On test: Longer Laser B1 20W laser engraver and cutter

The cables that go to the laser head could be neatly stored in a drag chain. It would be nice if Longer had invested these 10 euros.

The strongest laser I've ever used is the Atomstack A10 Pro, which I here in the test had. With 20 watts of optical output power, the Long laser B1 – which I am writing about in this review – but twice as strong. 20 watts is a lot of energy and frankly I was a little curious but also had a lot of respect for the device.

Longer was kind enough to let me test out her new laser engraver. I got the 20 watt model, but you can also use the same device with a 30 watt laser head order.

Current offers with codes

Longer sent me two more codes with which you can get the Longer B1 20W and the Longer B1 30W cheaper:

My short conclusion first

If you don't want to read the complete test report with all the details, you can get my quick conclusion here:

  • the processing is incredibly good
  • 20 watts of power are ok, but if you want to cut a lot and deep, you should rather use a CO2 laser (because of the less fanning out of the beam and the better efficiency)
  • integrated air assist is very good
  • Speed ​​and accuracy are great
  • Unfortunately, the fan in the laser head runs constantly (loud)
  • Price-performance ratio: great
  • Ordering: here 30 watt model / here 20 watt model

For the people who like to read a more detailed opinion and other tips, here is the full review.

With the Longer Laser B1 you definitely don't make a bad buy. I can hardly find any criticisms and the ones I have are small stuff.
With the Longer Laser B1 you definitely don't make a bad buy. I can hardly find any criticisms and the ones I have are small stuff.

Technical data

  • Model: Long Laser B1 20W
  • Working area: 450 x 440 mm
  • Power supply: 240 V to 24 V / 5 A (DC)
  • Max Power Consumption: 120W
  • Working temperature: -20 °C to +50 °C
  • Laser technology: 4 laser diodes with FAC
  • Wavelength: 450-460nm
  • Optical Output Power: 20-22W
  • Focus Type: 50mm Fixed Focus
  • Dot Size: 0,08*0,15mm
  • Laser class: FDA Class IV or Class 4 IEC standard
  • Compatible Materials:
    • Engraving: plywood, basswood, hardwood,
      Pine wood, acrylic, kraft paper, stainless steel
      steel, aluminum alloy, ceramic, etc.
    • Cutting: basswood, acrylic, bamboo, kraft paper
      paper, etc
  • Compatible Software:
    • LaserGRBL (free, Windows);
    • Lightburn (Paid, Mac, Windows, Linux)
  • Connection: USB cable, MicroSD card, Wifi
  • Purchase from Longer website:
  • Included in delivery: Air Assist pump with hose, laser safety glasses, assembly tools, card reader and memory card, USB-A connection cable, assembly instructions

Wifi connection only in Lightburn 1.4.01 Beta

If you noticed from the technical data above that there is also "Wifi" among the connection types, I would like to let you know that this option in Lightburn is currently only available in the 1.4.01 beta. Unfortunately I could not try this in my test (as of 24.07.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX). But it would be great to be able to use this function in the future and to be able to do without the connection cable.

The Longer Laser B1 arrives well packaged. It's a kit, of course, but it's easy to master, even for the uninitiated (Photos: Sir Apfelot).
The Longer Laser B1 arrives well packaged. It's a kit, of course, but it's easy to master, even for the uninitiated (Photos: Sir Apfelot).

Processing and design of the Longer B1 20W

I have to say: The Longer B1 can be described well with an adjective "massive"! Compared to the connecting rods used on my other lasers, the parts on the Longer B1 are two or three times the size and thickness.

Due to the large work surface and the long distances that have to be bridged between the corners, the robust construction naturally ensures less vibration and thus more precise cutting or engraving results.

But that's not all: The assembly also works excellently and is completed within 20 to 30 minutes.

All cables are marked, so you only have to connect those with the same markings.
All cables are marked, so you only have to connect those with the same markings.

At this point a tip for all buyers: On the supplied USB card reader (with the card inserted) you will also find an assembly video that helped. But I would definitely add it as an addition this video by Casual DIY recommend, as there are tips on how to set some things or make them easier.

I also really like the design of the laser. The metal parts are dark blue-grey and the finished device has clear shapes without a lot of frills. It is an eye-catcher when you see the laser cutter standing on the table.

Here you can see how thick the rods are that make up the frame of the laser.
Here you can see how thick the rods are that make up the frame of the laser.
The assembly is done in 20 to 30 minutes and all the tools needed are included in the set.
The assembly is done in 20 to 30 minutes and all the tools needed are included in the set.

