xTool D1 Pro 20W Review – Mandala Art with a 20W laser engraver and cutter

xTool D1 Pro 20W Review Mandala Art

Hey Karl here. I am going to be sharing my experience with the xTool D1 Pro 20W. It is a 20W laser cutter/engraver with a 340x390mm working area. It has been heavily reviewed and I will comment on a few points I have not seen spoken about. I join a lot of Facebook groups for these reviews to get real-world feedback and ideas to write about. With nearly all forms of digital fabrication, I regularly read about misconceptions and frustration that stem from unknowingly purchasing a machine that requires a substantial amount of time and patience to learn. For this review, I kept a daily log and will summarize the time it took me to complete one project. I did get sidetracked on a few aspects and will take that time out. I am excited to share the results of the laser power testing I have been doing. Logs will […]

TerraMaster F4-423 review – A low-power 4-bay NAS tested with Unraid

Hey Karl here. The timing couldn’t have been more opportune when I was asked to review the TerraMaster F4-423 4-bay NAS. Let me explain why. I run Unraid as my OS of choice for my home lab. I have found it easy to maintain and hard to break. My old rig had a 3900X with 3 cores, 6 threads dedicated to docker containers, and the remaining cores running VM’s. It has been a fun and learning experience. I have run it with several different VM configurations over the past few years. The majority of the time I ran 2 VM’s. One personal and one work and I would RDP over to the work VM. If I wanted to game I had a third gaming VM and allocated all resources to it. It’s not super convenient and as convoluted as it sounds. But recently I moved back to my company-provided laptop […]

Creality CR-Scan Lizard Review – An easy-to-use 3D scanner

Hey, Karl here, and today we are going to review Creality’s CR-Scan Lizard. This device is a 3D scanner that uses the structured light process to 3D scan. Instead of visible light, it uses non-visible light. I have no idea where lizards come into play but here we are. I have been waiting for quite some time for a lower-cost consumer 3D scanner. I attempted a DIY structured light scanner a long time ago, with some success…..but the time it took was unacceptable. It took me hours to set up perfectly and many more cleaning up point clouds and aligning even for a small scan. Leading me to give up on the project. I search around the Internet periodically but have never found a good working DIY solution. I am glad we are starting to see some relatively good cheapish scanners come out in the past year. Creality CR-Scan Lizard […]

Making a DIY 10.1-inch All-in-One PC out of AMR5 Ryzen 5 gaming mini PC

Hey Karl here. The first thing I need to do is thank the manufacturer of the brand Ace Magician for sending over a unit of their AMR5 gaming mini PC to more or less play with. I did a tiny bit of benchmarking along the way. This is the last time you will see the system in this state 😀 Story time. I have been really wanting a Steam Deck. But we purchased a Nintendo Switch about a year ago and it has barely been used. As soon as my son picked it up he asked why it was so laggy and has shown very little interest in it. So that got me worried about purchasing essentially a one-trick device. There have been a couple of good attempts at a DIY Steam Deck and I wanted to experiment with a small form factor. I went into this with a general […]

Ortur LU2-10A 10W laser module issues and measuring laser power

Karl here and I will keep this short for you. First I will share my experience installing an upgrade module for the Lasermaster 2 Pro, the Ortur LU2-10A. The LM2Pro came with a 5.5w laser module and this upgrade brings the power up to approximately 10w optical power. Spoiler, I am not happy with the kit. [Update (CNXSoft): The company has put us in direct contact with Ortur engineer, and they’ve promised to help us fix the issue. We’ll update the post if/once it is resolved] The Ortur LU2-10A kit comes with a very simple adapter board that appears to do two tasks. 1 is to adapt wiring, and 2, inject additional power for the higher power laser module. It looks like the board will adapt to a lot of different connection types. I followed the instructions and the first time I plugged everything in the laser came on full […]

Photon Mono X resin 3D printer review with Wash and Cure Plus Machine – Unboxing and First Prints

Hey, Karl here. Today we are going to unbox and take a look at Anycubic’s Photon Mono X resin 3D printer and Wash and Cure Plus machine. The Mono X is what I would consider a medium size resin 3D printer that boasts a 192x120x245 build volume. Mono is included in the name because they have changed to a mono screen. They say there are 2 advantages when using a mono screen. 1 the screen lasts longer compared to an RGB screen and 2 it allows more light through allowing for faster prints. I won’t go into much detail as I believe most people are aware of this 3D printing method. In summary, UV reactive resin is cured layer by layer until a model is printed. The typical layer height of .05mm vs a typical .2 layer height for FDM printing allows for high detail printing and the layers are […]

Reolink RLC-523WA & RLC-823A Review – Smart security cameras tested with Blue Iris

Hello, Karl here with a security camera review. I’ll start out by thanking Reolink for sending over two cameras to review: RLC-523WA (WiFi) & RLC-823A (PoE). I already had a couple of cameras from Reolink that my buddy had recommended a long time ago. And had a positive experience so I agreed to review these higher-end models. My setup with Blue Iris, unRAID I have been running unRAID for quite a while now to simplify my server requirements. I was running several small SBC’s and a standalone NAS drive and consolidated them onto my main rig. AMD has pushed desktop core counts with their Ryzen CPUs and I have cores to spare. I started with a 3700x giving 2 cores to applications leaving me with 6 cores for my VM’s but recently upgraded to a 3900x. I now give 3 to applications and 9 cores for my VM’s. I started […]

JGMaker Artist-D Pro Review – An IDEX 3D printer

Hey, Karl here for a new 3D printer review. Today we are going to look at the JGMaker Artist-D Pro. The Artist-D Pro is the successor to the non-pro version which debuted on Kickstarter and is an IDEX printer. IDEX is short for independent dual extruders and is a fancy way to say it has 2 complete hotend assemblies. From my perspective, the Artist-D was introduced with a lot of fanfare. I had several buddies back the original on Kickstarter and they seemed happy with it. But I didn’t see much value in it. I was thinking this was going to be just another printer that can print 2 different filaments. I have reviewed printers that had similar capabilities with one key difference being that they shared some common components. BUT…I quickly realized one aspect no one is talking about is speed during production runs. Unboxing, build, and calibration The […]

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