Learn all about this amazing desktop laser engraver for metal and how easy it is to use. Plus let’s engrave a flask and pendant!
I’ve been having so much fun with my newest toy in my craft room. This is my second laser cutter from xTool and I am a fan!
Introducing the xTool F1! A portable and small engraving machine that is an excellent choice for fun or for small businesses who want the ability to take their machine to craft shows.
Today we’ll go over a little bit about this high power machine and then I’ll show you how easy it is to use to engrave stainless steel pendants, dog tags, and flasks.
What is the xTool F1?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from xTool, Shareasale, Cricut, Awin, and Amazon.com. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my links (purple text). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
The xTool F1 is a galvanometer-type laser engraver and cutter that uses two different lasers. You have the option of cutting wood and various materials with a 10 W diode laser (which is what the M1 is) plus the ability to engrave a metal surface plus a wide range of materials.
I love that this portable laser engraving machine has a protective closure that you just push up and down to shield your eyes from the laser beam.
Plus with the addition of the air purifier, no more breathing in those nasty fumes! A must for using this high quality metal engraver on the go!
One of my favorite things about xTool is how they package their products! Whether it’s the xTool D 1 or M1 or P2, they are all protected inside the box and packaged perfectly. Always super easy to get out of the box and find all the items.
Within the F1 box, there is a pipe for venting, a power adapter, a USB cable, a power supply cable, a triangular prism working panel for cutting materials, a positioning piece, a spare Key, lint-free cloth to clean the laser head, a tube of grease, and a material pack.
The instruction manual describes the quick setup process great so getting started laser cutting is quick!
So whether this is the best laser engraver, I can’t really tell you since it’s the only one I’ve tried, lol! But I have to say I’m impressed! The machine uses a high speed which makes engraving super fast (like in seconds to minutes!).
You can also get xTool F1 accessories for an extra cost like the rotary attachment (another post on this coming soon) and a slide extension for a larger work area so you can batch engrave or cut quickly. I haven’t purchased that yet, but I might, it looks really convenient!
Where to Buy xTool
The xTool machines are sold in a few places. I always recommend comparing prices to see who has the best deal.
They do go on sale a lot during the year on different sites and you can sign up for emails and get an additional percent off or promo codes at xTool.
Using the xTool F1 Desktop Laser Engraver for Metal
xTool has its own design software called Creative Space that you use with all of its machines. I started using it a few years ago and it was so basic that you couldn’t do much.
But I’m happy to say it’s come a long way in the ease of use department and the updates they have released contain a lot of great new features to use when designing images.
The software is free to download and use on a computer, tablet, or even smartphone.
One of the cool features in the software is that you can make qr codes, serial numbers, and barcodes easily with the Code tool on the left side.
Great for putting on business cards or signs to display in your business or for Wifi code!
So let’s walk through laser engraving metal pendants from start to finish.
xTool has a line of products that work well with its machine along with starting point settings to use and I did find that these jewelry pendants engraved better than others that I had on hand.
First, if you are using an xTool product, you can change the Material in the drop down menu on the right. This adds in all the recommended power and speed settings which makes it super easy to start!
To start, enter a design or a name in a text box. Change the text by typing in the box on the right hand side.
Then you can change the font and size. The first ten or so fonts are the ones that come with the design software and then after those you can pick any font you have installed on your computer.
The one downside is that the software doesn’t show you what your system fonts look like, so you’ll have to use wordmark.it or other sites for that part.
Once you have the text how you like it, click on Weld on the lower right side.
Then you’ll need to change the Processing Type. Note: If you have more than one image, Combine and Unite them so that you change the Processing type of all at once. Or you can pick individual Processing types for each part (this doesn’t come into play too much when working with metal parts).
Click on Engrave. You’ll notice the text or images will fill in with color showing you that all of the inside will be engraved (verse score where it’s just the outlines).
If you already picked a compatible material, the laser power and speed settings will be ready. You might need to tweak some of the recommended settings so always make sure to have multiple products or do a test array first.
For me, the heart-shaped stainless steel dog tag setting worked perfectly so I didn’t adjust the settings at all.
Measure your blank and size the image to fit. I like to put the words or images right in the middle of the grid on my computer so it’s easier to line up in the engraving area.
One of my favorite parts of this desktop laser engraver for metal is the framing function. When you click on Framing (lower right hand corner), the machine will emit a blue square light of where your image will be engraved. This gives a high level of accuracy so that you can line up your blank.
You can also click on the gear icon next to Framing and select outline, which will actually show you the outline of your image that is to be engraved.
Place your metal pendant in the center of the work area. As long as your image is also in the center in xTool creative space, you’ll see the blue light on your blank. Move your blank to where it lines up with the light.
The next thing you’ll need to do is set the thickness which is super easy to do with this machine. Since there are so many different types of metals, it would be hard to make all of those settings.
You’ll notice that there is a red light point and blue light point on your blank. All you need to do is turn the focusing knob (on the top side of the machine) so that the blue light and red light are right on top of each other. Turning the knob causes the laser module to go up or down until the focusing lens is set.
Once the two dots are overlapped, click Stop Framing and then on Start. On the next screen, you’ll see the design that is going to be engraved. If there are parts missing, then go back and make sure each section has a setting set.
Click on Start in the upper right corner. Close the protective shield and push the same focusing knob in to start the laser. There will be a blue blinking light when it’s ready to start.
The high precision engraving will start and will be super fast depending on how intricate designs you are using are.
When the engraving is done, the machine will stop and beep. On your computer, you’ll see how long the project took to complete.
Lift up the shield and make sure your metal engraving is how you want it!
I engraved each one of these in less than two minutes and ended up with high-resolution engravings.
Love it! I love the look much more than when engraving with a Cricut.
Then I wanted to try engraving a flask. The powder coated or painted flasks I found here work best. I tried a cheap stainless steel one and didn’t have great success with it.
The one thing to keep in mind when working with a curved surface, is that the laser is only set to one focal length so when it hits the curved surface that’s at a different length, you’ll get a really deep engraving or light (depending on which way it’s curving).
So to not get into weird engraving, try to keep your image size to fit on the flatter part of the flask.
On this first flask I did, you can see how the laser didn’t engrave the very edge of the lines because it curved down too much there. So for this next flask, I made the image smaller.
Once I inserted the image and added a text box with the name, I resized the name to fit within the split monogram. I changed all of the different image parts to Engrave and then clicked on Combine, Unite so they stay attached.
I did a few metal engraving tests on this specific flask and found my perfect settings to be Power 60, Speed 550, and lines per cm of 260.
I used Manual Setting and used the sliders to change all my settings.
Click on Framing and then center the flask on the work area under the blue rectangle (it’s hard to get pictures of the full rectangle!).
I made some black markings on the metal plate and used a ruler to align it perfectly. You can also order jigs from places like Etsy to make lining up materials easy peasy!
Turn the knob on the F1 so the blue and red light are right on top of each other.
Close the protective shield.
Click Start on your computer, then Start again on the next screen. Then push the focusing knob in when it blinks to start the laser.
This engraved flask took about two and a half minutes and I love how it came out!
Much quicker and easier than using Citristrip!
Perfect party favors for a guys trip, bachelor party, or birthday gifts for men!
I had so much fun engraving all of these metal blanks with the xTool F1! There was a little learning curve but once I figured some settings out, the process went so fast!
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Thanks for stopping by and have a creative day!