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Years ago I dealt with the topic of laser cutters and laser engravers for home use, but the devices were simply too expensive back then. For this reason I hadn't dealt with it any further, although I find the technology itself very exciting.
The request from Ortur, who contacted me a few weeks ago to ask whether I would like to test their new entry-level model “Aufero Laser 1”, came in very handy. Of course, I couldn't say no, but I had some concerns, as I actually have no idea about such devices and therefore don't know what to look out for.
The Aufero Laser 1 is a great device - and above all cheap and easy to set up (even with Macs!). It goes directly to the shop Right this way.
Ortur has a few special offers and extras ready for early orders:
Go to the Ortur shop via this link.
Even if Ortur made the laser engraving machine available to me free of charge for the test, you can still rely on me to give a neutral and unadorned evaluation of the device here.
I myself enjoy reading practical reports like this and I know how shabby it is when people sing praises of devices for money that they have hardly tried. I won't see that on my blog. Promised!
Before we go into the details, I would like to briefly list the technical specifications of the mini laser engraver.
You can't say it often enough: Please always wear the laser protective goggles supplied, because if you get the beam in your eye for even a fraction of a second, the retina is over. Sometimes it is enough with lasers if you just look at the bright point on a surface to get permanent eye damage.
To get started with the Auffror Laser 1 you really don't have to be a skilled person. The model arrives in a well-padded package and in principle all you have to do before you start using it is to attach the desired laser head, attach the laser protection with two screws, plug in two cables and connect the power supply unit and computer - done.
For the Windows PC you can use the free software LaserGRBL use to send his creative effusions to the laser engraver. For the Mac, unfortunately, only the paid software Lightburn is recommended or you can - as I read in a forum - download the Snapmaker software. In Snapmaker you can cancel the assistant and then enter the data of the Aufero Laser 1 yourself in the "Work area" field:
I used Lightburn with the 30 day test period, but ran straight into a problem: My MacBook Pro (Intel) and my MacBook Pro (M1) both found the Aufero Laser 1, but then kept showing that it is "disconnected" .
I wrote to the support for a long time and at some point I plugged my wife's 2013 iMac into it because it still has the USB-A ports and I don't need a USB-C adapter. Lo and behold: Lightburn finds the Aufero Laser 1 and I can also burn test images in wood.
The funniest thing about the whole thing is: When I plugged the laser engraver back into my MacBook Pro, on which it originally didn't work, I suddenly got a connection and was able to address the Aufero Laser 1 on this Mac as well. Why is a mystery to me, but suddenly it worked.
In my tester package of the Aufero Laser 1 there were three different laser modules that can be attached to the device. With the loosening of a screw and a cable connector, the matter is done.
If you buy the device in the shop, you usually choose a set with one of these three modules and do not receive all three.
The reason why you have several lasers available are different applications: You can either laser grayscale images or lettering or cut materials completely.
I have briefly listed the recommendations for using the laser modules here:
Which laser module should you take now? In my opinion, the LU2-2 is not versatile enough because it is hardly suitable for cutting. The LU2-4 LF is very good for cutting and also passable for engraving. But in my opinion the best all-rounder is the LU2-4 SF module, as it also has the smallest focal point and can therefore laser the finest structures.
However, if you mainly want to cut, you should use the LU2-4 LF, as you have the Air Assist option here.
The concept of Air Assist is the method of guiding a stream of air through a nozzle, which ensures that the smoke that is generated during the laser is blown away by the laser beam as quickly as possible.
Little smoke in the beam helps prevent the laser from being scattered. As a result, the cuts are finer and more power is applied to the object.
The Aufero Laser 1 has a metal nozzle that can be attached to the LU2-4-LF module. A small adapter and a plastic hose are also included so that you only have to such an aquarium pump - preferably quietly needed to provide the appropriate air supply.
If you want to engrave with the Aufero Laser 1, you will be pleased that you can process a large number of materials with it. In the case of reflective or light-colored material such as metal, it is advisable to coat it with a dark paint beforehand so that the laser beam transfers more heat to the material. Otherwise, multiple passes are a good choice to process the surface more than the laser normally could.
At this point a tip that I picked up from a tutorial on YouTube: The laser power should always be set to a value below 80 percent in the program. This extends the service life of the laser diode and instead you can simply do two passes with 50 percent some.
But here is the list of materials that can be processed:
Of course, you have to tinker a bit the first time you use the Aufero Laser 1. I had no idea how to focus the laser, what settings to change or how to get a picture in Lightburn.
For this reason, I took an old board from our pile of construction site timber and simply lasered it off a bit.
The results were frankly impressive. I had only made one run with the cheapest laser module (LU2-2), and they were okay, but not quite that good.
Next I attached the LU2-4-SF (for short focus = short focal length) and engraved it and was just blown away. I quickly downloaded a photo from Pixabay, imported the file into Lightburn without any conversion and then reduced it to a width of about 3 cm.
After trying things out at different speeds and maximum performance values, I found a good combination and in two minutes a mini image was burned into my test wood - in a breathtaking resolution.
With the lettering, the module with its short focal length also provides extremely sharp lines. If you need a little more "volume" here, you should either use the inexpensive laser module (LU2-2) or create the lettering with thicker lines as a graphic and then have it lasered. But that's actually more of a subtlety that affects Lightburn.
One problem with me is that I always have way too many boxes lying here. But finally I have a use for it, because with the Aufero Laser 1 you can also cut cardboard - and really well.
For the test I used the LU2-4 LF module with long focus and 5,5 watts of power. I set the laser power to 80% and the cutting speed to 2000 mm per minute. The last setting is that the whole job is carried out four times in order to also achieve a sufficient cutting depth.
Then I downloaded a star shape in SVG format (vector format) from the network, dragged it into Lightburn and started the job.
The result knocked me (and my wife) off my chair. The edges are cut super-neatly and the cuts themselves are hair-thin. Absolutely impressive. I already know that a few Christmas decorations will be made with it, because cutting out lettering or other filigree shapes is definitely not a problem for the Aufero Laser 1 - I think the photos speak for themselves.
If you don't know Aufero yet and have concerns about the manufacturing quality, you can rest assured. Aufero is a brand of Ortur - which is a well-known figure on the brand for laser cutters and engraving machines. The compatibility with the common software is also given, since the Aufero devices work with the GRBL control software and thus rely on an open format.
With a work surface of 18 x 18 centimeters, the Aufero Laser 1 offers a lot of possibilities. In addition, it can not only engrave, but also cut craft wood up to 6 or 8 millimeters.
You can use it to cut out beautiful puzzles or decorative items, which will be especially exciting when I am doing handicrafts with my kids. In any case, my daughter already has a lot of projects in mind for Christmas.
If you want to buy the Aufero Laser 1, you can do this via the Ortur shop - preferably quickly, because you can still get a decent discount until November 17.11.2021, XNUMX.
If you order the device, you should pay attention to three things:
Unfortunately, I can't set direct links to certain variants, that's the point via this link, selects the EU version and the corresponding laser module.
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.