xTool Laserbox Rotary Setup

posted in: Other Projects 0


I have wanted a Laser Cutter / Engraver for quite some time. Since I make a lot of custom projects, it seemed like a good way to get custom enclosures as well as custom engraving instead of using labels. After doing significant research online, I decided on the xTool Laserbox Rotary, which was on sale at the time. Since this was a significant financial investment, I wanted to be sure before spending that kind of money.

Other Considerations

Before settling on the Laserbox, I considered the Glowforge and even one of the common 40-watt units from China, which were a fraction of the cost at around $500.00. In the end, there were two factors that made me choose the xTool unit:

  • The Glowforge seems to require you to be connected to their online (cloud-based) system to work. I didn’t want to be forced to be connected to the internet in order to use my unit and there was the concern that, even if I did, what if their system was down?
  • On the 40-watt Chinese made units, I was concerned about support. These are sold on eBay by many different vendors. It’s hard to say what kind of support there would be, especially since everything would have to be done through eBay.

So, I took the plunge and ordered the xTool Laserbox Rotary for $4000.00 (after taxes and shipping).

Delivery Day

One day, while waiting for my package, my doorbell rang. When I answered the door, I was greeted by this UPS delivery guy, who stated that he had a very heavy package for me, but would NOT be delivering it upstairs. So, I quickly followed him down the stairs to his truck. This unit came in a wooden crate weighing over 100 pounds! The crate was labeled that this was a team lifting package, however the driver came alone, without help.

Knowing this was a highly sensitive and fragile item that cost $4,000.00, I asked him if I could help, to prevent damage. He declined, as he basically dropped the crate off the back of the truck! I was losing it! After that, he then proceeded to roll the crate end-over-end to get it on the dolly! I was freaking out! In my hurry to run down the stairs, I forgot my phone or I would have recorded this unprofessional behavior! After abusing the package and clearly damaging it, he then asked me what was in the crate. This guy should not be delivering packages. If you’re wondering what’s on his head…it’s a towel. I was confused as well. The package was left downstairs in the hallway until I could get help getting it up the stairs.

Unboxing the Laserbox Rotary

I was so distracted by how horribly the UPS driver abused my package, that I didn’t even notice that there seemed to be a package missing. I consider myself good at researching things online before buying them. I was sure I knew exactly what I was getting when I placed my order and spent $4,000.00. I was wrong. Hopefully, posting about this will save someone else from going through what I went through as a result.

Before buying the unit, I watched the unboxing video. I also read the pages that talk about what’s included, and the kit contents. The unboxing video showed what packages would be included, so when I went to unbox the unit, that’s when I realized that I was missing a package. Even in the included documentation, the Smart Smoke Purifier was shown as being included. I rechecked the website store page and was still confused. So I contacted their customer service.

Since they’re (apparently) in China, it was a couple of days before I got a reply. When I did, they confirmed that I did not buy the version that includes the Smart Smoke Purifier. There was a lot of back-and-forth and needless to say, I was very dismayed at not being able to use my Laserbox after receiving it. I went back to the buying guide to watch the unboxing and review videos, and nowhere was there any mention of the Smart Smoke Purifier being an option. In fact, all reviews I watched on YouTube talked about the unit as if the only option was with it included.

Tech Support said I could use it without the Smart Smoke Purifier by just putting the exhaust hose out the window. THIS IS NOT CORRECT! Without the Smart Smoke Purifier (or some other exhaust fan), the smoke generated by the unit will NOT go out the exhaust hose, since there is nothing drawing it out. Instead, the first time I tried to use it, the room filled up with smoke and set off ALL the smoke detectors in my apartment.

So, what happened? Why did I not get the Smart Smoke Purifier? Well, because their store page was not set up correctly. On any store page I have ever been on where you can select different packages or options for a product, as you change the model, the information and photos change to reflect that option. Even this (my) website (WordPress based) supports that on my store page. But theirs shows all the options and features for the base unit. When you click to change the option, it doesn’t change what you see as what comes with the product. It took me quite some time to get them to explain this to me. If you never clicked that drop-down box, you’d never know there was more than one option.

So, now what? Well, the unit is useless without a fume extractor of some sort. So I asked them if I could order the Smart Smoke Purifier for the difference in cost for what I would have paid if I selected that option. After some negotiation, that was agreed on. I paid for the extractor and waited patiently for it to arrive.

Of course, UPS struck again! The box that the extractor arrived in was not in good shape, and as expected, when I opened it there was damage. Parts of the enclosure were pressed in, while other parts were pressed out. When I connected everything up and tried to run it, it made an awful sound and there was some kind of yellow dust and smoke that came out from the gap in the plastic, which is normally sealed. This led to more back and forth with customer service about how to get a new unit.

Ready for Testing

Once the replacement extractor arrived, I was able to get everything connected and begin testing and calibration. My former co-worker, Steve, made me a baffle for the exhaust hose to fit in my window. Works perfectly. Sadly, my results with initial testing weren’t so good. I knew there would be damage to the unit after what the UPS driver did, but I had no idea just how much frustration this was going to lead to.

Testing & Calibration

For my initial test, I decided to just run one of the projects included in the software. This project creates a box with a lid. It takes up one sheet of the basswood samples and then you can assemble it.

Unfortunately, I wasted several sheets trying to get it done. The first attempt not only failed to even cut through the wood, but wasn’t consistent in cutting on different areas of the basswood panel. The second attempt had me turning up the power to 100%! Imagine my surprise when the laser still failed to cut all the way through. Of course people in the Facebook group suggested I slow the speed down and / or make multiple passes. But I was shocked at the results anyway. Tech Support had me adjust the mirrors, which is when I found some of the magnets broken, most likely from that idiot UPS driver.

The mirrors were way off. As suggested, I used masking tape to find out the relative alignment of the laser as it passes through the aperture into the mirrors. As you can see, it was pretty far off. It should be in the center. My only choice here is to “shim” the mirrors to realign them. So sad after spending thousands of dollars.

After aligning things as best as I can, it’s still not ideal. Regardless of power level I have to run two passes to get cuts in 3 mm basswood. From what I can tell from others using this unit, I shouldn’t have to run two passes, but that’s where things are at.

Laserbox Pro (Rotary) Running a Project


Makeblock xTool Laserbox Rotary (DISCONTINUED)

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