This laser engraver is a high-end diode laser engraver that is still very affordable compared to many of its competitors.
The Atomstack S10 Pro Laser Engraver is a fixed focus laser engraver with a 445nm wavelength blue diode laser, the laser itself has an output of 5.5 watts, perfect for anyone new to the world of maker culture Choose from general, or dedicated to laser engraving and cutting. It comes in kit form with simple instructions to help you put it together, luckily it’s not a very long process to get it done. There are no IKEA-level issues in these directions.
It took me about 30 minutes to get things up and running, and it was mostly straightforward. The only caveat is to place the track inside the beam to move the laser and cover the engraved area. The kit comes with all the tools you need to put it together, but it would be helpful if you had some anti-static tweezers or similar on hand to help pull the rubber tracks.
In addition to the getting started guide, the S10 Pro comes with some documentation in PDF form, which you can find by scanning the QR code on the front of the manual. This walks you through the process of using the laser, and it’s pretty easy. The user manual recommends two different software for you to use: LaserGRBL is a free and more user friendly, but somewhat basic software option, while LightBurn is paid software for more advanced users Function.
After downloading the software, the manual will guide you in setting the focus of the laser. After placing a protective surface under the area to be engraved, place the object to be cut or engraved under the laser, then loosen the nut on the back of the laser shield and place the aluminum focusing post under the shield. Then tighten the nut again and the laser will be at the perfect distance from the engraving for best results. Since it’s a fixed focus laser, it’s super easy to set up and get ready to burn with consistent results every time.
At this time, the accompanying manual covers the use of LaserGRBL software, but does not cover LightBurn extensively. This makes sense because if this isn’t your first laser engraver, you probably won’t need much software guidance, but if it’s your first then you’ll probably be inclined to use more streamlined software. You can also find some examples of the best settings for lasers using different materials, including cutting and engraving. These settings are also important for LightBurn and other similar software, but it’s important to remember that the stats in the book deal with millimeters per minute, so if your software uses something else, you’ll need to convert it.
That’s mostly good news in terms of how well the Atom Stack S10 Pro itself is good at engraving and cutting different materials. Despite being easy to set up and use, the S10 Pro can handle a surprising variety of different materials with excellent results. Comes with a small coaster-sized piece of thin wood for you to try, but you can carve on just about anything, from paper and card, all the way to metal and plastic, as long as you follow safety information when choosing what you pick up for Avoid fire or release of harmful chemicals.
If you use the proper settings, you can easily get incredibly good results even in the first few uses of the device. The software allows you to simply take images and use a variety of tools to convert them into usable engraving or cutting patterns. Using the speed and power settings in the manual, you just enter them into the correct fields and hit start. There are a few issues with setting exactly the right quality settings for the images and materials you’re using, but many of the results speak for themselves.
The first thing we tried was sculpting some images onto a blank coaster, after some experimentation it was easy to do many different designs without a lot of mistakes. We also tried some more intricate ideas like cutting a wooden dice tower design from a piece of wood and letting us glue it together. Not only is this easy to achieve, but it also reduces the size of the tower to fit our planks. Of course, we did end up with a very small dice tower, but that’s more limited by materials than anything else.
Experiments with other materials have also yielded excellent results. Slate, in particular, is an excellent medium for this engraver. It creates a lovely contrast between the image and the background, and it does it so quickly that it doesn’t take a whole day to get the job done, even on larger designs. Remember that you and anyone else in the room will need to wear the included safety goggles while using the device. If you plan to use it at home rather than in a private studio or elsewhere, then you’ll need to buy extra goggles for anyone planning to walk in.
Another material we tried was 3mm acrylic. In the guide it gives suggested settings to use on acrylic, but for some reason on the safety material board acrylic and other forms of plastic are simply scratched out, probably because they emit when burned Toxic fumes are emitted. Either way, the machine can cut acrylic very quickly, as long as you’re dealing with a dark enough color or one that the blue laser won’t have a problem with. Just make sure you have good ventilation.
Engraving on metal is a little more difficult, at least with your limited experience. We tried engraving on painted metal using the specs suggested in the book, and while it looked fine when painted, we were left with very faint lines after removing the paint with acetone. Even with repeated attempts at slower speeds or more passes, it was clear that not much happened.
So, are there any downsides to the S10 Pro laser engraver? If anything, it’s just that if this is more specific to beginners, it would be useful to know more about the specifics of using certain materials. This doesn’t make much of a difference to the machine, but while it mentions that it’s difficult to cut clear acrylic or plastic, it doesn’t mention the potential difficulty with lighter colors in general.
At the end of the day, the S10 Pro laser engraver is not only extremely easy to set up and use, but it’s also a powerful cutting and engraving machine for the money you put into it. The equipment will cost you over $500, and for that, you’ll get some incredible cutting power. Clever optics in the laser assembly can cut material all the way up to 15mm, depending on the material in question. Whether you’re a die-hard member of the maker community looking for a new cutter and engraver for your building, or a hobbyist looking to knock out some plaques and coasters for your friends, you’ll be hard-pressed to find this quality. Laser, for this price.