Operating the Longer Laser B1

I use the Longer Laser B1 on Mac with Lightburn. I bought the license for the software a while ago, because there are always tests of laser engravers and cutters and there is no free software solution for the Mac (that I know of!) like LaserGRBL.

Setting up the Laser B1 in Lightburn is as follows (in short):

  1. Start Lightburn
  2. Switch on the Longer Laser B1 and connect it to the Mac using the USB cable
  3. In the "Laser" window there is a "Devices" button, click this
  4. then you will find a list of already installed lasers
  5. Now click on the button "Search laser"
  6. the assistant should now find the new laser and guide you through the setup

If you have problems, make sure that "cu.usbserial-110" (that's it for me, anyway) is selected as the connection. Sometimes turning off and restarting the Mac also helps.

Here you can see the USB connection I chose in Lightburn.
Here you can see the USB connection I chose in Lightburn.

Then when you have the connection you can go ahead and engrave and cut.

Here you can also see a very practical innovation, because in order to focus the laser, you don't have to place small plates between the workpiece and the laser head as usual, but you fold out a small spacer. This is attached directly to the laser head and is quickly accessible - kudos to Longer for this practical little thing.

The laser head is focused with the attached spacer. The old plastic plates are a thing of the past.
The laser head is focused with the attached spacer. The old plastic plates are a thing of the past.

In addition to the power switch, the control panel also has a key switch, a reset button and an alarm light.

  • The key switch enables the device to be locked when you are not on site. If the key is removed, you cannot turn on the laser.
  • The reset button is useful if you trigger an alarm in between, for example because you have activated the flame sensor. In practice, this is helpful because it saves you having to enter codes in the console or even restarting the laser completely.
  • I have also seen the alarm light in action more often, for example when I bumped into the table or ignited some plywood while cutting. In addition to the alarm light, you can also hear a loud beeping until you press the reset button.
Here you can see the control panel of the Longer B1 with the concise key switch (photos: Sir Apfelot).
Here you can see the control panel of the Longer B1 with the concise key switch (photos: Sir Apfelot).

All in all, I am more than happy with the operation. If there was one detail I could change, it would be the small knurled screw that you have to loosen to change the height of the laser head. If it were bigger and at the front of the laser head, like on the Atomstack A10 Pro, then it would be even more convenient to use.

Here you can see the small screw circled in red, which is not quite as easy to use for fat fingers.
Here you can see the small screw circled in red, which is not quite as easy to use for fat fingers.

Diode laser or CO2 laser?

What immediately strikes you about the Longer Laser B1 20W is the size of the laser head, which is significantly larger than anything I've seen before. The reason for this is clear, because the B1 20W has 4 laser diodes connected in series via mirrors so that their light meets at one point. The B1 30W has 6 laser diodes.

This works well so far, but you have to see that it also has a disadvantage, because the jet fans out more and more with deeper cuts and thus loses power.

If you want to cut a lot and, above all, deep into materials, you should consider spending a lot of money and buying a CO2 laser. These devices have more power and, in my opinion, are better suited for deep cutting.

Despite everything, the Longer Laser B1 is not only sufficient for engraving, but also for most cutting work. When I need to make deep cuts, I sometimes do it by making multiple cuts across the same line, lowering the laser head in between. This allows him to focus deeper in the material and again better in depth.

Laser beam on the Longer B1 stays focused longer

According to Longer, they designed the laser head so that the laser beam stays focused over a longer distance (depth) and thus achieve better cutting results than other 20-watt diode lasers.

The cutting depth is said to have been increased by 20%. I wasn't able to test the 25 mm basswood, which is given here as the maximum of longer, due to the lack of basswood, but the better focussing helps with less deep cuts.

According to the manufacturer, the cutting depth of the Longer B1 is 20% deeper due to the longer focusing of the beam.
According to the manufacturer, the cutting depth of the Longer B1 is 20% deeper due to the longer focusing of the beam.

Special feature of the Longer B1: Air-Assist integrated

Short explanation for those who are not familiar with the term: Air-Assist describes the function in which a continuous stream of air blows onto the point where the laser cuts into the material. This is intended to blow away any smoke so that it does not crust the workpiece or disturb the laser beam with the soot particles and blur it.

My previous laser cutters already had the option of retrofitting Air-Assist, but I never had a suitable pump that would have provided air here.

