Laser engravers and cutters are increasingly popular among hobbyists as they can be used for a wide range of applications. No matter if you want to make custom parts for your projects, create unique gifts, or manufacture products for your small business, a laser engraver is a valuable tool for any maker.
Genmitsu is one of several CNC and laser engraver manufacturers and their recently released Jinsoku LC-40 model promises to be an affordable, easy-to-use solution for anyone looking to get started in laser engraving.
In this Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40 review, we’ll take a closer look at this engraver. We’ll discuss its key features, see how it performs, how it compares with the competition, and determine whether it is the right laser engraver for your needs.
Jinsoku LC-40 Specifications
|Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40|
|Price||SainSmart | Amazon|
|Engraving Area||Work Area: 395×365 mm
Motion Area: 400×400 mm
|Engraving Accuracy||0.1-0.2 mm (Standard)
0.05-0.08 mm (Upgradeable)
|Engravable Materials||Cardboard, plywood, non-transparent plastic, cloth, leather, stone, glass, stainless steel and metal with oxidized spray paint|
|Laser Head||5 mm Fixed Focus|
|Focal Distance||5 mm|
|Laser Optical Power||4.5W (Standard)
|Laser Wavelength||455 nm|
|Laser Service Time||Over 10000 hours|
|Max. Z-axis Material Height||0.1-76 mm|
|Laser Electric Power||10~20W (Standard)
|Machine Power||Less than 60W|
|Product Size||554x544x207 mm|
|Package Size||326x570x115 mm|
The Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40 laser engraver comes in a compact, well-padded box. Because the machine comes disassembled, all components are packed so that the box takes up minimal space.
The minor downside of this is that you do have to assemble the machine before you can start using it. Fortunately, the Jinsoku LC-40 is designed for easy assembly. And unlike other laser engravers in this price class, it comes with clear and easy-to-follow instructions.
In the box, you’ll find:
- Frame components
- Laser head module
- Power supply
- USB flash drive
- Various screws, washers, and clips
- Assembly tools
- Kraft paper
In theory, this is everything you need to get started. Especially the kraft paper is a nice touch, as you can use it immediately to test your new laser engraver.
However, in practice, there might be a limitation you run into, as the LC-40 does not come with laser goggles by default. If you don’t already own a pair, purchasing laser goggles before use is a good idea.
While the device does have a protective cover on the laser head module, it is not sufficient to block all potentially harmful laser light. Therefore, it is best to use protective goggles when working with lasers, as they help to prevent long-term eye damage.
Genmitsu currently doesn’t offer laser goggles as an optional accessory, but you can find plenty on Amazon. Just make sure that they come from a reputable brand and that they protect you from 455 nm wavelengths.
Aside from that, everything you need to get started is included in the box.
Let’s see how easy the Jinsoku LC-40 is to set up.
Getting Started With the Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40
Assembly of the Jinsoku LC-40 is straightforward. There are only a few components to assemble and the instructions are well-documented. All diagrams in the manual are easy to understand, plus the assembly steps are translated into near-perfect English. A big compliment to Genmitsu on that front.
The first thing you have to do is put together the machine body. This consists of the four aluminum components that make up the machine frame, and the moving gantry that the laser head mounts onto.
This process is easy, as it is just a matter of connecting the internal wiring and screwing in several bolts. The main thing that can go wrong is accidentally reversing some of the frame components, but as long as you pay attention to the diagrams in the manual this shouldn’t be an issue.
Once you have assembled the frame, you can move on to attaching the laser head module. This is a simple process as well. You line up the module with the appropriate mounting points and bolt it in place.
Then connect all coiled cables that run from the module to the control box. They are clearly labeled, so there is no risk of incorrectly connecting them.
The only thing we recommend Genmitsu improves is the squaring process of the components. The recommended method in the manual involves using two ‘limit screws’ (see the red insert on the image below) for aligning. In our experience, this is not a very accurate way of doing things.
It would be easier and more accurate to use a precision square or a digital protractor to make sure the components are mounted at right, 90-degree angles. This is important because if the components are not mounted perfectly square it will lead to inaccuracies in your engravings and cuttings.
