xTool P2 Co2 Laser Beginners Guide

Welcome to our xTool P2 Co2 laser beginners guide! If you’ve ever dreamt of diving into a small business venture or taking your crafting skills to the next level, you’re in the right place!

We’ve put together this guide to help answer all those burning questions you might have about this awesome Co2 laser machine. Whether you’re itching to start engraving acrylic or glass, like us, or you’re just curious about what this laser can do, we’ll help you get ‘laser-focused’. Plus, we’ll share some troubleshooting tips and set up an inline fan – all based on our own experience setting up our P2.

A special thank you to xTool who sent us this P2 laser machine to review. The opinions we share are honest and based on our own experiences. Our posts may contain affiliate links, but we only recommend things we’ve actually used and love. While we do earn from qualifying purchases, at no extra cost to you, we proudly donate all earnings from this blog to Alzheimer’s research annually. See our full disclosure

This is a long article, so if you prefer not to read, watch this video. But there are some great troubleshooting links below you won’t want to miss if you’re unboxing and setting up your own xTool P2 laser!

Intro to xTool P2 Co2 Laser Beginners Guide

Setting up your P2 might seem daunting at first. But we’ve been there, done that, and we’re here to guide you through it. From calibrating the laser path to troubleshooting common issues, we’ve got all the insider tips to help you get up and running smoothly.

But first things first; let’s talk about what makes the xTool P2 so special, how to stay safe while using it indoors, and of course, how to set it up like a pro!

It seems like we ran into just about every obstacle you may encounter with the P2! So if you end up purchasing one, this post is a must read to help you navigate the challenges we experienced!

By the way, we highly recommend you join the official xTool Facebook group if you are thinking about purchasing a P2 (or already have). The community and admin support on the page is amazing!

Screenshot of xTool P2/P1 official group on Facebook

What is the xTool P2?

So, what exactly is the xTool P2? Well, it’s a desktop CO2 laser that packs a punch with 55 watts of power. With a generous work area of 26” x 14”, it can handle materials up to 2” thick. And if you need to work with taller or longer materials, there are add-ons available to extend its capabilities even further. With the riser base and conveyor feed, you can work on materials up to 8.46” high. The conveyor allows you to process materials up to 118” long. That’s almost 10 feet (9.8 ft to be exact)!

One of the coolest features of the xTool P2 is its ability to work on curved surfaces, opening up a whole new world of possibilities for your projects. It works with both concave and convex surfaces, such as a bowl, spoon or even a musical instrument! The only limitation is that it can’t do steep 45 degree curves because the laser head is stationary. But you will be amazed at what it can do.

And with dual cameras for precise positioning, you can tackle even the most intricate designs with ease. We really put this feature to the test in our very first wood project (which you’ll see next week)!

Conveniently, the xTool P2 comes with a built in air assist to keep the laser head cool when it’s working.

You’ll find the recommended computer requirements here necessary to use the XCS features. I was worried that our outdated computer wouldn’t run the software but as of the date of this writing, it still does work on our Mac (10.15 is recommended).

The shell of the laser is made of plastic so it’s not completely impervious to damage in shipping (despite the amazing care they take to protect it). We’ll go into our experience with UPS shipping a little later so you know what to do if it arrives damaged like ours did.

Out of the box, the xTool P2 comes with slats, but the honeycomb panel is a nice to have extra accessory.

On of the best things about a Co2 laser is that it can cut through any colour of acrylic; something we are looking forward to trying.

A Few Things to Note

Now, let’s address a few things you might want to keep in mind. While we absolutely love our P2, there are a couple of minor quirks worth mentioning. For starters, the power and USB cables could be a tad longer, so make sure you have easy access to a power supply. And removing the back panel (where you fill the antifreeze) can be a bit tricky, so handle it with care.

But don’t worry, if you ever run into any hiccups along the way, xTool’s Support Center is just a click away. They’ve got loads of helpful resources to keep you on track. On xTool’s Support Centre, which you can find here specifically for the P2, there are 3 categories of information for the P2: Getting Started, Troubleshooting and Maintenance – so bookmark this link. You’ll refer back to it again and again. However, the search feature there doesn’t always find the results you’re looking for. So you can always come back to our beginners guide. We’ll link the information we found most useful.