The complete Air Assist unit is already included with the Longer B1. There is a connection for the hose on the laser head, which is also included and this is routed with the cables to the frame. From there you go to the air pump (something like an aquarium pump), which then provides the air flow.

The best part about the design, however, is that the power supply for the air pump is connected to the control panel of the laser. This allows the laser software (Lightburn in my case) to control Air-Assist and you don't have to think about turning it on or off yourself.

Here you can see the air pump on the left and the control connection on the control element on the right.
Here you can see the air pump on the left and the control connection on the control element on the right.

Does Air Assist do anything at all?

To answer this question, I once made various cuts with the same settings - only once with and once without Air-Assist. The following photo clearly shows that this feature not only looks good on paper, but also helps to reduce traces of smoke in practice.

In this photo, I cut out the square once with and once without Air Assist.
In this photo, I cut out the square once with and once without Air Assist.

My engraving and cutting results

I've used the Longer Laser B1 on cardboard, wood and stone on my own and I'm very happy with the results. Of course, when I get a new laser, I always lack the experience to know what power and speed I need to set for which material. But to find out, you just have to do some tests and write down the best settings.

To give you some impressions of my tests and results, I've written down a few photos and comments here.

Here in the size comparison you can see the laser head of the Longer B1 on the left and that of the Atomstack A10 Pro on the right - I think the difference is clear.
Here in the size comparison you can see the laser head of the Longer B1 on the left and that of the Atomstack A10 Pro on the right - I think the difference is clear.

Cutting cardboard

This is probably the easiest discipline for every laser cutter. Of course, the Longer Laser B1 does not need its full power here. I cut a 2000 or 50 mm thick cardboard in two passes at 2 mm/min and 3% power. I like to cut in two or more passes and with less power to produce as little smoke as possible.

This also minimizes the risk of the cardboard catching fire and the work process being aborted. The cut has become very fine and clean. With the right font - usually something with "Stencil" in the name - you can also cut out great letters.

The Stencil font is perfect for cutting out letters.
The Stencil font is perfect for cutting out letters.

Cutting 3mm plywood

The next test was cutting plywood. According to the technical specifications, the Longer B1 20W can cut up to 25 mm thick basswood. Accordingly, I did not use 100% power here to protect the laser diodes.

With 80% power, 1000 mm/min advance and 4 passes, the circles were cut out perfectly and only had a few traces of smoke.

Here you can see the cut through the plywood with 4 passes.
Here you can see the cut through the plywood with 4 passes.

Engraving on plywood

The area where the laser's 20 watts clearly shows is in surface engraving. Here you can either work with low power and medium speed or choose high speed and medium power.

In any case, the Longer B1 is significantly faster here than my AtomStack A10 Pro, which works with 10 watts. The top speed of the Longer is 36.000 mm/min – that is 60 cm per second. One can imagine that the engraving of large images is significantly accelerated by this.

Engraving a lettering in "Line" mode with Lightburn works fine.

Offset Fill

In the test I worked with the lettering "Offset Fill" with 1000 mm/min and 10% power - so rather the variant slow and little power. You can see from the typeface that this is a good choice because you don't see any brown spots on the edge of the typeface. With offset fill, the edge of the font is approached, but then drawn ever closer until the laser has covered the entire area.

Here you can see how the inner area of ​​the letters is designed with offset fill.
Here you can see how the inner area of ​​the letters is designed with offset fill.

Fill

In the "Fill" mode, the font is filled with lines. I did that at 4000 mm/min and 60% power and you can already see the marks on the edge of the writing. They probably wouldn't be there if I was working with less power and more passes.

In Fill mode, the letters are filled in lines. Here it would have been good to work with less power and more passes to reduce the discolouration at the edges.
In Fill mode, the letters are filled in lines. Here it would have been good to work with less power and more passes to reduce the discolouration at the edges.

engrave stone

If you want to engrave motifs or lettering in stone, there are unfortunately no recommended settings that always bring good results. Depending on the type of stone, the rock reacts differently to heat. And the color of the stone, in turn, ensures that the energy of the laser is absorbed to varying degrees.

With white stone you have to turn the power very high to see results, while with dark stone types even lower power values ​​show a reaction.

Here you can see an engraving on light-colored stone, which is actually quite well done, but is only faintly visible.
Here you can see an engraving on light-colored stone, which is actually quite well done, but is only faintly visible.
Here you can see a very small stone with a skull. The fact that the engraving does not look good is mainly due to the size and the offset fill, which has engraved too much in one place.
Here you can see a very small stone with a skull. The fact that the engraving does not look good is mainly due to the size and the offset fill, which has engraved too much in one place.

