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Comgrow Z1 Laser Engraver Review: Tested

Comgrow Z1 Laser Engraver Review: Tested

Comgrow Z1 Laser Engraver Review: Tested

Comgrow COMGO Z1 is an open-frame desktop laser engraver. With its large work area, multiple laser power options, and upgrades, Z1 is a versatile laser machine.

This is an in-depth review of the COMGO Z1 laser engraver. I review it on parameters like the size, material capability, transmission, assembly, upgrades, software compatibility, and more.

I tested this laser on several materials like wood, glass, and jeans as a part of this review. All the results that I got are presented raw in this review.

MellowPine is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

Comgrow COMGO Z1 Laser Engraver Review

Comgrow COMGO Z1 Review Video

YouTube video
Comgrow COMGO review video including unboxing, assembly, and tests on multiple materials.

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Size

COMGO Z1 laser engraver
COMGO Z1
Footprint (l x w x h)Work Area (l x w x h)
22.64" x 22.65" x 8.07"
(575 x 575 x 205 mm)
15.75" x 15.75" x 4.13"
(400 x 400 x 105 mm)

Footprint and work area of Comgrow COMGO Z1

Comgrow COMGO Z1 has a footprint of 22.64" x 22.65" x 8.07" (575 x 575 x 205 mm) and can be placed on top of most workbenches. It weighs around 11 lbs.

You get a square work area of 15.75" x 15.75" x 4.13" (400 x 400 x 105 mm), which lets you work on fairly large workpieces.

The work area is comparable to the popular Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro, but COMGO Z1 costs $100 less than the Ortur.

In addition, the open-frame design of COMGO Z1 makes it easier for you to load and unload workpieces from the work area.

The machine is supported by four rigid aluminum extrusions and has a simple design.

Unassembled frame and gantry of COMGO Z1
Unassembled frame and gantry of COMGO Z1

Laser Module

Assembling Z1's laser module
Assembling Z1's laser module

COMGO Z1 comes with two diode laser options. You can choose either a 5W laser or a 10W dual-diode laser module, and both operate at a wavelength of 445 nm.

Unlike the 5W module, the 10W module uses two diode lasers. It then combines the laser beams and gives out a higher power.

In a typical diode laser, the laser spot size would be around 0.25 x 0.15 mm, causing the spot to be longer on one of the axes.

The laser modules in COMGO Z1 use FAC (Fast Axis Collimating) lenses, which allow a laser focus spot of 0.08 x 0.08 mm.

FAC lens
FAC lens

With this refined focus spot, COMGO Z1 can perform high-resolution engravings.

Comparatively, the 10W XTool D1 has a similar spot size to COMGO Z1, but it costs ~$300 more, and the Atomstack X7, with a much smaller spot size of 0.06 x 0.06 mm, costs ~$250 more.

So COMGO Z1 definitely is a pocket-friendly option for anyone looking for a laser engraver with good resolution.

COMGO Z1 laser module
COMGO Z1 laser module (Source: Comgrow)

The 10W laser module needs a 7mm gap between the shield and work surface, while the 5W module requires a 2mm gap.

The laser modules used in Z1 have a lifetime of more than 10,000 hours, and replacement modules from Comgrow are available on their official website and on Amazon.

These are class 4 lasers and are hazardous if proper laser safety measures are not followed.

Always remember to wear laser safety glasses when working with laser machines.

Transmission/Linear Drive

Motorized Y-axis of COMGO Z1
Motorized Y-axis of COMGO Z1

COMGO Z1 is driven using belt drives along the X and Y-axis. The Y-axis is driven using a dual drive to prevent racking, and it helps achieve higher engraving or cutting accuracy.

The Z1 laser engraver uses rollers that move along the channels of the aluminum profile for supporting the gantry.

However, the rollers are smaller compared to most similar laser machines but do not compromise the quality of the engraving.

I tried cutting some patterns repeatedly on COMGO Z1 and was able to achieve similar results each time. The maximum speed I could achieve on Z1 while engraving was around 196 ipm (5,000 mm/min).

The Z-axis is not motorized, so for setting up the laser focus you'll have to adjust the laser mount by manually moving it up or down depending on the material thickness.

Material Capability

Z1 working on wood
Z1 working on wood

COMGO Z1 can work on several materials with both the 5W and 10W laser modules, but with the 10W module, you can engrave at almost double the speed of the 5W module.

Some of the materials supported on Z1 are wood, MDF, paper, leather, bamboo, plastic, foam, rubber, fabric, acrylic, anodized metal, etc.

It can also engrave stainless steel, glass, and transparent acrylic when they are coated.

COMGO Z1 has a Z-travel of 4.13", which can house thick workpieces or a rotary axis module.

If you want to work on workpieces thicker than 4", you can raise the laser machine using some blocks.

When both lasers are operated at full power, the 10W laser can cut a 0.15" thick wood board at a speed of ~7.8 ipm. Similarly, the 5W laser can cut a 0.15" thick wood board at ~3.5 ipm.