Certain materials can create a bit of a smell, right? But xTool has two solutions for using a laser engraver indoors. They offer both an air purifier and a 6″  inline fan. Now, here’s the thing – filter replacements can sometimes break the bank, so we’re all about the inline fan, which pulls more air out than the air assist. We’ll dive deeper into how we run the exhaust from the xTool P2 laser out our basement window further ahead in our xTool P2 Co2 Laser Beginners Guide. We highly recommend getting an inline fan when you order your P2 if you intend to use it indoors.

The P2 is heavy! You’ll need two people to lift and carry it to its final destination.

Safety First

While lasers are generally safe to use indoors, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. That’s why we recommend investing in some fire safety equipment, like the xTool Fire Safety Set, a fire blanket or Co2 extinguisher, just in case.

Read the user manual and get to know all the safety and maintenance measures to run your laser safely. We’re linking to the user manuals here. So if you’re thinking about buying an xTool laser, you can see what’s involved before you make the plunge!

Other safety features we like on the P2 are the emergency stop on the side of the machine and the automatic lock. The door can’t accidentally be opened during use. The enclosure also has a tinted window so there’s no need for safety glasses – which can be awkward if you already wear glasses.

Fire Safety Equipment

If you were lucky enough to purchase a P2 with the fire safety equipment included (or bought one separately) be sure to set it up. Set up used to involve an octopus of sensors, but now you can use the camera of the P2 to do the flame detection with a simple cable! If you previously purchased the fire system and didn’t get a cable, you can contact support and ask for one; they’ll send it free of charge.

How to set up the fire safety set:

At the very least, we recommend that you purchase a fire blanket if you don’t have the fire safety set or a CO(Class B and C) fire extinguisher. We bought a set of four fire blankets because they are handy in the kitchen and for gift giving too!

Fire blanket in a red package sitting on a table

If you’re wondering what the difference is between a regular (ABC) fire extinguisher and a Co2 extinguisher:

The principal advantage of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) fire extinguishers is that the agent does not leave a residue after use. This can be a significant factor where protection is needed for delicate and costly electronic equipment (source).

Getting the right extinguisher can mitigate any damage to your laser machine if you ever have to use it.

How Much Space Do I Need to Store my P2?

For the time being, our laser will be a permanent fixture indoors in my craft room.

Pro Tip: carefully measure the space you have to ensure you have sufficient room to house the machine – especially if you want add add-on accessories like the riser and conveyor.

The dimensions of the P2 are 39.4” wide x 25.1″ deep. However, that depth includes the protrusion of the handle. So you’ll be fine storing it on a surface that is 24” deep and at least 40” wide (like we showed you with this Husky Workbench Assembly).

XTool P2 laser sitting on top of a husky workbench

Also, you need to take into consideration whether you will be using the riser and conveyor attachments.

The riser adds some inches (39.3” w × 23.2” d × 6.8” h), so if you’re vertically challenged like me, you might want to think about a custom base or an adjustable-height work table. We found a great one at Home Depot that does the trick. The optional drawers are great for things like rulers and things that can store flat – like the digital calipers you will need to measure your material.

Husky workbench

Choosing the Right xTool Laser for You

The xTool P2 Co2 Laser is our top pick for creative and business endeavors, but they’ve got a whole lineup to explore. From portable options like the F1 to fully enclosed machines like the S1, there’s something for everyone.

So how do you know which one is right for you? It really depends on what you want to do with your laser. xTool also makes the following laser products and their comparison chart provides all the information you need to make an informed decision.

xTool Comparison Chart (Source: xTool)

Type xTool P2 xTool S1 40W xTool F1 xTool D1 Pro 20W xTool M1 10W
Key features xTool’s most powerful laser xTool’s most powerful diode laser xTool’s fastest laser xTool’s most affordable diode laser Perfect home crafting machine
Laser type ⭐55W CO2 Laser 40W Diode Laser 10W Diode Laser +2W 1064nm Infrared Laser 20W Diode Laser 10W Diode Laser +Blade Hand
Engraving Accuracy 0.15*0.2 mm 0.08*0.10mm 0.08*0.06mm(10W Diode Laser)

0.03*0.03mm(1064nm Infrared Laser)

0.08*0.10 mm 0.08*0.08 mm
One-cut Capability ⭐20 mm Clear Acrylic;

