Over the past 2 weeks we've been given the opportunity to test out the Makeblock Laserbox, a new laser cutter & engraver. Here's our first impressions on it.
It's a very large machine compared to other laser cutters and engravers such as the Emblaser 2, and a lot heavier making it more difficult to move around. Aside from its size and weight we were very impressed with it. It cut and engraved quickly with clean results and the software was just so simple to use making it a fun and enjoyable experience.
It's easy to set up
The Laserbox comes packed as two boxes; the Laserbox, cables, exhaust pipes & manual and the Smoke Purifier. The manual is easy to understand and has diagrams showing how to connect the Laserbox and Smoke Purifier together.
It's relatively quietWhen the Laserbox is running a cut or engraving an image it is very quick and doesn't emit a lot of noise, this is perfect for a class environment where you may have more than one going in the background while doing other activities.
SoftwareThe software is very user-friendly and has a clean/simple layout making it less overwhelming for students and teachers who are using it for the first time. The software is split into two sections; working and design.
This section contains a view of the material that is in the Laserbox (from the 5MP camera) and an overlay of what you have imported to cut or engrave.
This section contains a white canvas showing what you have imported and various settings for manipulating its orientation & size, inserting rectangular & circular shapes as well as lines and more.
Once you have finished moving and editing your project you can preview the outcome and get an estimated time of finish.
Sketch & Cut FeatureThis is by far our favourite feature of the Makeblock Laserbox. With the sketch and cut feature you can sketch on a piece of white paper or their official materials in red or black pen, place it inside the laser box and the 5MP camera will scan the sketch and cut or engrave it with the press of a button. There's no computer needed.
Size & WeightThe Laserbox is quite heavy weighing 40kg, a two person machine to move. It's also large taking up a our whole workbench.
Smoke PurifierThe smoke purifier is just that, it takes the smoke particulate out of the Laserbox however it still needs to be ventilated. You can use 3rd party filtration units such as the F2000 Filtration Unit which we used.
The Laserbox does not have an air-assist and you can really see the difference not having one makes when cutting and engraving matreials such as 3mm MDF which we used in the pictures below.
The picture on the left is from the Makeblock Laserbox, as you can see there is a lot of overburn due to the lack of an air-assist. On the right is the Emblaser 2 which does have an air-assist. You can definitely see the difference it makes.