Comgrow has provided laser settings for different materials on Z1's product page on their website.

I have tested COMGO Z1 by cutting and engraving some materials, and you can find those test results in the upcoming section of this article.

Controller and Electronics

Controller

Controller of COMGO Z1 laser engraver
Controller of COMGO Z1 laser engraver (Source: Comgrow)

COMGO Z1 uses a 32Bit microcontroller flashed with Comgrow laser engraver firmware based on GRBL.

It is a three-axis controller and has a WiFi port where you can install a WiFi module. If you have the WiFi module you can connect to the engraver using a smartphone.

Controller of COMGO Z1
Controller of COMGO Z1

The controller is housed inside an electronics enclosure with indicator LEDs. The red light indicates the power status, and the green shows its connection status.

There is a power switch on the electronics enclosure. You can use it to turn the laser on/off.

Unfortunately, it doesn't have an emergency switch, but you can use the power switch to halt the machine's operation in case of an emergency.

COMGO uses a gyroscope in its controller to analyze major machine movements. This helps the machine halt its operation when it tips over a certain angle.

Additionally, it has resume support to continue the job after restoring the laser to its normal position.

Stepper Motors

Stepper motor on COMGO Z1
Stepper motor on COMGO Z1

COMGO Z1 uses three NEMA 17 stepper motors with a holding torque of 67.97 oz-in for driving the belt drive mechanism. The Y-axis uses two stepper motors, and the X-axis uses one.

Limit Switches

Limit switches on COMGO Z1
Limit switches on COMGO Z1

COMGO Z1 comes with limit switches on the X and Y axes. It is primarily used to home the machine.

Software

Preparing test design on LaserBurn
Preparing test design on LaserBurn

COMGO Z1 supports LightBurn and LaserGRBL sofware. LaserGRBL is a free-to-use software whereas LightBurn is paid.

LaserGRBL runs on computers operating on Windows OS, while LightBurn is capable of running on systems operating on  Windows, Mac, or Linux OS.

LightBurn is CADCAM, and control compatible. LaserGRBL cannot be used for making designs.

If your application mostly requires engraving images, I would recommend you to use LaserGRBL, and if you are primarily working on lines for cutting applications LaserBurn is the best option.

For someone who's looking to do both cutting and engraving operations, LaserBurn is the best bet.

You can use nesting software to optimize the shapes in your design and arrange it efficiently in a plane. They rearrange the design to minimize material wastage.

Assembly

Assembling COMGO Z1
Assembling COMGO Z1
ComponentsQuantity
Profile (aluminum extrusions)4
Profile cover4
X-axis kit (with electronic enclosure)1
Support feet4
Laser module1
Power adapter1
Safety goggle1
USB cable (Type-B)1
Belt2
M3X6 screw4
M5X8 screw14
M5X25 screw4
M5 T-nut4
M5 Square nut4
Wire holder1
Zip ties2
Hexagonal wrench4
Open-end wrench2

List of components that are included in the box

Comgrow COMGO Z1 comes as pre-assembled modules like their ROBO CNC router machine.

The assembly process is quite simple and is explained well in the user manual available on their website.

Also, I have a YouTube video explaining the step-by-step assembly process, which you can refer to.

COMGO Z1 mainly has five modules: aluminum extrusions, gantry, electronic enclosure, power supply, and laser module.

It takes around 10 to 15 minutes to assemble the whole machine. Setting up the software will take another 5 minutes.

Accessories

The COMGO Z1 laser engraver comes with a pair of laser safety goggles to protect your eyes from the harmful laser beam. It is rated to block laser beams with a wavelength of 445 nm.

Some sample plywood boards are also provided with the machine for you to test the machine.

Upgrade

Comgrow sells an enclosure, a honeycomb laser bed, and a rotary roller for COMGO Z1. You can use it to upgrade COMGO Z1.

Enclosure

Enclosure for COMGO Z1
Enclosure for COMGO Z1 (Source: Comgrow)

Comgrow has a universal fire retardant laser enclosure with a work area of 25.6" x 25.6" x 13" (650 x 650 x 330 mm).

It has a detachable exhaust port of 3" diameter on its backside for connecting filter or exhaust system.

You can use it to upgrade COMGO Z1 with an additional layer of safety, it also effectively removes the built-up smoke in the work area.

Honeycomb Laser Bed

Comgrow honeycomb laser bed
Comgrow honeycomb laser bed (Source: Comgrow)

Honeycomb laser beds are handy for getting smooth edges with fewer burns and help reduce the smoke damage caused underneath the laser-cut material.

Comgrow sells a honeycomb bed on their website with a work bed size of 15.75" x 15.75" x 0.87" (400 x 400 x 22 mm).

It uses a stainless steel mat at the bottom to protect the surface beneath it. It is compatible with the COMGO Z1 laser machine and most other similar-sized diode or CO2 laser engravers.

Rotary Roller

Comgrow laser rotary roller
Comgrow laser rotary roller (Source: Comgrow)

Comgrow laser rotary roller helps COMGO Z1 engrave on various cylindrical objects. The stepper motors controlling it has a step angle of 1.8°, and the whole rotary module weighs around 1.1 lbs.