18 mm Basswood

15mm Basswood 6 mm Basswood 10 mm Basswood 8 mm Basswood
Speed 600 mm/s 600mm/s ⭐4000 mm/s 400 mm/s 250 mm/s
Working Area ⭐23.6*12.1 inches 19.61*12.56 inches 4.53*4.53 inches 16.93*15.35 inches 15*11.8 inches
Material Cuttable CO2 Laser: Paper, Wood, All Acrylic, Leather, Cardboard, MDF, Felt, Rubber Diode Laser: Paper, Wood, Leather, MDF, Felt, Some dark opaque acrylic Diode Laser: Paper, Wood, Leather, MDF, Felt, Some dark opaque acrylic Diode Laser: Paper, Wood, Leather, MDF, Felt, Some dark opaque acrylic Diode Laser: Paper, Wood, Leather, MDF, Felt, Some dark opaque acrylic

Blade: Paper, Fabric, Vinyl, Leather

Material Engravable CO2 Laser: Paper, Wood, Acrylic, Leather, Cardboard, MDF, Felt, Rubber, Bamboo, Fabric, Glass, Ceramic, Jade, Marble, Shale, Cement, Brick, Plated metal, Painted metal Diode Laser: Paper, Wood, Leather, MDF, Stainless steel, Some dark opaque acrylic, Bamboo, Fabric, Dark glass, Ceramic, Jade, Marble, Shale, Cement, Brick, Plated metal, Painted metal Diode Laser: Paper, Wood, Leather, MDF, Stainless steel, Some dark opaque acrylic, Bamboo, Fabric, Dark glass, Ceramic, Jade, Marble, Shale, Cement, Brick, Plated metal, Painted metal

1064nm Infrared Laser:Metal, Plastic, Black Acrylic

Diode Laser: Paper, Wood, Leather, MDF, Stainless steel, Some dark opaque acrylic, Bamboo, Fabric, Dark glass, Ceramic, Jade, Marble, Shale, Cement, Brick, Plated metal, Painted metal Diode Laser: Paper, Wood, Leather, MDF, Stainless steel, Some dark opaque acrylic, Bamboo, Fabric, Dark glass, Ceramic, Jade, Marble, Shale, Cement, Brick, Plated metal, Painted metal
View P2 > View S1 > View F1 > View D1 Pro > View  M1 >

Here are just a few highlights of each laser:

  • xTool F1. Are you always on the go? The F1 is a portable IR/Diode laser that you can travel with to craft shows or any place of business that you want to do custom engraving on the spot!
  • The xTool S1. This is a fully enclosed diode laser. Great for a hobbiest who wants to create personalized gifts. It also has interchangeable heads (i.e. 10W and 40W) and is compatible with many attachments like the Rotary. Because it’s a diode, there are certain things it can’t cut, like clear acrylic. My friend Rachel has several starter videos for xTool’s S1 machine you can watch.
  • xTool D1 Pro. This is an entry level diode without an enclosure. You’ll have to take added measures to build an enclosure and properly ventilate it to run it safely. Additional accessories like air assist can add up. This video compares the D1 to the P2 and explains how a diode laser compares to a Co2 laser and why she was happy to upgrade her laser. Lots to consider!
  • xTool M1. This is a laser cutter and it can cut vinyl because you can switch out the laser head for a blade. It’s a machine that gives you the best of both worlds.

If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, no worries! xTool has a handy quiz to help you narrow down your options. Just click here to give it a go: https://www.xtool.com/pages/xtool-machine-quiz

What can you create with the xTool P2?

Now, let’s talk projects. With the P2, the possibilities are endless. Think furniture, leather goods, decorations and crafts —you name it! Plus, you can batch engrave, which is a game-changer for small businesses.

My friend Anita has had her P2 for several months, so check out her page for some amazing P2 projects like her boho and multi-layered wall art pieces. Rachel over at Tea and Forget Me Nots is using the M1; you can find her xTool M1 beginner’s guide and link to her projects here.

What Materials can the xTool P2 cut and/or engrave?

The xTool works with a wide variety of materials including:

  • Wood
  • Acrylic (colour and clear)
  • Leather
  • Coated Metal
  • Glass (clear, coloured and mirror)*
  • Rock and stone such as marble, slate*
  • Felt
  • Cardboard
  • MDF
  • Fabric
  • Ceramic*
  • Metal (painted and plated)*

* Engrave only

One of the few limitations of the xTool P2 (if you can really call it that) is that it can’t cut glass – you’d need a water jet to do that. It’s engrave-only for hard materials like glass, ceramic, stone and metal. But as you’ll see in an upcoming post, you can certainly engrave on these materials!

The P2 can engrave coated metal too. With added accessories like the xTool RA2, a 4-in-1 rotary attachment, you can engrave cylindrical objects like your favourite travel mug or insulated tumbler. The RA2 also engraves objects like a wine glass or a christmas ornament. These are all perfect for gift giving or selling.

