Everything you need to know in this xTool M1 Review if you are looking for a beginning laser engraving and cutting machine.
Thank you to xTool for sending me this M1 machine to review. All opinions are my own
If you know me, you know that I love my Cricut cutting machines. And I have for years. I use them almost everyday. Having them out in my office makes crafting up a quick gift or card or project really easy. And I find I use them more when they are already out and ready to use.
But, I have been wanting to try my hand at laser engraving and cutting for the longest time. It looks so fun and I love all the possibilities that come with a laser cutting machine. So I was excited when xTool reached out and asked if I’d like to review the new M1 smart laser engraver and cutting machine.
It’s like the best of both worlds! A cutting machine, but also a laser engraver and cutter. Plus it was desk top size so wouldn’t need a lot of space in my craft room.
What’s Included in the xTool M1 Box
The xTool M1 comes with everything you need to get started right away. You will definitely want to purchase some other materials, but you don’t have to wait to try it out once you open up the box. Inside you will find:
Power Plug Unit and Power Cord
Usb plug to connect to your computer and your machine
Variety of Materials – metal dog tag, basswood, vinyl, faux leather
Triangle prisms to lift material off the bottom to promote air flow and prevent sparks or flames or smoke
Filter/vent tube and clamp
Really it comes with everything you need to get started right away and practice using the xTool M1 and a variety of materials.
To get the machine ready for use, attach the vent to the back of the machine with the screws. Then place the tube over the vent and secure it with the clamp.
Put together the power cord and the power pack. Plug the necessary end into the xTool M1 and then plug it in to the wall to power it up. Then you will need to use the usb cable to connect the machine to your computer.
What Software Do I Use With xTool M1
To use the machine you will need to download the software. This is really easy to do and has options for both Mac OS and Pc OS. Find the software to download on their website.
What I liked about the software was that it was easy to use once it was downloaded. It was pretty basic, which means you don’t need any fancy design skills to get started.
But it also had the capability of uploading my own designs. That is a big plus in my book. That means the design possibilities truly are endless.
What Materials Can I Use With xTool M1
As mentioned above, the xTool M1 is a dual purpose machine that cuts like a Cricut or Silhouette as well as an engraving and laser cutting machine. It is capable of cutting so many materials. And comes with everything you need to get started. You can make things like engraved boards, laser cut wood magnets, and even heat transfer vinyl to make t-shirts.
Plus there are attachments that you can purchase to work with even more types of material and products. Think engraved rolling pins or tumblers!
For laser cutting and engraving, here are the types of materials the M1 can use with the laser capabilities:
For blade cutting, the M1 uses the 45 degree blades to cut:
- Faux Leather
- Heat Transfer Vinyl
- Adhesive Vinyl
I do wish the machine came with a quick reference guide card of some sort to show what materials can be used with what cutting ability as well as settings and notes to get started with that material.
But it can cut even more than what is listed above. But they do have that on their website so you can see all the materials and settings for the xTool M1.
How Does The xTool M1 Work
I decided to use a couple of the materials that came with the package to try out. First I used the dog tag.
Now, when engraving, you really don’t need a cutting mat. The cutting mats are only for holding down material that you will be cutting with the blade. Remember, this machine is dual purpose. Laser engraving and cutting, plus blade cutting.
I did a little learning along the way when I was testing out the machine, materials and software. And I soon realized I didn’t need to use a cutting mat with these projects. I thought i needed to stick the material to the mat so it wouldn’t move. But that is not the case. It will not move when engraving.
Place the material into the machine and the software will take a photo of the inside and bring it up onto your screen in the Creative Space Software. The software was not really difficult to understand. If you’ve used a cutting machine of any kind before, you will get how easy it is to use.
And even if you haven’t, there may be a bit of a learning curve, but you will be able to figure it out for sure. Just make sure you find the right material and the right function (cutting, engraving, etc.) before you hit start on your project.
I selected the type tool and added the name of the dog I was making the tag for. Once it was one the screen I could adjust the size, font and location right in the software.
I resized it, changed the font to something a little more bold and dragged it and dropped it onto the tag as it was shown on the mat. I selected the material from the drop down menu on the right hand side, and made sure it was set to engrave.
I hit process and the machine light started blinking letting me know that it was going to get to work. It was really fun to watch the engraving happening. It did take a couple minutes to complete.
But it did an amazing job on the metal dog tag! I think it turned out great and it was super easy to do.
Next I wanted to use the 3mm basswood. I was able to upload a design I had created using a png format design, into the Creative Space Software.
Again I placed the basswood into the xTool M1 and the wood showed up in the software so I could resize and move my design to where I wanted it cut from the material.
This one was a little bit tricky since I was going to be engraving and cutting. I was able to highlight the design and select an outline to show where I would need the pieces cut. They show up in layers so you can choose a different task for each layer.
These mermaid tales turned out great! It did bass the engraving on the color of the design I imported. The tale on the right was red in color and not very contrasting in the details. So just make sure you have a good contrast in your design when you upload it.
You will need to use the triangle prisms for a project like this. It needs the air circulation to keep the dust and smoke down. So place the triangles on the bottom and the wood on top of them.
Also, you will need to make sure you are able to vent the xTool M1. Especially when doing engraving and cutting of these materials. You can vent the machine out of a window, or use the xTool smoke purifier if you aren’t able to place it close to a window.
Should I Get A xTool M1
There is still so much I need to try with this machine. But this xTool M1 review definitely shares with you the basics of the machine and how to get started.
Overall I think this is a great machine! I love the dual purpose of laser and blade. That allows for so many options when it comes to projects and materials you can use.
It is a great size for a counter top or craft room, but I do wish it had the capability to be bluetooth. Having to be connected to my desk top made it a little awkward since I don’t have a lot of space on my desk, or access to vent through a window. But if those two things are not an issue for you, or you have a laptop you could use to connect to it, I can’t recommend it enough.
Plus it is a good price for a starting laser cutting machine. You can get the xTool M1 10 W like I have for under $1000. That is a great price for a beginning laser cutting machine.
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