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With so many full-on home improvement projects going on, it’s nice to focus on the smaller details for a change and our new tool – an xTool M1 laser and blade cutter – has allowed us to get creative and make some gorgeous new additions to our home.
And, we might have gotten a bit carried away as I’ve not stopped creating things since it arrived a couple of weeks ago. I’ve already made a lampshade, some super cute napkin rings, a personalised bag for Morph’s dog toys, a spring wreath with paper flowers and some Easter decorations.
If like us you’d not heard of the xTool M1 until now, don’t worry, we’re sharing everything you need to know including some more craft ideas and templates for you to download so that you can make these crafts at home, too.
What is the xTool M1 Hybrid Laser Cutter?
The xTool M1 is a hybrid laser and blade-cutting machine. It looks a bit like a home printer but it’s actually the world’s first machine that integrates laser cutting, laser engraving and blade cutting into one machine.
You can cut and engrave a huge range of materials without having to switch machines or even the blade. Just place what you want to cut or engrave into the machine and select either the laser or the blade from the drop-down menu in the software.
What’s in the Box?
The xTool M1 comes in a huge box with lots to unpack and look at and, for someone who has never had a cutting machine or laser cutter before, I felt like I had no idea where to start. I shouldn’t have worried, though.
The xTool M1 is very intuitive to use and comes with everything you need to start crafting straight away.
We have the xTool M1 – 10W Deluxe(RA2) model which includes:
Design & Features
The xTool M1 is a sleek-looking white box roughly the size of a large home printer that easily fits on a shelf. You require a bit of space at the back and top as it has an exhaust and you need to be able to lift the lid to place things into it.
xTool M1 Stats and Measurements
You can check out all of the detailed specs on the xTool website but what you probably want to know is what you can cut and engrave and ultimately make with it.
- Size of Machine: 55.7 x 45.3 x 23 cm
- xTool M1 Working Area: 385 x 300mm
- Laser & Blade: 10W diode laser (it’s also available as a 5W version but we definitely recommend the 10W one) and 45° blades
- 16MP built-in camera
- Connects to your computer via USB(B) or Wifi
- Works with MacOS and Windows
- Weight: 9.8kg
What Type of Laser does the xTool M1 Use?
We have the xTool M1 10W version which has a 10W diode laser that’s powerful enough to cut through 10mm wood and 3mm acrylic in one pass giving you lots of flexibility to create great projects quickly.
xTool M1 Safety Features
The M1 is enclosed and has a built-in fan with an exhaust pipe that you can hang out of a window or door to blow away smoke and dust. The lid of the machine also has a blue light filter to protect your eyes when using the laser.
As safe as the machine is to use, you will still smell smoke and have fumes. That’s why we recommend investing in the xTool Smoke Purifier if you will be using the machine a lot. The smoke purifier has a 3-layer filtration system and HEPA filter to achieve a 99.97% purification rate to make sure your air is as clean and safe as possible.
Getting Started with the xTool M1
xTool M1 Firest Set Up
1. Unpack the machine
After unpacking everything our first impressions were great.
The xTool M1 (10W Deluxe RA2) comes with a vast amount of accessories and supplies. It also feels and looks high-quality and is very easy to set up.
2. Connect the exhaust
The machine arrives assembled, so all you have to do is connect the exhaust pipe to the back. Place the pipe over the outlet at the back and clamp it in place with the included gripper. You don’t need any tools and it’s easy to do.
3. Install the software
Download and install the creative space software from the xTool website. It’s available for both Windows and MacOS.
4. Connect your xTool M1 to the computer
The first time you use the machine, you will have to connect it to your computer with a USB cable. After the initial setup, you can use Wifi to connect to the xTool M1.
The xTool M1 comes with a USB-B cable which, if you have a newer computer, could be a bit problematic as most now only have USB-C connections.
I used my external monitor (that has lots of connections including USB-B) as a hub to connect my laptop to the xTool M1 but you could easily use any other hub or adapter if you have the same problem.
That’s all there is to it. It takes about 10 minutes to unpack and set up from start to finish and you can then start using it straight away.
How to use the xTool M1
I had so many questions about how the M1 works and how to actually make things with it but it’s honestly so easy to use.
Just place your material into the machine, position what you want to cut or engrave in the software and select the material and cutting settings from the drop-down menu in the software before pressing the start button.
It really is that simple.
Having never used a blade cutter or laser cutter before, one of the biggest questions I had, when it came to using the machine, is how to know where it will cut or engrave your material.
I was worried I’d end up spending forever measuring where things have to go or waste loads of material but the xTool M1 has a 16MP camera that shows you your workspace and any material in it so that you can easily move your design around and align what you want to cut or engrave with your material.
The camera also has a batch-processing feature where it recognises the layout of your items in the machine and automatically positions your design on all of them. It’s a great feature, especially if you’re making lots of the same item.
