I recently got offered a laser engraver for review, and the plain novelty factor meant I couldn’t turn it down. The Neje DK-8-KZ 1000mW laser engraver a $83 gadget that could be used to customise almost anything, I was told. How true was the description? Find out here.
Inside the box
Inside the extremely plain looking generic-branded box, you get another thermocol box with everything neatly tucked. This includes the Neje DK-8-KZ 1000mW laser engraver itself (covered in a thin plastic film and packing material wherever required), a pair of glasses, an Allen wench, a microSD card, a user’s manual (meh), 1GB microSD card and two USB cables — USB to microUSB (data) and USB to USB (power).
I couldn’t quite figure out what the microSD card was for before going through the product description a bit before I started to write this review. Turns out it contains the software required to operate the gadget. I had downloaded it off the internet, anyway.
Setting it up
It takes a little while and a Windows PC to get the Neje DK-8-KZ 1000mW laser engraver working. You’re required to download the accompanying software via trusfur.com (or you could choose to use the version provided on the microSD; I went with the former).
Worth noting is that your anti-virus software will have to be put in pause mode while you install and use this software. The makers claim it’s clean, I’ve had no issues as well. But then YMMV.
Once done, give your PC a quick reboot. Plug in both cables – preferably connect the USB to USB cable to a power adapter since your computer will most likely not be able to supply the required current.
A little tricky the first couple of times, but once you get a hang of it (shouldn’t be long before you do), you’ll turn into pro very soon.
Ensure you have both cables contacted, and then fire up the engraver app. Here, you can drag and drop any image and the software will convert it into black and white. Since that is the case, vector images work best.
Once that’s done, you want to have your object to be engraved in place, and secured with the elastic bands. Next, use the dial on the laser pointer to adjust focus till what you see is a sharp dot on the object. Remember to use the provided glasses while doing this.
Next up, you’ll want to ‘send image to machine’. Self explanatory.
To get a preview of the L x B of the engraved image, you now want to hit ‘Carving Preview’. This will give you a preview of the maximum length and breadth needed to engrave your image on the object. If it’s a bit too big or if it’s not where you want it to be, use the buttons in the ‘Movement’ and ‘Image Editing’ areas. Remember to ‘send image to machine’ eachine time you zoom out or rotate.
Depending on the material of the object to be engraved upon, you want to adjust the ‘burning time’, which goes all the way up to 240. From my experience of carving 4-5 different materials, 10-15 works best on wood while plastic objects tend to require higher burning times.
It’ll take you a few attempts to find the sweet spot, so don’t worry and experiment. The only thing you need to be sure about is wearing the glasses when looking at the beam. Once you’re ready to go, hit ‘Start’.
The engraver will now move towards completion, and the image will turn from black to red as it progresses.
Neje DK-8-KZ 1000mW laser engraver: Conclusion
The software also comes with a few b/w images that’ll get you going, including a couple Shinchan ones! Like I said, it’s a little tricky to get the ‘burning time’ right. But once you do get a hang of it, customising any kind of object is only a few min away from you.
I had honestly never heard of this brand before, but it turns out NEJE are quite a big deal in the laser engraver market. This specific model, I feel, despite it’s limitation (read: works only on Windows) is pretty cool for the money. I’m just not sure how much fun it’ll be in a couple of months time, once the novelty factor wears out.
Nonetheless, hope you enjoyed reading the review. If you have any questions, feel free to comment! You can get the Neje DK-8-KZ 1000mW laser engraver for yourself for $82.94 from Chinavasion.