The xTool materials page has a wide selection of products and materials you can create with.

Is the xTool P2 worth it?

Now, onto the big question: is the xTool P2 worth it? Absolutely. The P2 is definitely an investment worth making if you’re running a business or passionate about crafting like we are! The base price in the U.S. (as of March 2024) is $4,999. However, watch for special discounts on the P2 around the holidays like Christmas, Valentines Day, Father’s day etc and the change of seasons.

xTool also provides package deals that include materials bundles and accessories which can save you money in the long run.

And don’t forget about xTool’s software—xTool Creative Space, or XCS for short. It’s free to use and packed with features.

xTool Software

XCS 2.0

xTool has just rolled out XCS 2.0, which is getting rave reviews (though as of this writing, I believe it is still officially in beta). Visit the software learning centre to learn all about it.

We personally haven’t downloaded XCS 2.0 yet (the latest xTool Creative Space version is here). We’re waiting for all the bugs to be sorted out before we do. But we will update you in future posts on the functionality as we begin to use it.

Projects and Tutorials

Users can find free tutorials and cut files to download on XCS like this adorable Valentine Elephant that was shared by xTool community member Jo Stapleton back in February for Valentine’s Day!

Cute laser cut elephant with a heart shape stick in his trunk that says I love you

Source: Jo Stapleton (picture shared with permission)


An exciting feature in XCS is the Artimind function (rebranded from xArt). As with all updates, I was a little lost at first because things moved around. The new update opens directly into this prompt screen:

xTool Artimind AI screenshot

In the previous version you could generate AI images from prompts, and even pictures, with 250 free credits to use in your laser projects. It even kept your history. By clicking on the first Laser Art tab, I found that hasn’t changed: my previous history and prompts are there, as well as my credit count.

I tried some prompts just for fun and before I knew it, I was down to 30 credits. It’s addictive! I believe you can gain further credits by sharing projects with the community.

Proms and subsequent pictures from the art of mind AI software

While AI is a lot of fun, I just purchased Procreate for my iPad and am enjoying drawing in the program. You’ll see an example using Procreate next week when we post a fun project for a kid’s room!

How big can the xTool P2 cut?

The bed size is 26″x14″ but the maximum workspace of the P2 supported by XCS is 24″ x 12″ (or 600 mm x 305 mm). However, using the honeycomb shrinks that down to 23.1″ x12.2″. You can greatly increase the cut area by adding on the riser base and conveyor feed so you can cut up to 118”×19.6”.

What is the lifespan of the XTool P2?

The lifespan really depends on how much you use it, but the glass laser tube should last from 6,000 to 8,000 working hours hours. Mirrors and lens may need to be replaced if they become unreflective due to build-up or breakage.

Setting Up the xTool P2

As you read through the set up in our xTool P2 Co2 Laser beginner’s guide, if you still can’t troubleshoot a problem, try the following resources. For technical support, contact support@xtool.com. For more information about after-sales services, visit support.xtool.com.

We have other accessories to show you in upcoming posts. As we use and experiment with them, we will update this xTool P2 Co2 Laser Beginners Guide with links to setting those up too.

Delivery hiccup

We had a bit of a rough start with our first P2 delivery thanks to a not-so-fun encounter with UPS. Long story short, our poor P2 apparently took a bit of a tumble during transit. 

xTool with broken cracked plastic side

So, when your new P2 arrives, make sure to give it a once-over. If you spot any damage, snap some pics, file a claim with the shipping folks, and notify xTool pronto. They’ll hook you up with the next steps and guide you through the return process if needed.

I was understandably nervous about the second delivery, but was relieved when the UPS delivery person showed up with a dolly this time. When we popped open the lid all was good!

At 130 pounds, keep in mind that the package is heavy. Definitely a two-person job to move it and lift it safely.

xTool box wrapped with plastic straps as delivered

xTool P2 Co2 Laser Beginners Guide – P2 Arrival

Alrighty, now that we’ve got all the logistics covered, let’s dive into setting up your xTool P2 Co2 Laser! It bears mentioning again this link for all the support documents for the P2, troubleshooting, and maintenance.