It has two rollers, and you can adjust the roller distance to house cylindrical workpieces of various diameters. The rollers can have a spacing of 1.2" to 6.6".

The laser rotay module has a footprint of 9.3" x 4.1" x 1.2" (237 x 105 x 30.5mm).

Community

Comgrow has an active community on Facebook where discussions are happening around its products and related projects.

Because of the affordable price range that Comgrow offers, their products have a large user base.

Comgrow's sellers' page on amazon is also quite active because of their productive discussions with customers.

You can solve most of your doubts and issues about the machine from these sources. If not, you can contact Comgrow directly.

Customer Support

For queries, you can contact Comgrow through email and using the contact form on their website. Usually, they reply within 24 hours.

Comgrow offers a one-year warranty for COMGO Z1 and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

They have a Z1 guide page on their website that explains the assembly process, software setup, and troubleshooting of the laser machine.

The COMGO Z1 FAQ documentation they provide is beneficial for troubleshooting most of the issues.

Testing Comgrow COMGO Z1 Laser on Different Materials

I used the 10W version of the Comgrow COMGO Z1 on several commonly used materials and the laser performed well.

3mm Plywood Cutting

Cutting 2mm ply on COMGO Z1
Cutting 3mm ply on COMGO Z1

I ran a power test on the 3mm ply that came in the kit. The laser was able to make a clean-through cut at 400 mm/min and 80% power.

The edges were smooth and there was minimal burning.

Wooden Coaster Test Engraving

Wood engraving made on COMGO Z1 Laser
Wood engraving made on COMGO Z1 Laser

I used the laser on a pinewood coaster at 90% maximum power and 5,000 mm/min speed. The result was too dark, it would have been better to do it at a lower power setting.

Engraving Test on Jeans

Jeans engraved on COMGO Z1 Laser
Jeans engraved on COMGO Z1 Laser

You can use COMGO to engrave on jeans and customize them. Going in with 40% power and 5,000 mm/min speed gives good results without causing damage to the fabric.

Engraving on Ceramic Tile

Image of a koala engraved on ceramic tile using Comgrow Z1 laser engraver
Image of a koala engraved on ceramic tile using Comgrow Z1 laser engraver

I used a ceramic tile painted black to engrave a picture of a koala. I did it with 60% max power and at a speed of 2000 mm/min.

The result was amazing, the resolution was good with good details.

Engraving on Stainless Steel

Stainless steel engrave on Comgrow Z1
Stainless steel engrave on Comgrow Z1

I was able to engrave on stainless steel directly without any coating. I ran it at 90% power and at a speed of 5,000 mm/min.

I ran two passes to get a dark contrast. The engraving is tough it can withstand normal wear and tear.

Engraving on Mirror

Mirror engraving done on COMGO Z1
Mirror engraving done on COMGO Z1

Laser engraving mirror involves removing the coating at the backside of the glass to make it transparent. I used 60% power at 3,000 mm/min and the results were clean.

I even used the laser to score the mirror to break it off from the stock piece.

Final Thoughts

COMGO Z1 is a good beginner and affordable laser engraver machine. It can not only engrave but can also cut fabrics, wood, cardboard, paper, and more.

Compared to other laser engravers of a similar price range, Comgrow is quite feature-rich.

You can get the 10W version if you intend to do light cutting along with engraving.

The 5W one is good for engraving and occasional light cutting, but the speeds are going to be slower than what you could achieve with the 10W one.

I had a lot of fun exploring and experimenting with this machine on different materials.

Finding the right setting for the materials you use is the hardest part. However, the process of laser cutting or engraving is highly rewarding once you cross that roadblock.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why am I getting poor engraving or cutting results on my laser?

You are getting poor engraving or cutting results on the laser either because you are working with the wrong laser settings or using materials incompatible with your laser power or laser type. You can refer to the manufacturer's material list and settings chart to better understand the compatible materials and the recommended settings.

Can I work on metals with COMGO Z1?

Yes, you can work on metals with COMGO Z1, but only for engraving painted, electroplated, or anodized metals. The 5W and 10W diode laser modules are not powerful enough to cut through metals. You may be able to cut 0.63 mils thin metal foils, but nothing more than that.

What are all the maintenance requirements of a laser engraver?

The maintenance requirements of laser engravers mainly include keeping the transmission in a proper working condition and clearing the optics, air filter, and exhaust fan. After hours of operation, the generated fumes leave the optics (mirror and lens) clouded with fume stains, reducing the laser intensity, so it needs to be cleaned. Also, the linear drives need to be tightened or greased depending on the drive mechanism used for its effective operation.

About John

Hey I'm John. I talk about CNCs and Lasers at Mellowpine. If you have any questions related to CNCs or Lasers, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at mail@mellowpine.com

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John

Hey I'm John. I talk about CNCs and Lasers at Mellowpine. If you have any questions related to CNCs or Lasers, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at mail@mellowpine.com

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