Category Archives: 3D Printing

JTech 2.8W Laser Upgrade Kit Part 1

After returning the L’Cheapo Laser kit I acquired the JTech 2.8W Laser Upgrade Kit as a replacement. It shipped from Jtech’s website the same day I ordered it. Free Priority Mail shipping was supplied for orders over $150 at the time.



The frame for the laser driver assembly is a 2 piece printed part with the electronics sandwiched between them. It’s held together with nuts and bolts. It includes a fan that runs when the power is turned on.


The printed piece is good quality with no warping or physical issues.

The laser driver features a small key to enabled or disable the functionality of the laser. When the laser is enabled (key turned right) it cannot be removed. It was a bit finicky the first few times I tried to turn it. As the instructions stated you have to push the key in a bit to get it to turn. I didn’t notice any fragility of the chassis when I applied excess force to the key. After 10 seconds I had the motion down and had no issues turning it on and off without snagging.


The laser itself comes inside of a heat sink with a set screw holding it in place. It comes with a 24″ lead for attaching to the laser driver.


The heat sink is how the laser is attached to the effector via the two holes on either side.




The laser driver comes with an Triad Magnetics external power adapter that supplies 12 volts at 2 amps.


According to the Jtech site there are different price points depending on the power adapter desired (international vs US). I would have preferred an optional power supply for the kit to save a few extra dollars though. After contacting Jay from Jtech, he informed me that the laser is more susceptible to transient voltage spikes than other electronics. When combined with a lower end PSU (which most printer kits come with) the laser can be destroyed because of this spike. He stated the 2.8W version is less susceptible to this than the 2W. Since I am using a higher end Mean Well SP-500-24, I believe I should be alright tying directly to the PSU and skipping the adapter.


The 12v power input does not have an extra way to make connections unlike the laser output and laser control input. I wanted to power the laser with the printer PSU but the lack of an extra wire connection made splicing the power adapter into the line a necessity.


The two connections to the right of the power are for an optional fan attached to the laser and an optional remote reset switch. Both of these require a custom connector, which unfortunately aren’t included in the kit. Jay from Jtech stated the accessories are for sale separately on their site. I failed to notice this when I was purchasing my kit. The reset and fan wires are simple JST connectors, which can be picked up anywhere online or local hobby stores.

The included glasses appear similar to the L’Cheapo Laser kit, the dimensions are the same and sport the same adjustable ear pieces. The Jtech glasses have more clarity when looking through them and are made out of more durable plastic however. They come with a nice case to keep fingerprints and dirt off of the lenses also.


Excellent documentation about the kit is available on Jtech’s website. PDFs of the technical specifications and instructions for configuring and operating the laser are well written and have appropriate diagrams and pictures. Their site also includes STLs of the laser driver chassis, the laser, and the laser heat sink for creating mounts to attach the laser to various printers. Numerous mounts are already listed on their site for various brands.

This is the second laser I’ve had my hands on as a means for a few cutting projects I am working on. The L’Cheapo is advertised and named as a budget friendly laser add on coming in around the ~$200 price point. Even though I opted for the 2.8W Jtech edition, the lower 2W kit (which has all the same hardware as the 2.8, only a less powerful laser) is currently priced at $240. I found the amount of value Jtech put into their kit for $40 extra got me a much more professional and documented product.

I am waiting for my replacement smoothieboard to arrive, part 2 will follow then.

L’Cheapo Laser Woes

Received my L’Cheapo laser a few days ago and have had a chance to use it a few times. Shipping was lightning fast from 3D Supply Source, it came to me Priority Mail and was shipped the same day.

I was disappointed it had through hole components sticking out across the front of the board. The laser itself is press fitted into a heatsink not designed for this purpose. You can see where a hastily drilled hole still has metal shavings coming out of it. A file could easily make this part look better.

The printed mount it came on is absolutely terrible. It looks like it was printed way too fast. One of the corners lifted off the bed during printing also, making the mount not lay flat on the effector.

The whole thing is held together with zip ties…

The laser focus ring wobbles inside of the laser casing. The silver ring can come off of the threads causing it to not rotate the actual focusing element. The fan cannot be controlled separately from the laser. When power is applied to the laser the fan comes on. It gets annoying to listen to the fan turning on and off during a print as the laser moves around the bed.


None of the mounting holes are usable due to poor printing quality. The portion of the printed part that the laser heat sink slides into was affected by the lifted print. The piece was cut with a knife to get the laser heat sink pushed into place.

The laser comes with goggles made with cheap plastic. The lenses are not very clear to see through. The ear pieces are adjustable and they stick to my head fine. I haven’t gone blind yet. Considering the extra pair I received cost $5, this is to be expected at this price point.

After some tweaking of the focus ring and bed height I was able to get some decent results:

I believe this kit is terribly overpriced at ~$200 especially given the price and how much the project raised on indiegogo. The quality and craftsmanship of the pieces speak for themselves. The kit looks hastily assembled and shipped. I’d be more comfortable with a $50-$75 price point, especially when there is another kit on the market vastly superior, the JTech 2 or 2.8W Laser Kit. Overall I would not purchase this again and would dissuade other potential customers. Save a little more cash and get a different kit.

I have been emailing back and forth with both the vendor and creator of the L’Cheapo. They are both very responsive and helpful. I am providing this feedback to assist in improving the product!