Materials for Set Up

Here’s some additional items to gather that we find makes setup go easier:

  • Distilled water (tap water’s a no-go! It will degrade the tube)
  • Flashlight
  • Magnetic tray (perfect for keeping those screws in check).
  • Extra long USB Cable. if you’re like us and don’t have a laptop, you will need to purchase an extra long USB cable.
  • Oh, and a magnetizer! Ever magnetized a screwdriver? Trust me, it’s a game-changer. Keeps those screws from pulling a Houdini act and disappearing on you (see how to use a magnetizer).  xTool throws in some spare screws just in case.

Pro Tip: Keep all your screws in a magnetic tray during setup. And toss that hex key in there too. It’s tiny and loves to play hide-and-seek.

The xTool P2 Manual

Before we dive in, we have to do some reading. First up, grab that Quick Start Guide – it’s your roadmap to getting familiar with all the parts on the machine. But more importantly?  You absolutely can’t skip the Self-Check Guide. It’s a little gem that’s not floating around online like the rest of the manuals. Trust me, it’s a lifesaver. It saved us when our x-axis guide rails were way out of whack. This guide walks you through not just one, but two fixes for that.

Now, reading some manuals can be tedious so here’s the scoop – they’re like those IKEA instructions, heavy on the pictures, so they don’t take much time. But there’s something missing: none of them mention that crucial step of calibrating the laser path before you use your P2 for the first time. Now that you know about it, don’t skip it!

Set Up Steps

Here are the steps for setup:

  1. Pop open the lid and and clear out all the materials and foam inside.

Hands removing Styrofoam from inside the laser machine

xTool’s got you covered with some basswood, acrylic, and cardboard to tinker with.

Look for that QR code on the cardboard band hugging the basswood package that comes with your machine. That code leads you to a video.

Package of wood wrapped in a strip of cardboard printed with a barcode on it

However, here’s the catch – for us, the video does not sync up perfectly with the new Optical Path test in the firmware update.

xTool will likely update that QR code going forward. Don’t stress, though if you’re caught in the twilight zone of firmware updates like us. Pause the video when you hit that part and head over to xTool’s Support Center for the latest instructions and videos on calibrating the path. Or check out the videos we have linked for you below under the Optical Path Test section.

You won’t be able to remove the rest of the foam at the back until you remove the four thumb screws holding a pair of brackets. They hold the laser rail in place during delivery.

Using a flashlight inside the P2 laser to see the thumbscrews to be removed

xTool P2 Co2 Laser Beginners Guide – Removing Brackets

Since everything’s black and loves to soak up light, grab that flashlight to spot those thumbscrews. There’s one on the side and one under the rail on each end. Once those brackets are out of the way, you can slide out the foam.

Hands removing the brackets from inside of the P2 laser machine

2. Now, unscrew the screw holding the baseplate. After removing the remaining materials, replace the tray and screw. Here is what you should have:

Accessories and manuals for the P2 laser laid out on the table

xTool P2 Co2 Laser Beginners Guide – Accessories and Manuals

Important Tip: Before the next step, if you haven’t already, refer to the Self-Check Guide. You won’t find this online in booklet form, so keep it in a safe place!

3. Move the laser module by hand to make sure it can move properly.

Check for Rail Misalignment

I noticed that the X-axis guide rail holding the laser head (the gantry) is out of alignment i.e. not parallel to the front of the machine. When I measured each side, there was a difference of over 1/4”, which is quite a lot. These machines get jostled when they are shipped so it’s important to square it up if necessary.

What we did is move the arm all the way to the back. Then we pushed against the side that was furthest away from the back with a bit of force (the left side for us). It clicked back into place was still out by 1/16th”. We did this a second time and it came back into square.

If that solution doesn’t work for you, read this troubleshooting article to fix it.

You may not even notice a misalignment until you cut a square and see that the vertical and horizontal lines are not perpendicular to each other. It’s always a good idea to do a square shape as one of the first test cuts to check this. To determine if you are square, measure each corner on the diagonal (callipers are great for this). If they are not the same measurement, you’ll need to adjust.

4. Open the lid and remove all tape over the screws, then remove the six screws. Also remove 5 screws on the back cover.

Lift off the panel covering the laser tube and inspect well to make sure the glass isn’t damaged.

Many people, including myself, find the back panel difficult to remove. Unfortunately I snapped off one of the tabs. We would suggest that you don’t rock the panel; it’s more of a straight up force that will release the tabs. When I had to do this a second time, I found that starting at one end was easier than trying to lift it all at once.

