Workshop
Full Spectrum Deluxe Hobby Laser Review

The Full Spectrum Deluxe Hobby Laser is a small entry-level laser cutter with a attractive pricetag (starting at $2,350). This machine is intended for both hobby level projects and small production work and is capable of very intricate designs. The Deluxe model comes with the Retina Engrave USB processor which allows you easily connect and send files to the machine. There are a number of additional options you can purchase such as a beam combiner for combining the red sight laser and the CO2 beam. This allows you to see exactly where the laser will be cutting. There are also different optics you can purchase for fine engraving and cutting through thick material, and now you can also purchase a rotary attachment for engraving or cutting on cylindrical objects.

This laser system is built on a metal frame with a folded sheet metal body which adds to the durability and strength of the machine. The overall design is compartmentalized which allows for easy maintenance and serviceability as well as protection of the components inside. There is a compartment for the laser tube, one for the controller and power supply, and one for the work area.

This system has several pros such as the low cost, ease of use, thanks to the Retina Engrave USB processor which allows you to easily go from design to the final product, and a small form-factor that doesn’t sacrifice the laser’s work area which is 9.5″x14.5″.

There are also some drawbacks to the Deluxe Hobby Laser, such as the computer must remain connected to the laser cutter during operation and nothing should be running in the background since it may cause the laser to damage the print. This wont be an issue for some, if you have a dedicated computer for the laser cutter, but if you’re like me and like to multitask while making parts, such as prepping the next run or making changes to the current design, this is a drawback.

Overall, if you’re looking to get into laser cutting on a hobby or small business scale, the Full Spectrum Deluxe Hobby Laser is a great place to start.

27 thoughts on “Full Spectrum Deluxe Hobby Laser Review

  1. This is not a review. Its just their spec-sheet restated. Is this paid advertising? There is no indication that anyone here has even put their hands on a unit and tested anything about it.

    1. I agree. It sounds like he has read the manual, but not like he has cut anything. We have this at my makerspace, and we are having trouble getting the driver to work. It says it is connected but there is no response from the cutter. Our next step is to try it on a dedicated XP box.

  2. Can you post up some pics and vids of things you have made with this laser cutter? I’m interested in seeing how well it actually does with the cuts and rasters.

    What is your set up like? Do you have an air assist?

    How many repairs do you have to do? Does it break down often?

    An in-depth review would be nice (not sure if this was paid advertising though), I’m trying to figure out what laser cutter to get! :)

    1. RobotGrrl : You aren’t very far away from Ottawa. You should stop by PrototypeD (prototyped.org) and check our their lasers. I’m pretty sure that they have at least one Full Spectrum system, if not a couple. You can also ping them on twitter : @pDOttawa That would give you a hands-on with the system before committing.

    2. I bought this exact model back in April 2012….. I wrote up my own review of it, if anybody is interested.
      http://www.plasma2002.com/blog/2012/04/18/on-buying-and-using-a-laser-cutter/

      The only thing that has changed since that review is that now there is an electrical problem which is causing current to go directly into my water line, and has caused quite a few nasty shocks. I believe it is a small fracture in the tube where the electrodes get close to the water reservoirs but I can’t confirm that.
      Overall, I love having a laser cutter, and would definitely recommend any maker get one.

  3. RobotGrrl: I’ve got this exact model and can answer some questions…

    I’d summarize it as “a really, really good $2,500 laser cutter.” But it’s no replacement for an $8,000+ laser cutter. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, and I think they’re being perfectly up-front by calling this their “hobby laser.” The cost made all the difference between owning a basic cutter vs. having none at all…and you can iterate designs so much faster having the thing right there rather than having to repeatedly take a design elsewhere for cutting.

    The good: very affordable. Feature-rich software with top-notch customer support and frequent updates. Cuts and rasters well enough for real product prototypes (e.g. iterated Adafruit’s Pi Box on this, among others, though the final items are produced elsewhere).

    The not-so-good: biggest beef is just trying to get it cutting square-and-level on all three axes…it’s always been just a TINY bit off despite my best efforts at alignment. Realistically, limited to 1/8″ acrylic and wood…you CAN do thicker with more passes, but the cut is progressively less clean. Rastering isn’t quite as uniform as with “pro” lasers. Included ventilation fan is useless, needs to be supplemented with a bilge blower (not expensive, just extra steps).

    A dedicated Windows PC is recommended. I’ve been using a little Lenovo “nettop” for this, no problem, but would recommend at least a Core 2 Duo system (which have now reached the “hand me down” age, so you can pick up a spare cheaply).

    Overall, it’s been great, I’m 110% satisfied…but have been doing enough laser work to consider an upgrade. The Epilog Zing 16 seems a logical step up, but if Full Spectrum’s new model addresses the aforementioned issues, I’ll give it serious thought.

  4. I calculate that a 14.5 x 9.5 in workspace is the equivalent of only 8.8 million .1 mm cells. Why does it require the full resources of a gigahertz computer with gigabytes of memory to cut that small an area in only 2D?

  5. Hey folks,

    This review was written by Brian Melani, one of our lab interns. It was not a paid review. We asked Full Spectrum for a review unit.