The suggested squaring method is not a deal-breaker, but just keep in mind that you should verify the results with a precision tool if you want to get the best possible results.
Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40 Features
Like most budget hobbyist laser engravers, the Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40 uses a semiconductor diode laser. This type of laser is smaller, cheaper, and cooler-running than the CO2 lasers used in higher-end applications.
The laser has a fixed focus, so it has a smaller spot size than a variable focus laser. This lets you engrave smaller details and achieve a higher resolution look on your finished product.
If you want to focus on engraving thin wood, colored plexiglass, leather, or cork, the 5.5W fixed focus semiconductor laser of the Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40 is a good choice. However, if you want to cut thicker woods or do anything at fast speeds, you’ll be better off with a more powerful CO2 laser engraver, like the OMTech 40W or FSL Muse Core 40W.
Given their higher price, increased maintenance, and larger footprint, these CO2 engravers are usually only a worthwhile investment if you’re planning to do serious work with them and need to cut and engrave harder materials regularly.
For hobbyist applications, however, the Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40’s laser can be more than sufficient. Its work area of 395×365 mm is also right up there with the other best laser engravers for hobbyists, so you’ll be able to work on larger projects without issue.
One of the standout features of the Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40 is its frame. Unlike the frame of other laser engravers, it does not have any exposed components, such as stepper motors, timing belts, or pulleys. This makes it safer to use.
While the machine is still a laser engraver that you have to be careful with, there is less risk of fingers, cables, or other things getting caught in the moving parts.
The downside of this safety is that the machine and its moving components are heavier than other comparable laser engravers on the market. Because of this increased moving mass, you won’t be able to engrave as quickly. With a modest 5.5W laser head, that is not much of a limiting factor, however.
The cable management of the Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40 contributes to its increased safety as well. Through the use of cable clips and coiled cables, all wiring is kept out of the way of the work area and laser head.
There is already zero risk of the cables getting stuck in the laser engraver’s covered moving components. But due to the cable management itself, there is also no chance of wires catching on your workpiece or accessories (honeycomb bed, rotary roller, etc.).
This attention to safety is something that we don’t encounter often on laser engravers at this price point. For example, on the Creality CR-Laser Falcon that we recently reviewed, the wiring was not as well-organized.
Even though the motion area of the Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40 is 400×400 mm, the actual engraving/cutting area is 395×365 mm. This is because the laser head itself also takes up space, and the laser is not able to reach the very edges of the machine.
This is not that big of a deal for most users, but it’s something to be aware of if you are interested in laser engraving or cutting large items (near ~400 mm) in one go.
In that case, the Ortur Laser Master 3 (400×400 mm), Creality CR-Laser Falcon (400×415 mm), and xTool D1 (432×406 mm) might be worth looking at. They have similar overall dimensions but offer just a bit more in terms of the work area.
Alternatively, if you have more space on your workbench, the Jinsoku LC-60A 5.5W is a great choice. Despite its similar name, it has quite a few differences compared to the LC-40 5.5W. The most notable differences are its larger 600×600 mm work area and an integrated air assist system.
A unique aspect of the Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40 is that it uses linear rails for the X- and Y-axis motion. Compared to the more traditional V-wheels and aluminum extrusion combo, linear rails give more accurate results. They tend to have better durability as well.
That said, the linear rails on the LC-40 don’t seem to be of exceptional quality. For example, they are significantly louder than we are used to from good linear rails, indicating that the LC-40’s rails have looser tolerances.
In our testing, the linear rails’ performance was okay and we have not had any issues with them. They did not perform noticeably better than more traditional V-wheels. That said, we do expect them to hold up better against wear and tear, and require less maintenance and adjustments over time.
Ease of Use
A lot of the experience that you get with a laser engraver depends on the software and interface that you have to work with. Let’s see how the Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40 performs in this area.
The user interface on the Jinsoku LC-40 is as basic as they come. The back of the laser engraver (where all electronics are embedded) contains a power button, ‘repeat last project’ button, two USB ports (USB-B for PC connectivity and USB-A for rotary accessory), and a power input port.
The machine has no touch screen or other interface, so all control has to be done either via PC/Mac or through an app on your phone (over Bluetooth). This does limit the machine if you want to use it as a standalone device.
