New Laser User Research and Questions

Hi all,
This is another “thinking about getting a laser, not sure what I should get” post, but I’m going to try and summarize my research and reasoning and have some actual questions for users. Any answers or critiques to my conclusions or additional advice is much appreciated. Deciding between Atomstack X7 Pro and Xtool D1 right now. I value having wide capability/potential to experiment with, even if I have to tinker with it more to make that happen, rather than something polished and ready to go that can’t do as much in the long run.

Also, apologies if this is posted in the wrong place (or wrong forum!). Please let me know!

Pros for both: 10W laser, good work envelope, seemingly decent build quality, small laser dot size for good quality cuts and engraving, safety features, supports Lightburn(!), has options for air assist and rotary module, seem to have some amount of customer support.

Pros for X7 Pro: slightly cheaper all around, has extension kit, design seems more open source and modification friendly (for example, extrusion rail is easier to mount things to than the sheet metal on the D1), offline terminal screen, limit switches.

Pros for D1: slightly larger work area (just a bit), free software included, possibly higher quality build (or maybe just more polished looking), convenience features like focus setting kickstand, laser crosshair, easy belt tensioner. Has Wi-Fi connection option (does the X7?), risers seem to be better than the X7 (I’ve seen some complaints about the Atomstack risers).

Currently leaning towards Atomstack X7 Pro, interested to know anyone’s thoughts on the notes above.

-Atomstack claims capable of cutting 20mm wood, Xtool only claims 10mm. They’re the same power, only the X7 has a smaller spot size. Is 20mm a bit of an exaggeration, or is it really that much better?
-Atomstack shows using the rotary to cut long flat parts by sliding them along under the frame (and they sell support accessories for this). A) has anyone done this? B) I would think this would be possible with any laser/rotary combo, so did Atomstack just decide to market this method, or is there something that allows them to do it when others can’t?
-limit switches vs crosshair for alignment: having limit switches seems like a really nice feature, but if you’re not squaring your material against something every time it seems like it would be harder to get your engraving lined up on your part. The crosshair on the D1 would at least let you eyeball it at the location. What are users’ experiences with this?
-fume extraction: it seems like the options are buy a fancy expensive enclosure and filter system, or cobble something together on your own. Is there a middle ground option or best practice? I’m planning on making a super basic box enclosure and some kind of fan and hose to blow it out my garage door until I figure out a better enclosure and a decent but inexpensive filter system, but I’m curious to know what is most commonly done.

Thanks for reading my long post! Excited to hopefully get a laser soon.

I may be controversial in saying this but if openness and tinkerability are your key criteria then go ahead and rule out both of these lasers.

  1. Neither of these lasers support writing updates to the GRBL configuration. Atomstack allows you to temporarily override settings but are not retained after a power cycle. xTools literally prevent you from writing any changes. If you don’t like what they have to offer out of the box then no dinner for you. So basically rule out addition of limit switches if you want them. Though I vaguely recall this model of Atomstack might already have them.
  2. As you rightly pointed out, Atomstack from a chassis perspective is likely more extensible due to using standard components. xTool is custom so any chassis changes would be much harder.

Of the bigger brands Ortur and Neje seem the most mod friendly in terms of the platforms and have relatively good firmware support.

Thanks, good to know. I haven’t seen 10W versions of those brands, so I might just have to take a trade off. I’ll look into it.

Strongest module from Ortur is currently a 5.5W unit. Neje offers a ~10W unit. You also buy an Atomstack module and mount it on another laser system if you’re so inclined. The module itself is not restricted in any way. It’s only the controller where they prevent customization.

I’m not certain if xTool offer their laser module separately but I’d imagine it could also be used if available.