Category Archives: laser

xTool F1 Jig For Wine Corks

xTool F1 Jig For Wine Corks

I saw on the xTool F1 forum where someone had been engraving these cool wine stoppers  made of cork.   I ordered a boat load of them and then manufactured a jig that fits in the removable bottom plate area of the xTool F1 laser.

xTool F1

Wine Stopper Jig

While I made this on a CNC machine it could just as easily be made with either a 3D printer (if you possess those skills) or with a laser.  I have included (later in the post) a Vectric CRV file for making the jig.  (Vectric is a CNC file). Also included in the zip file is an SVG vector image with the proper dimensions for cutting out with a laser, and finally an XCS file for engraving the tops.  

Bear in mind that if you use the XCS file you MUST manufacture the jig from either the Vectric CRV file or the SVG image file. 

The downloadable SVG file which contains the perimeter is a 109mm x 109mm rectangle with a 6 degree radius in the corners.

The 9 pockets are 19.3mm in diameter and are spaced 36mm apart. (All designed in Lightburn).

The wood thickness I had was 3/4″ pine and the pocket depths are 12mm deep.  This fits the wine stoppers perfectly.

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Monport Fiber Laser Update

Monport Fiber Laser Update

A couple of months ago I received a Monport Fiber Laser (30 watt Raycus). I just wanted to add a little non-technical discussion regarding this machine to my blog.

Probably about 20 years ago i bought a vinyl sign machine and intended to get rich using it.  It never happened.  Then came 3D printers.  No fame and fortune here either.  Then I bought my first laser, a Chinese K40.  Didn’t make any money here either.  I’ve always run a side hustle and occasionally made some lunch money but never really lit my financial world on fire.
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Algolaser Deeper Dive

Algolaser, A Deeper Dive

I’ve had my Algolaser Alpha for a few weeks now.  I was provided the Alpha prior to the official USA release of this very intriguing laser.  I did an initial impressions review here.  Since that time I’ve gained some more experience with the machine.

Since my review the Algolaser Alpha has been officially released in the US and is available to purchase for $799.  My readers can purchase the Algolaser Alpha  here.  This is an affiliate link and helps support my blog.

I feel really fortunate to have been among the first to have gotten my hands on one and my initial impressions were very positive.  This laser has a lot of features, not to mention a lot of power.


The founder of Algolaser is also the original founder of Ortur.   That person has left the Ortur board, and is moving in a different direction.  I personally like the direction.

It should be noted that I am not a fan of the Ortur Laser Master 3.  Not at all.  It should also be noted that I loved the Laser Maser 2 and the Ortur Aufero 2.

Finally, it should be for sure noted that I LOVE the Alpha.   Let’s get into why.
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Monport Fiber 30 Watt Deeper Dive

Monport Fiber 30 Watt Raycus Laser Deeper Dive

I have had my Monport Fiber laser (30 watt Raycus) for a couple of weeks now.  After using it a couple of days I published my initial impressions here.  Since that time I’ve learned a ton more about this remarkable laser.  I have been having a ton of fun and making a few dollars in the process.  Since my last review didn’t really include the 80mm rotary device, I will lead with that.

Also a good time to mention that my readers can get 10% off all Monport laser machines by using the code John10 at checkout.  Or by using this short code link
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Monport Laser 30 Watt Fiber Review

Monport Laser 30 Watt Fiber Initial Impressions

Probably the most common question to someone with a side hustle laser is, “Can you engrave metal with that?”.  For the most part, with a diode or CO2 laser, the answer is “No”.  Or the answer is “you can lightly mark some metals but not engrave them”.   To truly engrave on metal surfaces you need a Fiber laser.  It is way past time that I get a fiber laser for my shop.  And the one I chose was the Monport Laser 30 Watt Fiber Laser. $2999,99.  Monport has provided my readers a 10% discount on all machines.  Use John10 at checkout.

Monport Laser

Monport Laser 30 watt

Full Disclosure:  While I purchased this machine with my own funds, I was provided a nice discount in return for a short series of reviews.  At no time has any pressure been applied to me from Monport  to provide a positive review.

What you’ll read below is my honest opinion of the machine.  This blog will generally be a “First Impressions” entry.

And while I have only owned the machine for a few days at the time of this writing I have already formed a strong opinion.  And that opinion is “Where have you been all my life, fiber laser?”. Continue reading

xTool F1 Review And Thoughts

Tool F1 Review And Thoughts

xTool F1 Review

xTool F1 Review

I’ll be completely 100% honest here.  When xTool first previewed the xTool F1 last year I had my doubts about it.  Not about the machine, but whether it was a good fit for me.  Yes, it looked cool.  But it also looked very SPECIFIC.  In my mind I could only visualize using it as a vendor at a Craft Fair or Flea Market.   I had decided that I probably wouldn’t be getting the F1 Laser.

Boy was I wrong.  

