-Stick
  • Aluminum protective plate (30 x 39 cm)
The Atomstack A10 Pro comes in a relatively small package and is then assembled by the user - but don't worry: you don't have to solder, just plug cables together and turn screws. All the tools are included.

The Atomstack A10 Pro comes in a relatively small package and is then assembled by the user - but don't worry: you don't have to solder, just plug cables together and turn screws. All the tools are included.

 

Here you can see the individual parts that are put together to form the finished Atomstack A10 Pro.

Here you can see the individual parts that are put together to form the finished Atomstack A10 Pro.

Building and setting up the Atomstack A10 Pro

I have to admit that I found it a little difficult to set up, because the instructions are quite extensive and also available in German, but some of the drawings are a bit small and don't really show what to do. Ultimately, this video helped me here, which shows the individual steps for the construction and a small test of the laser:

After a good 30 minutes I had finished the laser and was ready for the first use.

Driver installation required on Mac

Unfortunately, after starting Lightburn on my Mac, I got stuck a second time, because for the Atomstack A10 Pro you have to install a driver on the Mac, which was not the case with the other laser cutters before. Without a driver, Lightburn cannot find the laser and even after manually attaching the laser device, the message "Disconnected" only appears.

If you are looking for the driver, you will find it here in the downloads under "CH340 Driver (Mac OS)":

https://www.atomstack.com/download/

After installing the driver, I restarted it to be on the safe side, and then the laser with the name "cu.wchusbserial41410" was listed in Lightburn directly in the selection box next to the "Device button". As soon as you select this device or this port, you also get the feedback “ready” (instead of “disconnected”).

Strong but loud - the Atomstack A10 Pro

The box for the control is installed on the front of the laser, on which you can also find the emergency stop switch. The control electronics of the laser are housed in this box and obviously they have to be well cooled, because as soon as you switch on the laser, a rather loud fan runs - regardless of whether the laser is cutting or not.

Cheap air assist built into the laser module

The fan noise is a bit annoying as it actually makes a lot of noise. The reason you hear a fan is a good one though, as it is responsible for the Air Assist feature, which is beneficial for cutting and engraving. Air-Assist is the active air flow that blows the smoke away from the laser beam when lasering. This prevents the laser beam from fanning out through the particles and creating an unclean cutting or engraving image.

And I haven't had Air-Assist in any other laser cutter that I've tested. So I was a bit surprised by the fan noise. Incidentally, I did not manage to deactivate the fan in the laser head with the Air Assist switch. I assume this is hardwired and just runs continuously.

Update 15.09.2022/10/XNUMX: The fan in the laser head is a kind of "cheap air assist". If you are looking for a real air assist for the Atomstack AXNUMX Pro, you will find it here at Amazon and get a discount of 30 euros with the code "30FZBANX".

The control panel of the Atomstack A10 Pro is very practical, the cables should have been routed out to the side, but the emergency stop button is very useful in case of an emergency.

The control panel of the Atomstack A10 Pro is very practical, the cables should have been routed out to the side, but the emergency stop button is very useful in case of an emergency.

Workmanship and design

There is nothing to complain about here, but rather something to praise, because the aluminum elements that make up the laser are all blue anodized and look pretty classy. The rods and connections seem very stable to me and overall the workmanship makes a quite high-quality impression.

The control box on the front is made quite nicely and includes the power switch, the reset button, the SD card compartment, the emergency stop button and the sockets for power supply and USB cable.

On the side you will find a socket that connects the control panel to a touch screen. When not in use, the screen can be magnetically attached to the control box. Thanks to the spiral cable, the whole thing still looks very tidy.

Jobs that are transmitted via an SD card can be configured and started via the touch display. This works completely without a computer in the background.

Jobs that are transmitted via an SD card can be configured and started via the touch display. This works completely without a computer in the background.

Panoramic protective window on the laser head

According to Atomstack, laser safety goggles are not absolutely necessary for using the laser, as the laser head is shielded on all sides. It even has a blue panoramic protective glass on one side, through which you can watch the work, but which shields the laser very well, making it safe for the user.

The built-in protective glass in the laser module is a thing that you won't appreciate until you've done a few jobs with the Atomstack A10 Pro. At some point I stopped wearing glasses all the time because I think the glass is quite safe. Other modules also have such glasses, but these are never completely closed, so that a laser beam can still escape from the sides.

The panoramic protective window is very helpful in everyday life, since you can actually get by without laser safety glasses.