Broken tab that snapped off the back of the cover of the xTool P2 laser machine

5. Determine how much antifreeze to pour into the holding tank. You’ll find directions in the instruction booklet for the measurements of antifreeze and distilled or purified water. Many people wonder if you even have to add antifreeze if your xTool P2 is being kept indoors. But who knows when a furnace or the power will fail (our furnace is getting to that iffy stage). It doesn’t hurt to add the antifreeze just to be safe. So why not?

First Filling

Filling the glass tube is a two-step process. Unscrew the cap from the holding tank and insert the provided funnel.

For the first pour, xTool recommends you add the antifreeze first and then the water. We don’t know the reasoning behind this but, as a car guy, Hubs thinks they should be mixed together first. I ended up following xTool’s directions.

Connect the machine to a power supply and turn on the machine (the power button is right beside the electrical cord at the back).

Second Filling

After waiting 30 seconds for the mixture to work its way into the water tank, the second filling is just water. Replace the cap and the back cover with the screws previously removed.

Back of the xTool P2 Co2 Laser machine with the back removed exposing the glass tube

xTool P2 Co2 Laser Beginners Guide – Filling the Glass Tube

Setting up the InLine Fan

For indoor use, you have two options to extract fumes: an air purifier or an inline fan. We opted for the xTool 6″ Inline Duct Fan that we’re venting out our basement window. If you don’t have a nearby window, you’ll need to drill a vent hole, much like for a dryer vent.

Do inline fans help?

An inline fan will help push the air from inside the machine up the tube to where you’re venting it outside, improving your indoor air quality. As far as we’re concerned, it’s a must have. Because we’re planning on cutting acrylic, we of course want to minimize any smell inside our house.

Do you need a filter for an inline fan?

You don’t necessarily need one, but a carbon filter can help capture odour and contaminants that can pollute the air. If you are in tight quarters with your neighbours, it’s definitely something to consider adding.

While we have set ours up without an additional filter, we will certainly add one if we feel it will help control any residual indoor/outdoor odour.

DIY Window Adapter

First, we measure our widow opening and cut a piece of wood that’s shorter and narrower. Keep in mind you’ll need the extra space to position it in the window. And you’ll also want to add some weather stripping around all four edges to seal and prevent backdraft from entering your workspace.

DIY window insert cut from wood sitting on a table beside some window weatherstripping

The hole in the centre is 6″ in circumference to accommodate a 6″ flange. Screw the flange in place and then add some caulking to further weather seal if desired.

Note that we’re using this setup with our window screen. If you don’t want to use your screen (it will likely get dirty depending on what you cut), you can also purchase a louvered flange – preferable with a bug screen to prevent unwanted visitors. This would have been my first choice but the reviews on Amazon for this type of product are not great and it’s impossible (so far) to find in Canada. I think we’ll have to learn how to 3D print what we ideally want!

Flange inserted into the center of the DIY window frame sitting beside a better operated screwdriver

The P2 comes with this hose to attach at the back of the machine with the provided clamp. I was surprised that it’s only around 3″ wide. There are after market adapters that are 6″ if you prefer to upgrade to move more air out efficiently. I wish xTool had this option; it really doesn’t make sense to have such a small outlet when their inline fan is 6″. But I’m guessing that’s so it connects to the air purifier, which came out first.

Ductwork attached to the back of the xTool P2 laser in the xTool P2 Laser Beginners Guide

Pay attention to the arrows on the inline fan for how to attach the supplied reducer in the proper direction. After attaching the reducer, the duct gets attached with another clamp.

Attaching the smaller ductwork to the reducer on the xtool P2 inline fan

Attach the 6″ duct to the other end. Note that our laser machine is quite a distance from our window so we had to purchase a 25′ duct. In addition to being longer, this ducting is aluminum lined. It will likely be more durable and less prone to pinhole tears that could cause leakage.

xTool Inline fan sitting on a table with ductwork attached to the right side

When the fittings are secure, we can insert the frame into the window.

Man showing the underside of window looking into the aluminum lined ductwork in the xTool P2 Laser Beginners Guide

xTool P2 Co2 Laser Beginners Guide – Venting Out a Window

The first time we used our DIY window adapter, we realized it would be helpful to have handles on the frame.

Man placing window frame with ductwork attached into a window opening in the xTool P2 Laser Beginners Guide

But Hubs man-handled it into place for our first cut test.

Ductwork vented out the window in the xTool P2 Laser Beginners Guide

Once we’re done using the P2 laser, we’re storing the ductwork/window combo along with the inline fan right under our Husky workbench.

You’ll see that we’ve since added handles onto the sides of the window insert. They help us lift it above our heads. It’s a great addition!