Also nowhere to be found is an emergency stop for the machine. So if something goes wrong, the only way to turn it off is to reach over the machine to press the power button or to reach over and unplug the power cable.
The emergency stop is something that you can find on the more expensive Jinsoku LC-60A and Ortur Laser Master 3. However, even the more affordable CR-Laser Falcon has a power switch at the front that you can use to quickly turn off the machine. No such feature on the LC-40, unfortunately.
On the plus side, because all the I/O ports are located at the back of the Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40, you won’t have any USB cables in the way when you’re using the machine.
Firmware and Software
One of the strong points of the Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40 is its firmware and software support. Not only can you use the laser engraver with Genmitsu’s software, but it also supports the most popular open-source firmware and control software.
The default firmware lets you use Genmitsu’s desktop and mobile iOS/Android apps. These are great if you want a simple way to get started with the machine, but they are more limited in terms of settings configurability.
If you want more control, you can switch to the open-source GRBL firmware. This gives you the option to control the machine through both LaserGRBL and Lightburn, which are two of the most popular laser engraving and cutting software packages.
The downside of the latter option is that you lose the ability to control the device with your phone over Bluetooth. But if you want to use your phone again, you can switch back to the default firmware.
The process of switching the firmware is easy, so in practice, you can switch back and forth based on your use case.
In our testing, we only used the GRBL firmware with Lightburn. Mainly because we think Lightburn is the best software package out there for laser engravers and cutters. It does have a $60 cost associated with it, whereas LaserGRBL and Genmitsu’s software come free.
Depending on what you want to do with the machine, focusing the laser of the Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40 is either easier or more difficult than it is with other laser engravers and cutters.
If you want to engrave, focusing the laser is easy. The focus distance is 5 mm from the laser head. To set this, you can place the included 5 mm spacer on the material surface and manually lower the laser head on top of the spacer.
Because the laser head is only tightened in place with a single thumbscrew, this can be done fairly quickly.
Adjusting the focus for laser cutting, however, is more difficult.
When laser cutting, you want the focusing point of the laser to be in the vertical center of the material. For example, if you want to laser cut 3 mm thick plywood, you want to set the focus 1.5 mm into the material
To do this on the Jinsoku LC-40, you would need to position the laser head 3.5 mm (5 – 1.5) from the surface. With only a 5 mm spacer, that is very difficult to do.
The Two Trees TS3 we reviewed had a nice solution for this with spacer disks in various thicknesses. These can be combined to create almost every focus distance you might need. Genmitsu has not included any such solution on the LC-40.
You might think that you could use the included ruler on the laser head, but for some reason it only comes with imperial units imprinted on it. We would have preferred metric units, as this makes things a lot easier.
One solution to set the proper focus for cutting would be to laser cut or 3D print a couple of spacers in various thicknesses that let you set the right offset. Alternatively, you could use any other object that you know has the right thickness for the material thickness you are working with.
Given its low price point, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40 does not come with many accessories included. But at the moment, there aren’t many aftermarket accessories available either.
For example, laser goggles, which are listed in the manual as an optional accessory, are not yet available on Sainsmart/Genmitsu’s site. The same goes for a rotary roller that is compatible with the Jinsoku LC-40.
This is likely because the LC-40 has only recently been launched. In a couple of months, there should be some more accessories available.
Here is a short list of the add-ons that we would love to see released for the LC-40:
A fourth-axis rotary roller is one of the most common upgrades for laser engravers and cutters. It allows you to engrave cylindrical objects, like wine glasses or mugs.
The Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40 has both an available USB port for a rotary roller and support for it in its firmware, so it is safe to say that this accessory will be released shortly.
There is no denying that laser engraving and cutting release all kinds of unpleasant fumes. If you don’t want to stink up your home or office, you likely want to have some kind of enclosure around the machine when operating it.
While some laser engravers and cutters, like the Two Trees TS3, are enclosed by default, the Jinsoku LC-40 is not. It also does not have a fume filtration system, as the 5W Creality CR-Laser Falcon does.
Other machines, like the Ortur Laser Master 2, come with an optional aftermarket enclosure. This lets you run it in an enclosed space if you want to and provides the necessary ventilation along with increased safety.