    RobotGrrl: Thanks for your comments and questions. I’ll see if Brian can share some additional information about their shop experience with the machine.

    Pburgess: Thanks for sharing your experience with the FSL. Will be interesting to see if the interns have the same alignment issues that you do.

  6. To me, that looks very little different to the cheap (~800USD) Chinese laser cutters on the big internet auction site. Maybe review how it differs, and whether that’s worth triple the cost?

  7. It looks like one of the units you can get from China off ebay for ±$1000 shipped. If it has the same software (moshidraw) I’d be reluctant to advise anyone to get one of these if they’re not familiar with electrical engineering and laser cutting. It took me quite some time to get the machine to work at all… http://www.krekr.nl/content/142/

  8. The chassis and tube are indeed the same as the “auction site” units. FSL updates the weakest elements (optics, driver board and software) with their own U.S.-made replacements and provides tech support.

  9. (Meant to leave this in the general comments, but accidently put it as a reply to RobotGrrl’s comment. Pardon the repost :P )

    I bought this exact model back in April 2012….. I wrote up my own review of it, if anybody is interested.
    http://www.plasma2002.com/blog/2012/04/18/on-buying-and-using-a-laser-cutter/

    The only thing that has changed since that review is that now there is an electrical problem which is causing current to go directly into my water line, and has caused quite a few nasty shocks. I believe it is a small fracture in the tube where the electrodes get close to the water reservoirs but I can’t confirm that.
    Overall, I love having a laser cutter, and would definitely recommend any maker get one.

  10. I have one of these Rabbit lasers myself and will say that only If you’re looking for a really basic, basic laser where engraving space isn’t an issue (it almost always is) than this is pretty limiting in terms of XY and Z…no room for a rotary as well.

  11. I’ve had many problems with FullSpectrum laser. My laser was pretty horrible damaged – probably during transport. And yet they pretty much don’t care.. After 5 months of waiting on a decent discount, or store credit, i’ve decided to call it quits, and never to buy anything from them again. All I can do is warn others about their practice:
    http://www.adayinthelifeof.nl/2013/07/21/fullspectrumlaser-aka-why-you-should-think-twice-on-buying-from-them/

  12. An intern review, but not before putting it through it’s paces? Nice.
    In my world, a review is done AFTER you run something thouroughly, drive it around the track, and push it to it’s spec’d limit.
    FSL simply rebadges Chinese lasers. IMO they do a poor job of it (compared to Rabbit Lasers). I have worked with 2 different FSL, and are all horrible to work with. Poorly aligned, low hours on the laser before it poofs out, and accuracy is pitiful. PLEASE, don’t rely on this dumb intern rehashing of the brochure, just search for “Full Spectrum Laser Problem” and you will get an earful. You wont get this kind of bad user experience from Epilog or ULS.

  13. I’ve given this entry level laser a good test at a shop but just found the size and power very limiting. 40W isn’t much power with this size wavelength. In fact the 40W tube I had must have been around 30 since I was just able to cut through 1/8″ poplar. I was focused and lenses were clean too. I’d recommend 50 or 60 minimum.

    1. I agree! 60-watts can even mark some anodized aluminum. But the fiber laser is really better for that type of thing. I just found a fiber hobby laser online that is only $11,799! I’ve pre-ordered one and can’t wait to see what it does. https://www.hobbylase.com

    1. Dont forget to add: “3D”. In reality there’s nothing really 3D about their software. Just a buzz word. All their Chinese lasers run on 2D axis rails. They call it 3D because you’re etching into wood which in turn gives it that 3 dimensional appearance.

      In that case ALL laser software is 3D!

  14. I just found a better option to the CO2 hobby lasers. The Hobbylase G20 is a galvo-based 20-watt fiber laser that can mark, engrave, and cut metals and some other materials that the CO2 laser cannot touch. Check it out! https://hobbylase.com

  15. Hobby Series 20×12 CO2 Laser $3775.00

    PRODUCT HAS NEVER FUNCTIONED AND AFTER 4 MONTHS OF SUPPORT REFUSE TO PAY THE $150 SHIPPING TO REPAIR.

    FS Laser also refuses to hire local contractor to repair but will send a technician for the price of $1500 +airfare.

    The first support ticket was opened on April 3, 2017. After set up and first alignment the laser power was weak and marking but not cutting the material. It took 300 passes to cut through.

    The Manual and Video tutorials are not updated to the new Generation 5 model. I have endured months of Technical Support, sent in the PSU, installed new laser tube-which was missing parts that were promised but not shipped for 2 weeks until I contacted again. The screws are very tight and narrow so are now stripped. One of them I could not remove at all.

    I conducted a total of 8 alignment sessions. 3 of them on the phone with tech support only to get to the end and have them tell me to start from the beginning. All along sending in photos of test results.

    FS Laser refuses to pay for return shipping ($150) for service or to hire local contractor to take a look at it. After all of the alignment attempts 2 wires disconnected from the diode and are too small for me to attach.

    The machine has not functioned properly from day 1 and they will not do anything to resolve the situation siting that the purchase is outside of the 30 day warranty.

Comments are closed.

Tagged