The panoramic protective window is very helpful in everyday life, since you can actually get by without laser safety glasses.

Engraving and cutting with the Atomstack A10 Pro

Of course, these two points are interesting: How does the laser ultimately perform in practice and what do the results look like when cutting and engraving.

At this point I would like to point out once again: Be careful with combustible materials. The output power of the laser is really high and due to the air supply via Air-Assist, it sets materials on fire faster than you can see. For this reason, I use a lower output power, higher speed and multiple passes with combustible materials so that the laser does not have a long impact on one point.

My "ancient goddess", which I generated in Midjourney, has been engraved here with a width of about 5 cm.

My "ancient goddess", which I generated in Midjourney, has been engraved here with a width of about 5 cm. Kind of reminds me of C64 pictures: You can only look from further away, because the dithering works better if you're not too close.

Fake fossils with the Atomstack A10 Pro

After the near-fire, I also wanted to create something meaningful and downloaded a fish fossil from the internet, which I adjusted with a little more contrast. The ulterior motive was that I would laser this drawing onto a rock and it might look like a fossil.

The high temperatures generated by the Atomstack A10 Pro at 80% power are sufficient to slightly melt the rock. As a result, the lasered areas have become dark, giving the impression of petrification. I'd say the project was a hit and my kids also said it looked pretty real.

My small, finished fake fossil - I'll leave it up to you whether it's a success... I think it looks pretty good.

My small, finished fake fossil - I'll leave it up to you whether it's a success... I think it looks pretty good.

cutting stone? Doesn't really work...

Let's start with the stone. I got a gravel stone from the dirt road and just wanted to use it to test whether the laser can cut stone.

At first it looked as if there was actually a cut in the stone, but this only appeared to be the case because, unlike wood, stone does not evaporate as quickly and therefore does not form a groove. Instead, the material obviously melts but is not eroded. Even after lasering 30 times over the same line, I couldn't show a great cutting success.

Stone can therefore be used for engraving, but cutting should only work if it is a really thin stone slab of maybe one millimeter.

Cutting stone doesn't work because the material "only" melts but doesn't vaporize, which is why the laser beam can't penetrate any further.

Cutting stone doesn't work because the material "only" melts but doesn't vaporize, which is why the laser beam can't penetrate any further.

Cutting 3 mm plywood – no problem

I did a few experiments on how best to cut plywood with the Atomstack A10 Pro. My 3mm sheet of plywood doesn't really pose a problem for the laser, but I like to do a little testing with different speeds and number of passes.

I ended up with 80% laser power, 600 mm/min speed and 3 passes. Then the cut was clean and the motif was no longer attached to any corner. You can see that the laser has a high level of accuracy in the individual passes, since it did not deviate visibly from the first cutting line.

Plywood with a thickness of 3 millimeters can be cut from the Atomstack without any problems. For this I drive at higher speed and several times over the material so that the wood does not burn.

Plywood with a thickness of 3 millimeters can be cut from the Atomstack without any problems. For this I drive at higher speed and several times over the material so that the wood does not burn.

Slight inaccuracy when finishing the job in between

In another test, I didn't do consecutive runs, but started the job with one run and then started the same job three more times to see how the lines differ here.

In this test, there was actually a deviation of approx. 1 mm, with the subsequent runs repeatedly loading precisely on the first cut. I either bumped into the table unintentionally or there was another reason for this discrepancy.

Important: if you just pause the job, nothing will happen in that direction as the laser head will continue exactly where it left off.

It's just to show that maybe you shouldn't expect that - once the laser has returned to the start position after a complete job - you shouldn't expect to engrave or cut 100% exactly congruently when you start again.

It only happens very rarely, but I once had the laser head move about 1 mm after starting the same job repeatedly.

It only happens very rarely, but I once had the laser head move about 1 mm after starting the same job repeatedly.

Cutting 20 mm wood? advertising promises…

In the specifications and elsewhere I read that the laser can cut wood up to 20 mm thick. I tried this and it didn't work. I still allow eight millimeters, which was shown in a YouTube video with an authentic test report, but it can't be more with the included laser.

The reason for this is that the laser beam fans out again very quickly and it is visibly "blurred" after about a centimeter below the surface of the workpiece and thus loses its cutting effect. In my photo you can see a cut through a wooden floorboard, with the "tongue" being offset about 1 cm down. It is clearly visible that the line is sharply delimited at the top, while it is already approx. 1 millimeter wide in the lower left area.

Of course, when the laser's energy spreads out over a larger area, it can no longer cut wood effectively, and it becomes more difficult to do so as the depth of cut increases.