Needless to say, it would be great to see a manufacturer-supported enclosure for the LC-40. If this does not become available, you might be able to use the Comgrow laser engraver enclosure instead.
Missing from the Jinsoku LC-40 laser head is an air assist. This is a feature that is typically included in more expensive laser engravers, so it is not surprising that it is missing from the LC-40.
An air assist uses a pump to blow a stream of compressed air onto the material you are engraving or cutting. This helps clear away any smoke and debris from the laser engraving and cutting process, which in turn reduces burn marks on your workpiece.
The stream of compressed air also helps to cool the material, so you can use an air assist to engrave or cut for longer periods without damaging the material.
The lack of an air assist feature is noticeable on the LC-40, especially because its short focus distance of 5 mm causes a lot of smoke to get captured between the laser head and the workpiece. This is most present when laser cutting, as that creates significantly more smoke and debris than engraving.
If you do want this feature, you can take a look at the ORTUR Laser Engraver 2 Pro-S2-LF or Jinsoku LC-60A. But any other laser engraver with a larger focus distance will perform better in this area as well.
There are also ways to install an air assist yourself, such as buying an aftermarket upgrade or going the DIY option of using a pump and hoses. The LC-40 does not have an aftermarket accessory for this yet, so for now, the DIY option is the only way to go.
The Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40 is listed as having a passive air assist, but that’s just the laser module cooling fan blowing over the engraving area. A true air assist accessory is a lot more powerful and effective.
Honeycomb Working Table
A honeycomb working bed accessory would be useful for cutting thinner materials, like paper or cardstock. It also helps with air circulation, making it easier to dissipate fumes.
Luckily, there are plenty of aftermarket honeycomb beds available. They can be used with any machine, so you won’t need one that is specifically designed for the Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40. Any 400×400 mm or 17×17″ honeycomb bed will work.
Jinsoku LC-40 Engraving and Cutting Results
- Downloadable Files
- Material: 3 mm Birch Plywood
- Cut: 200 mm/min @ 100% – 2 passes
- Engrave: 2000 min/min @ 100%
This queen of hearts playing card came out quite well. Most details are clearly visible and the cuts are clean. There is charring around the some of the edges and this is due to the lack of an air assist.
Small Bottle Gift Box
There are similar burn marks on this gift box, but other than that, no issues whatsoever. The parts fit together without the need for any sanding. Because all parts are symmetrical, it was easy to just flip them around and present the cleaner side on the outside.
- Material: 3 mm Birch Plywood
- Cut: 200 mm/min @ 100% – 2 passes
This lattice cut is a great test for any machine. Its small and intricate details can be easily ruined. The Jinsoku LC-40 did a great job with it. Aside from the aforementioned issues with burn marks, there are no issues to report.
Because this mini chest was cut from thinner 2 mm birch, there are less burn marks present. The fit was a bit loose on some parts, but that was because we used a design for 3 mm thickness material. Still, an amazing result overall.
Conclusion: Should you buy the Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40?
At its current $399 price point, the Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40 is one of the more affordable 400×400 mm laser engravers on the market. It is a great machine for those who are just getting started with laser engraving. For laser cutting, however, it is not a great option. The 5.5W laser is not powerful enough to cut through many materials.
The machine itself is well-built and easy to use. Its wide firmware and software compatibility is a big advantage as well, making it suitable for both beginner and more advanced users.
Its engraving quality is excellent. The 5.5W fixed focus laser has a small spot size, allowing it to produce detailed engravings. The laser cutting quality leaves to be desired, mainly due to the poor airflow under the laser head.
In terms of upgradeability and customizability, the Jinsoku LC-40 does not have much to offer at this moment. This is because it has been recently released and there aren’t many accessories available yet. For an up-to-date accessory list, you can always check SainSmart’s site to find accessories compatible with the LC-40.
Overall, we think the Genmitsu Jinsoku LC-40 is a good machine for those who are looking for an affordable and easy-to-use beginner laser engraver. If want to laser cut a lot or want more engraving power, you might want to consider an alternative machine, like the Ortur Laser Master 2 or the xTool D1.