Manufacturer: Acmer Laser
- 420×400 mm laser operating size
- 33 Watt laser output
- built in air assist
- flame and tilt detector
- built in wifi
The system came nicely packed and quite professional looking. I wouldn’t worry about this laser getting any kind of damage in shipping. They’ve done a really good job.
There isn’t really much assembly involved. You just need to slide the diode head into place, plug in a cable, and attach the air hoses. That’s pretty much all that is necessary. After that, you’re ready to go, but keep in mind that you’ll need to rig up a surface to engrave on because there’s no “floor” to this machine and no included honeycomb or anything. I had a spare sheet of thin aluminum around, so that went under all my work pieces and saved my workbench.
Construction of the machine is pretty solid. I do like that it uses linear rails instead of just wheels rolling on a guide.
On the included memory stick you’ll find a few things, but I was very happy to find a configuration file for Lightburn. All I had to do was click to add a new laser in Lightburn, then select the configuration file and everything was set up and ready to go. I love this.
The machine is also fully compatible with the free software LaserGRBL.
cutting and engraving
Since this is advertised as 33W, which is actually technically stronger than my cheap k40 (most operate up to a maximum in the mid 20 Watts), I was very curious to see how it cut. A previous annoyance I had with diode lasers was the perceived weakness, so this was an exciting machine for me.
The Acmer p2 did not disappoint. The engraving was relatively speedy since the diode is pretty strong(still painfully slow if you’re used to a galvo) and the cutting worked exactly as you’d hope. I was cutting through quarter inch wood in a few passes with nice clean results. The built in air assist helped keep things nice and clean. Previously, I wouldn’t have put much faith into a diode for cutting, but this feels like a solid work horse.
Their website says they can cut roughly half inch thick acrylic or softer wood. They don’t state how many passes that took, so keep in mind you’re going to be doing many passes. The tight beam of this laser helps keep the edges nice and clean, even with multiple passes.
One annoyance you’ll encounter, which is not unique to the Acmer P2, but rather all open frame lasers like this is that there’s no great way to extract fumes and exhaust. I have a nice in-line exhaust fan and some ducting, but you’ll have to rig up a hood or a way to attach it to this machine. If you’re used to using open frame lasers, you probably already have a solution to this. One solution is, of course, to buy the additional enclosure that Acmer offers, which gives you a way to contain the smoke and port it directly to the exhaust.
Speaking of buying more things, Acmer does offer a camera, a rotary extension, and an enclosure for this machine but I did not test any of them.
It is refreshing to see diode lasers maturing to a point where they can compete with the cheapest c02 laser. To be totally honest, after using this I gave away my aging k40. No more water pumps and buckets for me! At $1200 for the base unit, there’s a pretty good value here. Just be sure you’ve covered your bases for exhaust and safety.