A couple of weeks ago I ordered a NEJE DK-8-KZ 1W laser engraver/cutter from China, basically because the price was too good to let go. I spent a couple of hours yesterday trying to etch and cut a few different materials.
Fume extractor and lights mounted on top.
The Neje was surprisingly easy to set up and use. After unboxing and connecting the cables, simply install the CH340 driver and the software from the supplied MicroSD card and off you go. The device did not require any assembly or calibration.
It needs power from two 5VDC USB sources, one for the motors and one for the laser. I used an old 2A iPad charger and the PC's USB port for the other, which also happens to control the device.
The overall build quality is good. I went over all the screws and tightened them with the included Allen key, but all seemed to be sufficiently fastened. No loose ends, no rattling, no cracks or unwanted gaps in the plastic.
The software included is very simple to use. Basically, all you need is to drag'n'drop a 500x500 pixels image and start printing. The program supports some basic image rotation/translation/zooming. Before engraving, the printer goes into preview mode, hit the red button to switch to print mode.
I tested a few different materials out of curiosity. It easily engraved paper, cardboard, colored plastic, FR4 PCB, paper based PCBs. It would cut thin plastic, colored plastic foam, paper and thin cardboard. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, it did not engrave transparent acrylic glass. Metals and other reflective surfaces were not tested.
Pros and cons time.
- Dirt cheap
- Pretty much plug and play
- Small and compact
- Beginner friendly software
- Very small print area, about the size of a box of matches.
- Bottom plate easily gets engraved/cut if you're not careful
Overall conclusion: I'll make use of it, and I'm satisfied. Money well spent.
Although my room now smells like a forest fire.