Now that I have one, courtesy of xTool, I can see just how wrong my initial assessment of the F1 laser was.  xTool provided me an F1 and a Slide Extension, however at no time have they attempted to influence my reviews.   When someone provides you gear to review and they don’t try to influence you, that means THEY TRUST THEMSELVES.

I did an initial review here, and man was I impressed.   That should teach me to not form an opinion until I actually test the equipment.  My initial belief that a 115 x 115 mm working area just was only good for small items produced rapidly at a vendor table.   Now that I have one of these, it is apparent to me that most of the things that I do with a laser FIT ON THE F1!  And I can do them way faster on the galvo laser.
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xTool F1 Slide Extension

xTool F1 Slide Extension

xTool F1 Slide

xTool F1 Slide Extension

Recently, the laser company xTool began shipping their F1 machine.  I was fortunate enough to receive one from them and did an initial impressions review here.  They are now providing a great accessory, the xTool F1 Slide Extension ($199) and it is available now for purchase.

The F1 is a galvo laser, which is fast, but galvo lasers generally have a very small working area.  Because galvo lasers have a mirror system which directs the laser beam and the lens is fixed focal length, the further the beam gets from the lens, the more out of focus it becomes.  So that keeps the working area fairly small.

The Engineers at xTool have designed a BRILLIANT method of expanding the engraving length along the X axis (right to left) by UP TO 4X’s.

This creates ample room to engrave longer items, make signage, and to create templates to engrave more than one item at a time.

I’ve said this before, but xTool is the most innovative laser manufacturer out there.  They are providing engineering solutions to overcome machine limitations in ways that I have not seen before.
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Algolaser Alpha Review

Algolaser Alpha Review

Algolaser Alpha


Introducing the new Algolaser Alpha.$799.  John’s Tech Blog was provided with what appears to be a 1st batch production machine for review by the folks at Algolaser.  No pressure was applied for a positive review. The provided link above is an affiliate link which helps support my page.

SPOILER ALERT:  This is a cool machine!

Desktop diode lasers have been available commercially since about 2019.  At that time desktop lasers were typically low powered devices and their mainboards were only smart enough to control movement along an X and Y axis.

A lot has changed since then with the advent of 32 bit motherboards capable of precision movements. The Algolaser Alpha provides advanced electronics to include gyroscopes and heat/flame detection. Additionally, there is laser over exposure protection which stops the machine if flame if probable.  User safety and precision seem to be paramount with the release of the Algolaser Alpha.  Also, these much more powerful motherboards contain Internet of Things chips (IoT) which have ESP32 S2 chipsets which allow for multiple connection methods such as USB, Bluetooth, and WiFi.
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xTool F1 Review

xTool F1 Review – First Impressions

xTool F1

xTool F1

My friends at xTool have provided me with one of their latest offerings to review, the xTool F1.  The F1 is a highly portable laser engraver which contains 2 separate lasers in one housing.  One laser is a 10 watt, 455 nanometer (nm) wavelength laser and the second is a 2 watt IR, 1064 nm laser for marking metals.

The laser is a galvo system and an explanation of that type of laser can be found here.  I’m told the author of that article is pretty awesome!

Because the galvo laser uses a mirror system instead of mechanical movements across an X and Y axis, it typically is a LOT faster than a conventional desktop diode laser.

Conversely, the tradeoff here is that the range of the mirroring system results in a considerably smaller useable area.  Also if cutting an item,  the edges may have a slight bevel to them. This is due of the angle of the laser cutting beam.

Where the F1 really shines brightly is its ability to mark small items quickly.   Items such as jewelry, coasters, leather patches, and tumblers (with optional rotary) can be rapidly produced.  Because of the portability of the F1 it is ideal for Craft Show and Flea Market sales.   Customers may walk away if you tell them their tumbler will be ready for pickup in 30 minutes.  However, if you tell them you can produce it in a minute or two right in front of their eyes, they are more inclined to stick around.   Time is money, as they say.
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Sculpfun S9 To S30 Upgrade Kit Deeper Dive

Sculpfun S9 To S30 33 Watt Upgrade Kit

Sculpfun provided me an S9 laser and then subsequently provided me a Sculpfun S9 to S30, 33 Watt Upgrade Kit.  I did a “First Impressions” blog which you can read here.  After using it for a couple of weeks I decided to do a deeper dive on upgrade kit.

Laser Module

Sculpfun S9 To S30 Upgrade

33 Watt Module

The S30 Ultra 33 watt module is considerably larger than the original S9, 5.5 watt module and contains a lot of really cool features

Most noticeable is the addition of an all metal air assist.  One of my favorite features of the air assist is that it not only is secured in place with an allen screw, it also threads on and contains an O-ring to keep the air contained.

The tube is considerably larger than most competitors air assists which allows for a higher volume of air movement.

Removing the air nozzle allows for access to the lens for cleaning.
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