Laser modules are usually offered for cutting materials, which have a beam that remains focused for longer. Modules like this one that comes with the Atomstack A10 Pro are more suited to engraving work.

In this photo you can see how the laser beam fans out significantly in the left area due to the greater distance and no longer produces a clean line. This is the case with laser modules that are specifically designed for engraving.

In this photo you can see how the laser beam fans out significantly in the left area due to the greater distance and no longer produces a clean line. This is the case with laser modules that are specifically designed for engraving.

High detail in engraving

Of course, engraving motifs is one of the main areas of application for a laser. With a spot size of 0,01 mm (diameter), the Atomstack A10 Pro also reproduces small details very well. Of course, the built-in Air-Assist is worth its weight in gold here, as it protects the laser beam from contamination.

Incidentally, the two engraved photos were both created by me with the artificial intelligence Midjourney. How good the details are can perhaps be seen from the close-ups. Surely there could have been more by playing with the speed and max power a bit more, but I didn't have time to tinker here any further right now.

Here you can see my samurai cat as a motif in Lightburn with the appropriate settings for engraving.

Here you can see my samurai cat as a motif in Lightburn with the appropriate settings for engraving.

 

Here is the samurai cat on plywood - unfortunately I turned the intensity up a bit which is why there are those burnt edges.

Here is the samurai cat on plywood - unfortunately I turned the intensity up a bit which is why there are those burnt edges.

 

The cat's eye is smaller than a 1 cent coin. This gives you a small impression of the resolution of the Atomstack A10 Pro Laser (photos: Sir Apfelot).

The cat's eye is smaller than a 1 cent coin. This gives you a small impression of the resolution of the Atomstack A10 Pro Laser (photos: Sir Apfelot).

My conclusion on the Atomstack A10 Pro

The Atomstack A10 Pro is not exactly a cheap model and is therefore perhaps more intended for the ambitious beginner. With the built-in Air-Assist you have beautiful engraving results and the laser power of 10 watts cuts excellently through various materials.

What I always miss with the lasers - also here with the Atomstack - is a "laser fire button", as it is called in Lightburn. So a low-intensity laser point that you use to see exactly where you're lasering. If I'm engraving on a small stone, I could tell if I'm working halfway down the middle. But this feature seems to be reserved for the really expensive devices.

The high processing quality, the large work surface, the emergency stop button, the security window and the chic look are plus points for me that speak for the Atomstack.

Unfortunately, I keep underestimating the performance of the A10 Pro and then the engravings, like here, tend to be structural images, since the laser removes the upper 1-2 mm of the wood.

Unfortunately, I keep underestimating the performance of the A10 Pro and then the engravings, like here, tend to be structural images, since the laser removes the upper 1-2 mm of the wood.

If you like working with an SD card and less directly with the computer, you will definitely be happy about the operation via the touch display. I hardly used it because I always send jobs directly to the laser with Lightburn on the Mac.

I can only recommend the Atomstack. It is not the cheapest option to start with, but you also get a higher quality and very safe version - unlike many cheap models.

You can find the Atomstack A10 Pro here on amazon (70 EUR discount with code "ZBANX70F"):

ATOMSTACK A10 PRO 50W laser engraving machine, offline engraving laser engraving device, 10W laser head ...
  • ☑️【Ultimate Laser Engraving Beast】 The laser dot range of ATOMSTACK A10 Pro laser engraver is 0,06mm....
  • ☑️【Offline engraving support】 The laser cutter A10 PRO configures a terminal control panel for ...
  • ☑️【Precise, solid and easy assembly】 The ATOMSTACK A10 Pro laser engraver and cutter uses ...
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2 comments

  1. Christine says:

    Hi Jens,

    For a while I've been looking for clues as to whether I can feed the atom stack from a memory card (because I don't have the computer next to the laser and WiFi is too far away). I finally found a sentence in your article that gives me hope!
    Well, that works: Create a file on the Mac, copy it to the card and have it engraved by the laser.
    Which program do I need for this on the Mac?
    And would FreeCAD also be suitable (because I already have a lot of experience with it)?
    Thank you and continued success!

    • Jen Kleinholz says:

      Hello Christine! Yes, that's how it works. You can create a file on Mac. If you have a program that can output SVG or DXF, then the laser doesn't care what you used to create them. Then you slide the card into the laser and can work your way through the control panel and make settings. I haven't tested how "comfortable" it is though. VG, Jens

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