Two Trees develops its open frame design into a high-quality laser engraver

TechRadar Verdict

The Two Trees TS2 is a home assembly laser engraver with a difference. Firstly the price, which is a level above most other home assembly kits, and secondly, the quality and power. Whether engraving or cutting through 8mm ply, the accuracy and quality are superb. The only issue is that there is no protective outer casing, just simple shields around the laser and across one edge of the frame.

Pros

  • +

    Cheap for the power

  • +

    High-quality components

  • +

    Can cut 8mm plywood

Cons

  • Assembly can be fiddly

  • No protective outer shield

Specs

  • Laser power: 10000mw
  • Electrical rating: 24V 4A DC
  • Motherboard: 32bit
  • Engraving speed: 10000mm/min
  • Engraving method: USB/App/Online/Screen operation
  • Software support: Mac, Windows, Linux
  • Laser wavelength 445±5nm
  • Engraving size 450x450mm
  • Weight: 6.5kg
  • Engraving materials: Wood, Plastic, Paper, Leather, Bamboo, Stainless Steel, Chevron, Acrylic, Glass
  • Machine size: 733x721x172mm
  • Engraving mode: Image carving/Text carving/Scanning Carving/Contour carving
  • File format: SVG, NC, BMP, JPG, PNG, GCODE
  • Supported software: LaserGRBL, Lightburn

Intro

The Two Trees TS2 is one of the market’s most powerful self-assembly laser engravers. It follows the usual open design and interfaces with LightBurn, LaserGRBL or an app to enable easy laser engraving. 

While the design might look familiar, once the components are laid out and the build started, you can instantly see that Two Trees has upped the game regarding quality and design. 

computing

(Image credit: TwoTrees)

This is a machine designed for those wanting a decent quality laser engraver and cutter or an upgrade from a cheap low-powered model. Despite the open design, the many professional features would make this a viable option for small businesses too.

Design

The open extruded aluminium frame design of the TS2 and other self-build engravers is common for DIY enthusiast machines, as they’re easy to build and maintain. The only issue is that, without an enclosure, protective glasses must be worn and good ventilation is essential, which also restricts where they can be used. 

The TS2 is, however, incredibly powerful and it’s noticeable that Two Trees has invested in quality parts and a solid design for this machine. 

computing

(Image credit: TwoTrees)

The assembly takes around an hour, but you could probably put it together far more quickly with a bit of focus. The instructions show you how the machine assembles, but some areas are a little difficult to follow. 

The major point is getting the belts over the pulleys; this requires loosening and tightening the belts. While this worked for one axis, the other required the removal of the pully, placing it in the belt and then refitting the pully. Likewise, the cable guides need to be carefully positioned. Put them in the wrong place and you’ll need to backtrack on the build to correct.

computing

(Image credit: Two Trees)

The design is incredibly neat once it’s all come together and there isn’t any leeway for incorrectly fitted parts – everything fits tightly with no play in the joints. This is good, but does make the initial assembly quite fiddly, although not to the point of being impossible. 

Once the build is complete, it’s time to test using laserGRBL for PC or LightBurn for all other systems. 

Features

The Two Trees TS2 may be a self-build laser engraver, but it still packs incredible features.

Firstly, it has a working area of 450 x 450mm, and the open design of the frame enables you to slide large materials through in stages up to the maximum width of 450mm.

computing

(Image credit: TwoTrees)

One stand-out feature is the 10W laser output that, alongside the compressed spot technology, enables the TS2 to cut through 8mm ply in one pass. The power of the laser is such that it will also engrave hard surfaces such as stainless steel. 

As you use the TS2, the engraving and cutting quality stands out due to the ultra-fine 0.01mm engraving precision. This precision enables the high-quality transfer of images to materials. 

Due to the precision of the laser, Two Trees has incorporated a powerful autofocus design for the machine. Manual adjustment for material heights is made through the large red knob on top of the laser, and the machine handles the fine-tuning. This alone saves an incredible amount of time and boosts the overall quality of prints.

computing

(Image credit: Two Trees)

One feature that often annoys us about laser engravers is the need to always be plugged into a computer. It’s great to see that the machine with the built-in ESP32-DOWD-V3 chip and the 32-bit microprocessor can handle the file processing internally, so there’s no need always to be connected. 

You also have the option to connect through Wi-Fi and use the app. 

computing

(Image credit: TwoTrees)

A few professional safety features take this laser engraver to the next level. There’s the large emergency stop button and a flame detector that activates if a material goes up in flames rather than engraves or cuts. Another safety feature is the internal gyroscope that automatically activates a kill switch if the machine is tilted at 15º or more. 

Performance

Once the build is complete, the machine can be connected to a computer using USB or Wi-Fi, or files can be loaded onto a microSD card, although there’s no interface on the machine itself. 

computing

(Image credit: TwoTrees)

Through this test, we used the direct printing approach with LaserGRBL installed on an Intel NUC 9 Ghost Canyon machine running Windows 10. 

Once the images, vectors or cutting files were loaded into the software and adjusted, they could be sent to the machine. The initial connection was straightforward, and the usual manual adjustment of the material, home position and laser height was made. 

Once everything is adjusted, the power can be set and off the engraver goes. It’s instantly apparent just how powerful and accurate this laser engraver is. The initial engraves showed a high level of detail, and the speed of the engrave was fast and precise. 

As we’ve found out with other self-build machines, making sure that everything is good and tight, the machine has good rigidity, and the belts are well-tensioned before you start is incredibly important. 

computing

(Image credit: Two Trees)

The quality of the engraving was as good on close inspection as that of the Glowforge (opens in new tab). The only issue being that, as an open design, the smell means you need to be in a well-ventilated room, and protective glasses need to be worn.

The machine is readied for cutting by switching the software to Vectorise and slowing down the laser pass speed. The manual has a good list of material and settings.

This is the first laser engraver we’ve seen successfully cut through thicker materials. In this test, we went through 6mm ply without issue, producing nice clean edge lines.

Overall, for engraving and cutting, the performance of the Two Trees TS2 is excellent; our only concern is that there is no enclosure for a machine of this power. 

Verdict

The construction of some parts of this laser engraver tested me through the initial build, trying to get belts to fit over pulleys and dropping the small screws into the aluminium extrusions. It wasn’t hard, just fiddly, and the key was to move from the small space of the kitchen table to the expanse of the workshop. 

computing

(Image credit: TwoTrees)

Once built, the construction was solid, far more so than we’ve experienced with other laser engravers of this size. It is also far more aesthetically pleasing with all those anodized parts.

Setting up was all relatively easy, although connecting to Wi-Fi through the iOS app or the machine was a little more tricky. We also found that, although there was plenty of information in the printed manual, we couldn’t always follow some of the finer print. 

The Two Trees TS2 worked incredibly well, the construction is excellent, and the attention to detail pays off in the quality and accuracy of the engraving and cutting. 

computing

(Image credit: TwoTrees)

The most significant problem is that there is no enclosure or extractor, but other than that, there is very little to fault with this machine. 

The TS2 is right at the top of the field, and while it is more expensive than other laser engravers, it isn’t so much of a leap to make it unaffordable. It’s also a nice touch that the TS2 is expandable, with a connection point on the tool head for an air pump to help extract some of the fumes and additional attachments that will enable you to cut circular objects such as bottles.

The Two Trees TS2 is one of the best laser engravers we have looked at, especially considering the price. If you’re looking for professional-level laser engraving at a reasonable price, then the TS2 is the machine.

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