Inline fan setup sitting on a shelf as part of the xTool P2 Laser Beginners Guide

xTool P2 Co2 Laser Beginners Guide – Inline Fan Setup

As with any fan that draws air out of a room, it can create negative pressure. So it’s generally a good idea to crack open a window to replace the air you are removing from the workspace.

Once the xTool P2 Co2 laser is operational, don’t forget to mount a fire blanket nearby. Ours hangs on a hook right below the laser on our Husky adjustable height workbench.

xTool P2 Co2 Laser Beginners Guide - fire safety fire blanket hanging on front of workbench

xTool P2 Co2 Laser Beginners Guide – fire safety

Optical Path Test

Align the Mirrors

The last crucial step in the setup is the optical path test. Don’t skip this!

This needs to be conducted to ensure the mirrors are in alignment. The laser bounces off several mirrors before it’s directed onto your project through the laser head. If this isn’t calibrated, your cutting and engraving can be anything from wonky to wildly inaccurate.

If you haven’t already, download and install the xTool Creative Space. Connect the xTool P2 to your computer using the USB cable and turn on the power. Note that you do have the option to connect your machine to a mobile phone and iPad. However, you have to connect to your local network first in order to set this up.

Head here to read instructions on how to do the optical path test. But then come back to read about our experience with it for some further tips. We’ve also linked xTool’s videos for you below:

First Optical Path Test

Second Optical Path Test

Third Optical Path Test

Our Experience with Optical Path Test

When we first connected the machine to do the mirror alignment, we immediately got a notification to update the firmware. The great thing about the new firmware update is that the power for the pulse test to adjust the mirrors has been turned down. So it can’t catch the tape on fire. That’s one thing I was nervous about when I watched Kim and Garret unbox their own P2. In their unboxing, the laser burned a hole through the tape and caught fire (as seen below), so the update is a great safety improvement!

However, here’s where things got interesting: the power was turned down so low that we couldn’t even see the laser hitting the tape! Talk about a mini panic attack. I initially thought our mirrors were WAY out of alignment when they weren’t! Thankfully, Hubs kept a level head with this solution: pulse the laser a couple more times until you actually see the mark.

You can get to the optical test by connecting to your machine, clicking the settings icon in the upper right hand corner and then click the settings and test button:

Opening up the optical path test for the xTool P2 laser in the XCS software

The optical test guides you through 3 steps as you see below.
Optical path test in the xcs software showing the three stepsThis procedure in the new firmware is quite different from previous versions. It directs you to check 3 areas instead of two.

As mentioned, when we covered the first hole at the back, we didn’t even realize the laser hit the tape. You can barely see it below – and this was after two pulses!

Piece of tape covering the hole at the back of the xTool P2 laser

Here’s a better view with the laser spot darkened with pencil.

Piece of tape on a table showing the laser mark circled in pencil

The optical test in the XCS software is a bit misleading in that it leads you to believe that first hole has to be exactly centred. If you choose anything other than centre, it directs you to open up the back of the unit to make adjustments. But that isn’t actually necessary if the spot comes close to the centre.

Hubs wisely decided to choose ‘centre’ on the first optical test and move onto the second. Put fresh tape on the second hole and see where the laser lands after pulsing a few times.

Our second hole was dead centre! If we had adjusted the first hole to be exactly centred, the second one would have been way off leading to untold frustration!

So, after all that, only the last optical test needed adjustment. As you see below the first mark is below centre.

Laser mark on tape inside the xTool P2 laser showing slightly below the centre

The brilliant thing about the optical test update in the software is that you just click on the mark that most approximates the positioning. And it tells you exactly which screws to turn and in what direction!

Test optical path in the xcs software on a computer screen

As it says on the bottom of the XCS screen, you may have to adjust multiple times before you get it dead centre. After just two tries, we were dead on.

Pro Tip: Our best advice is to turn those screws in tiny increments and re-pulse the laser or you might overshoot.

Inside the xTool P2 laser showing a laser mark in the middle of a taped section

xTool P2 Co2 Laser Beginners Guide – Optical Path Test Success!

Pro Tip: When your optical path test is complete, don’t forget to tighten the set screws on the mirrors. The XCS software does not remind you of these.

Test Cut

Our first official cut ‘project’ is this star. As unexciting as cutting a star may seem, you have to walk before you run! So start with something basic to learn the ropes. Grab one of the sheets of basswood provided with your P2.

