January 11, 2023
If you're looking to unlock new creative heights and explore new possibilities, the Hybrid xTool M1 Laser & Blade Cutting Machine is the perfect tool for you. I consider this a perfect gateway laser from a Cricut because not only are you able to blade cut just like any of the Cricut cutting machines for materials like vinyl or paper, you can also unleash the power of laser cutting and engraving for materials like acrylic, wood, and some metals. With this beginner's guide, you'll be able to see how this amazing machine works, and is set up, then you can easily decide if this is the machine for you.
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The first step is to unpack your Hybrid xTool M1 Laser & Blade Cutting Machine. The unboxing process is SIMPLE - honestly it took my husband and I under 10 minutes from unboxing to having the laser go.
The box contains the base machine, along with an array of tools, a sample of materials, and accessories that will help you get started. The sample materials give you a sense of what the machine will be able to engrave and cut.
You will find: 3mm basswood, a dog tag, vinyl, and paper along with extra blades for cutting. You’ll find two double sided sticky mats - one light grip and one fabric grip. You will also get a back of triangular prisms to help ventilate your laser cuts.
Don’t forget to full read the instructions to set up your machine and venting system. I have the xTool smoke purifier attachment as well to help with venting - this is an extra accessory but you can also vent out your windows or in your garage!
Once everything is unpacked, set up your machine as directed in the manual and make sure it's firmly secured. I have mine set up on a small desk from Target near my window, the machine is a compact 17.5 by 22 inches so it’s a great addition to any craftroom.
To get started with the Hybrid xTool M1 Laser & Blade Cutting Machine, you’ll need to connect it to your computer. You can download the free software from their website for a PC or a Mac. I did not see an option for iPad. I connected via USB after download and it immediately found the machine without issue. You’ll see a canvas in the center of the software and this is where you will see a snapshot of the plain within the machine. I like to think of this like snap-mat with Cricut Design Space for iPad. It will automatically take a picture of the plain every time you open and close the lid to the machine.
Once you’ve completed the setup process, you can start using the machine. It’s important to remember that the Hybrid xTool M1 Laser & Blade Cutting Machine can be operated in both manual and auto modes. In manual mode, you’ll control the speed and depth of your cuts by adjusting the speed and pressure on its software interface. Auto mode is great for quick projects as it will allow you to set up cutting parameters in advance and let the machine do all of the work. For example some of the materials listed are: brown Kraft paper, stainless steel dog tag, and some acrylics. The first project I started with was a 3mm basswood sign I purchased at the Dollar Tree.
I wanted to test out the laser portion of the machine first and do a simple engrave of my logo. As I work with my hybrid m1 xTool laser, I will add more projects with the settings I am using!
My suggestion is to start with the sample materials and do some test cuts or engraves. I had this circular sign which was the same material they sent and started there.
On the software to the right (on a Mac) you will see your options for cut, engrave, and score. You’ll start at the top and work down. To begin I didn’t mess with any of the standard settings. I placed my blank basswood sign inside the machine and closed the lid. I uploaded my PNG logo and centered it by dragging it to the middle. They have guidelines that help with centering and snap capabilities. I then went back to my side panel while I had the PNG highlighted. At the top I used the laser flat setting, I picked out their standard 3mm basswood setting, then I picked engrave. From there you’ll click processing. You’ll hit a screen that says framing.
This will make sure the laser will clear any height and be able to do its job - it also gives you an estimated project time. Once you are ready, you’ll hit start in the top right corner and then the white button on the machine. Make sure you are venting properly whether that’s with the vent out the window or through your smoke purifier. My project took about 18 minutes due to the size. The laser worked perfectly and the smoke purifier definitely helped with the smell. I did keep my window open for extra ventilation as well.
This laser was easy to set up and get going. There is little to no assembly, the software can be tricky but stay tuned for even more blog posts on how to utilize the interface! I highly suggest the m1 by xTool if you want to take the next step. At a price point of under $1000 - it's compact and can really elevate your projects! I can't wait to see what you make!