So you should always do a little testing when working with stones to get good results. A reference point for the first settings, which I also used for the Apple logo with "Offset Fill", is 1000 mm/min at 80% power.

This Apple logo is almost 1 cm high and has been engraved on sandstone. Also with offset fill, which looks pretty good here.
This Apple logo is almost 1 cm high and has been engraved on sandstone. Also with offset fill, which looks pretty good here.

Points of criticism for the Longer Laser B1

I have to say that the Longer B1 actually does a lot right. But of course you can complain a bit everywhere. However, this is "moaning at a high level". I do it anyway, because many manufacturers read the criticism in test reports and use it to improve future models.

Point of criticism 1: The fan

Yes, all laser heads need cooling and all other laser cutters that I have used have the same problem: the fan is annoying. It starts up as soon as you turn the laser on and stops when you turn it off again.

It would be much better if the fan were controlled by the power or the temperature of the laser, for example. If I engrave areas with 10% power, the fan certainly doesn't have to run at 100%.

Point of criticism 2: The knurled screw on the laser head

As already written above, the laser head has to be realigned for each new material and to do this, loosen and tighten a screw that fixes the laser head to the device.

Unfortunately, this is impractical on the Longer B1 and also a bit small, so that people with thick fingers always have to turn a bit more uncomfortable than necessary. Here you can learn something from the Atomstack A10 Pro, because the screw is large, easy to grip and attached to the front of the laser head, where you can reach it quickly and easily.

The button for adjusting the laser head is clearly more comfortable to use on the Atomstack.
The button for adjusting the laser head is clearly more comfortable to use on the Atomstack.

Point of criticism 3: The cable routing to the laser head

The fact that you can find the Longer B10 here is basically exactly what other manufacturers do. You fix the cables with cable ties or Velcro strips and hope that they don't fall into the travel range of the laser head when moving back and forth.

I would have wished that the manufacturer had installed a cheap drag chain on top of the carrier. That would have been the elegant solution that would do justice to the high quality of the Longer B1. If you like, you can still do that this drag chain (10 x 20 mm) retrofit.

Point of criticism 4: sockets on the top

What is also somewhat impractical are the connections on the top of the control element. The cables protruding upwards aren't a technical problem, but it doesn't look that fancy. If you could plug in all the cables on the side, the look would be much more pleasant.

If you could plug in the cables from the side, it would look much tidier.
If you could plug in the cables from the side, it would look much tidier.

My conclusion on the Longer Laser B1 20W

Basically, the Longer Laser B10 is a great device. It is very high-quality, easy to set up, works reliably and has many safety functions, such as the flame sensor and of course an emergency stop switch.

With the emergency switch, you can switch off the laser at any time with a courageous hit - for example, if the engraving result is completely wrong and you still want to save the workpiece halfway.
With the emergency switch, you can switch off the laser at any time with a courageous hit - for example, if the engraving result is completely wrong and you still want to save the workpiece halfway.

The cutting and engraving quality is the best I've gotten my hands on and it's nice that you can even cut lettering into stones. Of course, with a 5 watt laser it is also halfway possible if you drive slowly enough, but with 20 watts of power it works faster.

If you want to take a look at the Longer Laser B1 in the 20 or 30 watt version, you can find both models on the manufacturer's website:

You can also find the US version on the websites linked above. All you have to do is switch from EU to US on the product page.

The tip of the ballpoint pen gives an approximate indication of the size of the engraving.
The tip of the ballpoint pen gives an approximate indication of the size of the engraving.

My settings

material/purpose Speed Performance runs
Cut 2 mm cardboard 2000 mm / min 50% 2
Cut 3mm plywood 1000 mm / min 80% 4
Cut 3 mm plywood as smoke-free as possible 3000 mm / min 60% 20
Cut 3 mm plywood with one cut (caution, smoky!) 200 mm / min 90% 1
line on wood 1000 mm / min 20% 1
Font with "Offset Fill" 1000 mm / min 10% 1
Font with "Fill" 4000 mm / min 60% 1
Engrave Stone with Offset Fill 1000 mm / min 80% 1

The settings are not suitable for everyone and every material I think. I made the list to get a start. You always have to experiment to get the best results, but this gives you a starting point.

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