Which xTool M1 Settings work best?
Which settings to use will depend on what you are cutting or engraving.
We generally stuck with the recommended setting which worked fine almost all of the time. The xTool M1 also has a built-in laser that automatically measures the thickness of the material you’re using which helps when choosing the correct settings for your xTool projects.
To give you a better idea of what to expect, we’re sharing the exact settings we used for each project we’re sharing down below.
What can the xTool M1 Cut and Engrave?
The xTool M1 features both a blade and a laser which gives you the option to cut and engrave a vast amount of different materials with it.
The M1 laser cuts and engraves wood, paper, foam, opaque acrylic, fabric, felt, leather, rubber and stone. It can also engrave some metals (stainless steel, coated metal, and anodized material).
With the M1 blade, you can cut paper, card, vinyl, leather and felt.
The Blade Cutter
The blade cutter is ideal for cutting softer materials like card and paper, stickers, vinyl and felt.
To cut with the blade you’ll first have to place a blade into the blade holder that sits directly next to the laser. It’s held in place with a magnet, so you can just pull it out, insert the blade and place it back into the machine. There’s no need to do this every time you want to cut, once the blade is in the holder, you can leave it there until you need to replace it.
When cutting with the blade cutter, you will need to use cutting mats at the bottom of the machine to protect it and keep what you’re cutting in position.
Remove the protective foil (it’s on both sides of the mat) and place it in the bottom of the machine before placing what you want to cut on top and pressing it down so that it doesn’t move while cutting it.
One drawback of the xTool M1 is that you can’t score lines with the blade tool. It’s a feature that I think is missing and I think it’s something that should be possible. Hopefully, a future software update will allow for this feature.
So far, these are the projects we’ve made using the xTool M1 blade cutter:
Spring Paper Flower Wreath (3mm Basswood & Card)
This Easter paper flower wreath looks like it took a long time to make but thanks to the xTool blade cutter it was easy and quick.
Our settings were 40mm/s speed and 275 cut pressure for 240g/m² for the card and one pass, 100% power and 5mm/s for the basswood.
Dog Toy Storage Bag (Iron on Vinyl)
I love being organised and I have a feeling I’ll be using the xTool to create lots of labels to stick or iron on everything.
The xTool M1 – 10W Deluxe(RA2) comes with a jam-packed materials box with 245 items including a canvas tote bag and a selection of heat transfer vinyl that we used to create this cute personalised bag to keep all of Morph’s dog toys in one place.
Our settings were one pass at 80 speed and 90g cut pressure. It took about 4 minutes to cut both of the vinyl stickers.
The Laser Module
The laser cutter is perfect for cutting thicker materials like wood and acrylic.
Acrylic is one of the more difficult materials to cut. Depending on the colour of the acrylic the laser can’t recognise it and won’t cut it. We recommend making a few test cuts first to make sure that you’re using the right settings.
These are the projects we’ve made with the laser cutter:
Modern Plywood Lampshade (4mm Poplar Plywood)
This is the largest project we made to test the maximum work area of the xTool M1. This finished lampshade is about 62 cm in diameter and looks fabulous in our corner room.
Our settings were two passes at 4mm/s speed and 100% power. In total, it took about 6 hours to cut all of the pieces for the lampshade.
Easter Bunny Napkin Rings (3mm Basswood Plywood)
These super cute bunny napkin rings are the very first thing I tried to cut with the xTool laser and they came out looking fantastic. All of the detail is extremely clear and the tiny lines are crisp and perfect.
Easter Egg Hanging Decorations (4mm Acrylic + 3mm Basswood Plywood)
Acrylic: Didn’t work as the design was extremely intricate and tiny.
Our settings were three passes at 5mm/s speed and 100% power. It took about 23 minutes and it’s pretty clear that we need to practice a bit more when it comes to cutting acrylic.
Plywood: This worked so much better than expected, even with all of the tiny lines.
Our settings were one pass at 5mm/s speed and 100% power. Time used – 5 minutes and 23 seconds.
You can get the template to make the Easter egg hanging decoration here.
Laser Engraving & Scoring with the xTool M1:
Dog Tag For Morph
Our settings to engrave the dog tag was one pass at 25mm/s speed and 100% power. It took about 5 minutes to engrave the dog tag.
Drinks Coasters (6mm Cork)
Our settings to engrave the coasters were one pass at 120mm/s speed and 10% power. It took about 15 minutes to engrave each coaster. You can get the template to make the coasters here.
How do you get your projects from the computer onto the xTool M1?
The software that connects with the xTool M1 with your computer is called xTool Creative Space and is available for both Windows and MacOS on the xTool website. It includes hundreds of designs and fonts as well as lots of project files to start creating fun things straight away.
