I received product from xTool for the purpose of this post. All opinions are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.
The new xTool M1 Desktop Laser and Blade Cutting Machine is a crafter’s dream!
- What is the xTool M1?
- The Details
- xTool Software
- What Materials Can Be Used?
- Making Your First Project with xTool M1
- Pros and Cons of xTool M1
What is the xTool M1?
The xTool M1 is the first machine of it’s kind. It is a hybrid device that combines laser cutting, laser engraving and blade cutting all in one! What this means is you can engrave thicker materials like acrylic, wood, slate and use it for cutting vinyl and paper as well. It’s great for crafting, gift giving or small business use. No more going back and forth between devices. Now you can create everything with one machine!
I’ve had the machine for a little over two weeks and I’m obsessed. It has been so gratifying to take my crafting to the next level. For years, I felt I was stuck in a bit of a slump. When you’ve blogged for 10 years, you begin to run out of new and fresh ideas. My creative mojo has been refilled with this machine!
Here’s my video review of this machine:
What is included?
- M1 10W device
- USB cable
- Power cord and brick
- 4 cutting mats – 2 pink fabric mats and 2 blue lightgrip mats
- Ventilation system
- Materials sample pack
- Triangle prisms
10W Deluxe RA2 Pro also includes:
- Rotary accessory
- Premium materials pack
The xTool M1 comes pre-assembled except for the ventilation system. You will have to add an exhaust hose once the machine is out of the packaging box. However, assembling the exhaust hose took me less than 2 minutes. The system in enclosed for safety. The lid filters blue light from the laser to protect your eyes. It weighs about 21.5lbs and measures 22 x 18 x 9 inches. The working area is 15 inches x 12 inches.
The machine comes with a materials test pack that includes 3mm basswood, leather, vinyl and a stainless steel dog tag. There are two material grip mats for using the cutting blade – one for fabric and one for other materials. Lastly, there are triangle prisms to use when laser cutting. This provides ventilation under the wood to reduce burning.
The housing unit contains the laser on one side and the blade cutter on the other side. The blade is held in place by a magnet and easily removed to replace blades. The machine contains a diode laser which is different than a CO2 laser. The diode laser works well but it is slower than a CO2 laser from my understanding. (I have never used a CO2 laser so it would be unfair to compare. xTool does have a CO2 laser device.) However, the diode laser makes this device more cost effective.
My favorite feature is the 16MP smart camera with real time view. This feature is something the Cricut does not have. The camera is capable of visualizing the entire creative space and makes sizing for different projects a breeze. Your object becomes your canvas! With just a click, it will auto adjust. (I will get into the specifics in a separate post.)
The xTool line of machines comes with free design software called xTool Creative Space (XCS). You can download it directly from their website. It is compatible with Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS. Use the USB cable to connect your computer to the M1. It will also connect through Wi-Fi.
To crafters familiar with Cricut Design Space, this software is a breeze. I found it intuitive and easy to use. There are loads of projects in the software to choose from or you can upload your own images. I will provide a step by step post on how to use the software.
What Materials Can Be Used?
M1 laser cuts and/or engraves:
- opaque acrylic
M1 blade cuts vinyl, leather, and felt.
Making Your First Project with xTool M1
To review the xTool M1, I wanted to show you three projects that feature the three main functions of the machine – laser cutting, laser engraving and blade cutting.
My first project with the xTool M1 was these adorable baseball mom earrings. When cutting with the laser, it is important to elevate your material with the triangle prisms. This will help prevent burning your material. The machine comes with a starter pack which includes a piece of 3mm basswood. Since I’ve never owned a laser, I wanted to try it first. I found the earring file on Etsy. (You can find a step by step tutorial on how I cut these earrings by clicking HERE.) The wood cut like butter and was fascinating to watch. Those holes are tiny to accommodate the jump rings and I was amazed by the precision. From uploading the image to cutting and assembling, this project took less than 20 minutes!
Laser cutting: A+
Next, I wanted to try out the engraving capabilities. I was skeptical when I put the slate coaster in since it isn’t wood. But the machine preset engraved these perfectly! This image is my own design. Engraving took longer on the coaster but it turned out great! I can’t wait to try it on leather and other materials.
Laser engraving: A
Lasers are fun but they are not always needed. I used the blade to cut this heat transfer vinyl. The blade housing was easy to remove and add the blade. It is a magnet system just like Cricut. I uploaded my image to the software, changed my settings and added the light grip mat. The mats are adhesive on both sides. The non-grid side sticks to the bottom of the machine and the grid side holds your material. This is where things got a little tricky and I think it was user error, not the device. I didn’t “unstick” the mat like I usually do with my Cricut mats so when I peeled away the HTV after it had finished cutting, the HTV stuck to the mat and pulled away which ruined the design. So I had to re-cut it. (To unstick your mat, use some fabric or a tshirt to pat on the adhesive. This will help it not be like super glue when you add your material.) The second cut went much smoother. Again, the presets worked well.
Blade cutting: B
Pros and Cons of xTool M1
- Laser (diode)
- Hybrid capabilities (laser and blade cutting)
- Smart camera
- Rotary accessory
- Software ease of use
- Cost effective
- Speed of laser
- Project size is limited
Overall, I give the xTool M1 two enthusiastic thumbs up! The smell can be a bit overwhelming. Perhaps I should invest in the air purifier package or a fan. The laser is amazing! I have wanted one for so long and this machine makes it so easy to create things you will love. To be honest, I will likely continue to use my Cricut to blade cut projects larger than this device allows. In my opinion that is the only drawback! I love that you can create so many things with one machine!