Yeah. The laser bug bit me. Thanks, Phil

Howdy, All.

I was talking to the missus about all the complicated, expensive, and dangerous ways I could be signing my work. She handed me a sharpie.


Been having great luck with the X-Carve. But as with all things awesome, they’re better when lasers are attached.


Just ordered a jtech photonics 2.8w kit and mount after reading through @PhilJohnson 's Thread, “Phil’s 2.8w Jtech Laser Journey”. Wish me luck.



Got the laser all assembled. went together pretty easy. did a test circle. worked alright! Will have more updates/projects soon.


Is there a reason everyone seems to be going for the 2.8W and not the 3.8W? Is it a matter of cost, or does the 3.8W pose some other cons that I just haven’t considered?

Cheers and I hope you’ll post your thoughts on the laser as your experience with it grows.

Just wait until you want to start playing with photo engraving, that’l make you scratch your head while you figure it all out…
As for Mr. Phil, his laser section on his website is a bit of a golden nugget at the edge of the laser beam rainbow.


Phil is correct. I picked it up for finer detail. The difference is pretty tiny, but in this case smaller is better. Also, I only need to etch, not cut.

Spot sized according to this page:
1W 405nm: 0.004″ (0.1mm)
2W 445nm: 0.008″ (0.2mm)
2.8W 445nm: 0.01″ (0.25mm)
3.8W 445nm: 0.014″ (0.28mm)

the 2.8w seemed to be a sweet spot, both financially, and size.


Like I said. Good results.

Side note. test on what you’re etching. 30IPM test, one pass, ten lines from zero to almost 100% power. 0, 25, 50, 75, etc… spindle PWM setting. Text is all at 200 spindle PWM. about 78% power

pine, walnut, and cedar. The cedar is probably drier than the rest. been in the garage for a few years.

Vertical lines are 3/4" and the text is 1/2" tall


Looks awesome in the walnut. Im so close to ordering a laser!!

I was looking at the opt lasers one because of the magnetic mount so I could put it away easily when not in use, but It was a bit over my price range at around 800 USD for something I didn’t have a plan for or know how it would work.

I am very happy with the Jtech photonics one. Jay was great to work with and got back to emails fast, and shipped it the next day. Another factor was Jtech is just outside Houston, TX and I’m near Austin, TX. Figured shipping would be fast. It was.


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I like the design and functionality available with the Opt Laser, but it’s just not worth the extra money for me to get the polished package.

Personally, the JTech offering is a better deal for me, although I have not purchased one yet.

Either unit should give good performance for engraving and image work. I do not consider any laser diode useful for cutting (personal bias).

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So help me out here.
I will eventually get into a laser also and have been looking at the OPT and JTech.
If the 2.8 gives better detail because it has a smaller spot (.28mm) then would the OPT not be even better with a .1mm spot?
Or am I missing something here?

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Be careful reading specs, they generally are determined under ideal conditions that you would rarely see at home. Many if not all laser diodes use a rectangular die to implement the laser. What you get out the end depends on distance from the laser to the target and the lenses/material that the laser beam passes through or reflects off of (mirrors) on it’s way to the target.

OPT 6 watt laser spot width 0.1 mm spot height 0.2-0.4 mm depending on focus

Jtech 2.8 watt spot size 0.007 inch (0.1778 mm)

Be careful when lasing walnut, The smoke from it is somewhat more toxic than from most other domestic species of wood,
Many exotics toxic as well, and some are much worse than others.
As for man made materials, there have been mentions about some of them here on the forum and google is your friend. BE SAFE!
When in doubt, blow it out.

Yep. But I wanted to stay under 400 bucks. Jtech was local, and the price was right.


Wow! I had never heard that about walnut. I in fact have read that many people use it to heat their homes and others in fact smoke meats or cook over it.

I have in fact been reading a lot about it and plan on some sort of ventilation for the laser.

Thanks for the heads up.

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Some folks expressed interest in the gcode for the test. Here’s a VCarve 9 file and the gcode.

The tools and material are set up as per the jtech site says. Used UGS to run it.

Material set up:


Files for the vector test:

30ipm_Vector.crv (143 KB)
30ipm_VectorCalibrate.gcode (8.5 KB)

I’ll put up the raster test later on when I complete them.


edit: Had some weirdness with the upload. Not sure why the names are different. Should be good to go, though.