You can either draw your project directly in the software or import files to it. Overall, we found that the software works well but it is quite basic. I drew all of our designs in Adobe Illustrator (because that’s what I’m used to) and found that it was easier to achieve more detailed designs that I could just import into the XCS software.
One of the best things about the xTool M1 is the number of designs that are already available. The xTool software uses a standard SVG file format and there are thousands of ready-made designs available (both free and paid) so you don’t have to draw anything yourself!
The Best Places To Get SVG Design Files For Your xTool M1:
xTool M1 Accessories
xTool Air Assist
Although the pieces of wood we laser cut came out looking great, there was a bit of charring around the edges that the xTool air assist will help avoid giving you a cleaner and smoother laser-cut finish.
xTool RA2 Pro Rotary Accessories
The xTool M1 10W Deluxe(RA2) model that we have already comes with the rotary accessory to be able to engrave cylindrical items like glasses, mugs, rings and rolling pins.
I’ve been learning how to use the xTool M1 so haven’t used the rotary attachment but I can’t wait to try it.
xTool M1 Riser Base with Honeycomb Panel
The riser base and honeycomb panel will help raise the M1 machine giving you enough space to use the RA2 Pro Rotary accessory while still ensuring that it is enclosed. By raising the machine you can also engrave higher items. The xTool M1 honeycomb also helps avoid any charring around the edges as it allows air to flow around the item you’re cutting.
xTool Smoke Purifier
If you’re using the machine a lot in an enclosed space, you’ll want to consider connecting your laser cutter to a smoke purifier to filter the air. The xTool smoke purifier has a 3-layer filtration system and HEPA filter that achieve a 99.97% purification rate to make sure your air is as clean and safe as possible.
Pros & Cons of the xTool M1
- Compact size that will fit in any study or craft room
- Looks sleek and stylish
- Affordable (for a laser)
- Superfine engraving
- Cuts very precisely
- Works great with Wifi
- Super fun to work with
- Can’t score card or paper (I’m hoping for a software update to improve this)
- Quite pricey (it’s a bargain when you compare it to other machines but it’s still a lot of money)
- Has a diode laser which is less powerful than a CO2 laser (which makes the M1 more affordable and it still works great)
- Only has a USB-B cable (only needed for initial setup)
Where to Purchase an xTool M1
You can purchase the xTool M1 along with all accessories and a wide range of materials on the xTool website.
xTool M1 Price + Discount Code
There are two versions of the xTool M1, a 5W and a 10W version.
We definitely recommend getting the 10W version as it’s much more powerful than the 5W tool and can cut thicker materials giving you much more flexibility and options when it comes to creating things.
Yes, it’s not cheap but if you compare it to other laser cutters it’s an absolute bargain. And, if you’re planning on selling your creations the investment should pay for itself in no time.
Use code LHOTC to save £100 off for orders Over £1200 at xTool.com!
Discount code valid until the 30th April 2023!
Is the xTool M1 right for you + Final Thoughts?
I absolutely love the xTool M1 and I feel like I’ve got a secret machine that will help me take over the world. Okay, so maybe not the world but it will definitely allow me to create some fantastic gifts and personalised items.
I’d never thought about getting a laser cutting machine because I thought they were large and extremely expensive. The xTool M1 hybrid laser and blade cutter is perfect for anyone who enjoys crafting and making things as the possibilities are endless. You could start an Etsy shop, make your own wedding invitations and favours or you could make endless gifts for friends and family.
For a small machine, it’s amazing what you can do with it and I’ve just scratched the surface of the possibilities. Needless to say, I’m really excited to create more things with it and I can’t wait to share some more of our creations with you.
xTool M1 FAQ
You can cut a huge amount of different materials with the xTool M1 making it extremely versatile. The list of things you could make is almost endless. Some ideas to get you started are home decorations, lampshades, doll house furniture, labels, stickers, jewellery, customized t-shirts and hats, personalised bags, engraved cheese boards, add your logo to glasses, mugs and notepads. Engrave dog tags, and make wedding stationery and favours.
Yes, you can cut wood up to 8mm thick in one pass with the xTool M1. This will depend on the type of wood you are cutting through and harder types of wood may need a few more passes to cut through them.
The xTool M1 is a blade cutter and laser cutter in one machine. It’s enclosed and very safe to use which makes it an ideal machine for beginners. The xTool D1 is a pure laser and engraver. It has a stronger laser and a larger work area but doesn’t have a blade to cut material. If you’re just starting out on your laser-cutting journey, we’d recommend investing in the xTool M1 10W machine as it gives you more flexibility at an affordable price.
The xTool M1 is a beginner-friendly hybrid laser and blade-cutting machine that works amazingly well. We love it and highly recommend it if you’re thinking of starting your own small Etsy shop or would just like to spend lots of time crafting. It is an investment but compared to other laser machines, it is affordable and has the bonus of being able to blade cut, too.
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