To properly test a material, keep these two things in mind: what it’s made of and how thick it is. xTool has pre-sets, but if you choose a material that isn’t listed, you’ll want to measure the thickness with digital calipers and enter it into custom settings.

Steps to Your First Test Cut

Here are the steps after connecting your machine:

Place the basswood on the slats.

1. Insert the shape on the canvas. We’re choosing the star shape.

3mm basswood inside the P2 machine in the XCS software displaying all the shapes available to add to the canvas

2. Move the object into position

Moving the star into position on the basswood in the xcs software

3. Select Slats Flat mode

Tip: if you ever want to move the object right to the edge to get the most out of the material, use the close view camera to refine the position. After selecting and clicking on the area you want to get a close look at, use the zoom at the bottom of the machine. Or on a Mac, hold Ctrl and swipe on the mouse. If you find the close view camera is not accurate, check out how to calibrate it here.

XCS software showing close up view camera and slats flat mode4. Measure the thickness of the material and enter it under ‘thickness’ or use the 3mm Basswood preset.

Basswood preset in the xcs software

5. Set the processing function to output > cut. Enter the power and speed if using your own material. Or the preset shown above (3mm Basswood) automatically sets the power and speed respectively to 100/30.

Setting the cut function and power/speed settings in the xcs software

Click the green ‘Process’ button at the bottom which takes you to a preview screen.

Star project ready to process by clicking on the green process button Process preview screen showing the star about to be cutClick ‘start. Pay attention to the warning not to leave your P2 unattended while it’s working!

Warning on the process/ready screen to not leave the P2 unattended when it is working

Press the button on the xTool P2.

15 seconds later, it cuts so fast!

xTool P2 Co2 Laser Beginners Guide - first cut project is a star

xTool P2 Co2 Laser Beginners Guide – first cut project

The software conveniently tells you how long the processing took!

With our first cut out of the way, we go busy with our first project – this dinosaur wall art!

What we Love About xTool

The timing for setting up our P2 came at a very awkward time: right when the firmware update changed a few things. It threw us for a loop.

But the customer support at xTool – and community support on the Official Facebook Group page – is above and beyond. When I was freaking out over the damage to our first machine and various things we had to troubleshoot, they were both right there to answer our questions and set us in the right direction.

The help articles and video guides are thorough; you just need to know where to find them! So we hope our beginner’s guide to the xTool P2 CO2 laser helps you kickstart your laser engraving journey with confidence!

The sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can create with this amazing machine! So we appreciate the wide variety of material that comes with the xTool P2 to play with! It will keep us busy while we learn the ins and outs of this amazing machine!

As a matter of fact, we were so excited to try our new P2 laser to celebrate the solar eclipse, that we got ahead of ourselves. We posted these DIY Solar Eclipse Glasses before this informational guide and review! Because our xTool P2 Co2 Laser Beginners Guide is already so long, we’ll have another fun project next week for the kiddos.

Man wearing star shaped solar eclipse glasses

Solar Eclipse Glasses Cut with the xTool P2 Laser

Room for Improvement

The xTool P2 is an amazing desktop laser and we couldn’t be happier with its capabilities. No complaints there!

However, along with documentation that doesn’t mention the optical calibration test, and the mismatch with the instructional video due to the timing with the firmware update, we think there’s room for improvement with two minor things. One is the honeycomb panel (an add on accessory). It reduces the cutting size of the bed and I think xTool can improve upon the design to maximize the cut area to its full potential. The other is that we think xTool should include an extra set of mirrors with the laser. They don’t last forever and it would be convenient to have them when they no longer function well and need to be replaced.

The bottom line? You’re going to have more fun that you can imagine with your new xTool P2!

Helpful xTool P2 Tips Summary

In case you missed these helpful tips, here’s a brief recap of the key takeaways:

  • Magnetize your P2 screwdriver and keeps the screws in a magnetic dish.
  • Things like the thumbscrews and holes for screws are hard to see against the black interior; keep a flashlight handy while you perform the setup.
  • Read the Self-Check Guide. It’s the only piece of written documentation that helps troubleshoot. It covers adjusting the x-axis guide rails, calibrating the camera, and checking/cleaning the lenses.
  • Check for rail alignment; it’s just as important as calibrating the mirrors.
  • To calibrate the mirrors, turn those screws in tiny increments or you might overshoot. Don’t forget to tighten the screws up again when done.
  • Think about fire safety; at a bare minimum, get a fire blanket and keep it near your laser.


Poor engraving results? Read this troubleshooting article and work through the checklist.

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