Once again, the laser engraving market continues to evolve. The Alfawise C40 is the latest addition to the Chinese brand already responsible for some great releases. There was the Alfawise U30 Pro, my favorite 3D printer of the moment, the Alfawise U20 3D printer which also seems very interesting and well supported by the community and of course the Alfawise C30, my current laser engraver.
The differences between the Alfawise C40 and C30 are not huge in reality. The useful dimensions, understand the surface that the laser is able to engrave, are identical. A surface of 40 cm wide and 30 cm deep can be worked on. On this surface the C30 deploys a 2.5 watt laser which is sufficient to attack classic materials very easily: paper, wood, horn, leather etc.
The C40 offers two different lasers stamped 7W and 20W. It is important to understand the little trick used by the brand and most Chinese laser engraving machine manufacturers. It’s not about their etching power, it’s about their… power consumption. The 7 Watt laser consumes 7 Watts but offers a light output of only 1.2 to 1.6 Watts. The 20 watt power consumption model offers between 4 and 5 watts of real burning power. So that’s the big difference between the C40 and the C30, which are built around the same model.
The “7 Watts” model will be able to attack paper, cardboard, leather and wood with more or less bite depending on the surface. Cutting paper will be possible, but don’t expect to attack plywood with it too much. The more powerful “20 Watts” model will be able to engrave and cut more material but will not have enough power to cut hardwoods or attack very solid materials. Don’t expect to attack metal with just their paint.
Both models use a laser with a wavelength of the classic 445 ± 5 nm with manual focus and low emission adjustment. It will therefore be necessary to buy glasses compatible with this wavelength. Typically a model with very wide coverage from 180 to 590 nm.
Chassis made of aluminium profiles to be assembled on which the laser will run, driven by two motors and belts. The Alfawise C40’s motherboard remains Open Source but now switches to 32-bit for faster data processing and smooth engine control. The communication between the machine, which passes through a USB port via software such as LaserGRBL for example, is also improved. The overall accuracy is also superior, although I doubt that the impact is huge with this type of laser and the speeds offered.
The brand has retained its various protection systems. Starting with a blockage of the laser emission if the laser remains without moving for too long to avoid any risk of fire starting. In the event of a command break between the engraver and the master computer, the laser will also stop and, most importantly, a motion sensor is integrated on the motherboard. So that if the frame would move due to an unexpected movement, the engraving would stop. This last point prevents an object from slipping under the beam or, worse, your hand for example. But it also avoids continuing engraving when the laser is no longer aligned with the object to be engraved. This makes it possible to resume burning in a second step without spoiling your media.
In short, a new, slightly updated version, sold at a softer price for the “7W” model and equivalent for the “20W” model. The Alfawise C40 in the 1.6 Watt model is priced at $179.99 while the 5 Watt model is priced at $279.99.
Of course it will be possible to upgrade these machines, either by changing the aluminium profiles to enlarge them. Either by changing the laser module for more power. Attention, the product sheet does not list glasses with the package. Although I assume a basic model comes with it, I encourage you to purchase a pair of quality safety goggles with your engraver. Never use these devices without eye protection.