The last time I used a laser engraver, I turned my 6-year-old laptop into a timeless piece of art by engraving the lid – and ultimately creating awesome customisation. Ortur Laser Master 2 (review) was the more expensive unit, but if you want to join the engraving train, there are more entry-level machines to consider. Ortur Aufero 2 got shipped to me, so read on
Engraving on a budget
The package was surprisingly light, well packed and parts inside partially assembled. It took me a good hour to go through the instructions on Ortur Laser Master 2, this time around, the manual has 7 pages and you can put the entire machine together in about 20 min. Frankly speaking, if you are smart about what parts to remove, you could take advantage of the quick assembly and store the engraver partially disassembled.
At $269.99, Ortur Aufero 2 misses a couple of features that are present on its more expensive brother. You won’t find the following:
- Emergency Stop button
- Flame sensor
- Limit Switches
- E-Chain to keep your cables secured and organised
However, none of these is mandatory, and if the budget is tight, it could be the right machine for you. What you do get, depends on the configuration selected in the Ortur store, which lists:
- LU2-2 Standard laser head (5.5W)
- LU2-4LF Long Focus version with air assist support (better for cutting)
- LU2-4SF Short Focus version (better for engraving)
Optional add-ons include:
- OOC 2.0 – dedicated screen controller
- ZLD – Z-height adjustment bracket
- YRR2.0 – Y axis rollers for engraving on round objects
- OE2.0 – Machine Enclosure (coming soon)
Whether the machine has a flame sensor and emergency stop or not, I would still encourage you not to leave it unattended. Engraving is basically shooting a hot laser at more or less-flammable materials – so your outcomes may vary from beautiful customised gifts to pieces of wood set on fire.
If you are going to spend less, be mindful of the safety considerations. You can always improve these later by adding a custom enclosure, sensors or camera to monitor the process.
Homing – less
Ortur Aufero 2 doesn’t have limit switches, nor uses sensorless homing. At first, I was confused by this, but as this is not a CNC machine, accurate spatial positioning isn’t necessary. Despite having limit switches on my last engraver, my workflow would always start with setting the origin manually for each job.
It’s not to say that limit switches are useless. The biggest disadvantage of not having limit switches is not being able to re-home the head to the same position after a power outage or accidental gantry shift. If Ortur Aufero 2 loses the gantry position, the point of origin won’t be in the same spot. Homing helps the machine finds its bearings and resumes job accurately.
Looking at the control board, you could add the limit switches yourself as a future upgrade if you are interested in that.
If you are new to the hobby, you’ll appreciate it as it removes a lot of hassle from the initial setup. Apart from a couple of key points, the setup is problem-free. Pay extra attention to the orientation of the gantry (laser module facing your way), make sure you slot it in – the correct way up and observe instructions when it comes to connecting the cables.
The most confusing part was the corner screws that should be fitted like on the picture below:
Everything else is a piece of cake.
I’m using Lightburn. Your choices may vary, but the licence will set you back £45 (with free upgrades for a year), and it’s a good investment if you think of engraving seriously.
Set Ortur Aufero 2 as GBRL device, select the COM point from the list and pick option NOT to home on initialisation. If you can’t move any of the axes manually, but the machine is connected, run the wizard again and make sure automatic homing is disabled. That’s the only issue I had with the machine so far.
I really like the new magnetic cover for the laser – which is easier to attach and focus the laser on the material.
Engraving, not cutting
The stock Ortur Aufero 2 comes with LU2-2 Fixed Focus Laser (5.5W) which is good for engraving, but not powerful enough to make decent cuts. You could get an upgraded version of Ortur Aufero 2 with LU2-4-LF Long Focus to enable air-assist and make the cutting process easier.
As long as you don’t expect this to substitute for a proper laser cutter – you will have a great time.
Just as before, LU2-4-LF Long FocusOrtur Aufero 2 is capable of moving faster than reasonable. Without bolting it down to a surface, try limiting the speed to less than 200mm/s to avoid the gantry from moving itself around the table.
The burn area of 390mm x 390mm is generous and so far I have not come across anything that would require a bigger working space.
Engraving is art
As with most things, getting a perfect engraving will depend on many factors. The main ones are your experience, material compatibility and preparation. Don’t expect things to go well on the first try. Take notes, try materials out with different settings before committing and remember what worked well. With time you’ll develop engraving profiles that work for you and your Ortur Aufero 2.
Ortur Aufero 2 is a really decent budget engraver. The burn area is big enough for most of your projects and with a little bit of patience, you will be burning awesome gifts for friends and family. You don’t necessarily have to set up a shop to sell your creations and make some money back, but having this machine just before Xmas or relative’s birthdays could save you a lot of money and give you the opportunity to gift truly unique gifts. If you have any questions feel free to visit and comment in this Reddit thread.
🆓📈💵 – See the transparency note for details.