ComMarker B4 laser engraver review

Affordable precision for commercial engraving at speed

ComMarker B4 review
(Image: © Alastair Jennings)

TechRadar Verdict

The ComMarker B4 20W laser engraver offers precision, speed, and ease of use in a compact form, making it an ideal option for small businesses. Its 20W power is sufficient for a huge variety of materials, especially metal, plastic and leather, with the fibre laser design giving you speed that's hard to match. However, it does limit the engraving size, and wood needs to be painted prior to use. Still, as the entry-level power for the B4, it's impressive and makes it one of the best options for small businesses.


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    High Precision

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    Compatibility with LightBurn

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    Compact Design


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    Material Restrictions: wood needs to be painted

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    Limited engraving size

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    Very expensive compared with diode engravers

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The ComMarker B4 20W Laser Engraving Machine is designed for hobbyists and small businesses. It utilizes fibre laser technology that focuses on a smaller area than a more conventional X-Y Laser machine. This means it takes up far less room, and the powerful 20W laser head we've reviewed is well-suited for engraving a variety of materials, especially metals, plastics and leather.

Having tested out the best laser engravers, one of this machine's most appealing features is its user-friendly approach. Simple physical buttons on the exterior enable you to adjust height and focus. Then there's full compatibility with engraving software like LightBurn, which helps ensure you can start engraving quickly. However, you will need to buy an additional plugin for the software to work with this machine in the long term.

While this machine is powerful and versatile, it will only be for some. It doesn't engrave wood without preparation. However, if any type of metal is placed under its beam, it will go to work with absolute precision and speed. This makes it an ideal choice for businesses and crafters rather than general enthusiasts and hobbyists, and this level of quality is also reflected in the slightly higher price point.

ComMarker B4: Design

ComMarker B4 review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

From the outset, it's obvious that the ComMarker B4 20W isn't your average laser engraver. Firstly, it's a lot smaller and more industrial in asthetics. It looks exactly like the type of machine you see at key cutters or trophy shop, and for good reason. This is a fibre laser, which essentially means that it uses a fibre laser to etch, mark, or engrave materials. Unlike traditional engraving methods such as the gantry X Y machines, like the XTOOLs P1, that use a mechanical processes to move the head over the area to be engraved, this fibre laser engraver utilizes the power of focused laser beams to create precise detailed markings without a moving head. This makes it faster, but also means that the engraving area is far smaller.

The ComMarker B4, like other fibre laser engravers, works by generating a laser beam using a fibre optic cable. This enables highly efficient and powerful laser production. This laser beam can then be directed towards the chosen material to be engraved. On this type of fibre engraver, a lens is used to focus the laser accurately and the B4 comes with a choice of two. The first is designed for a work area of 110 x 110mm for high-accuracy engravings, while the other is for larger 200 x 200mm areas at a slightly reduced quality.

ComMarker B4 review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

When it comes to the physical design of the machine, fibre technology also means that it's far smaller than most engravers. This makes it extremely easy to move, and this laser engraver is designed to be versatile, with a distance cage in the box that enables the engraver to be used handheld when engraving vertical surfaces.

The machine's build is extremely sturdy, enabling handheld use, with a main arm that can be rotated to enable engraving on a wide variety of surfaces, something that would be difficult with other engraver machine types, especially the more common gantry X Y.

On the base box, the control interface is relatively intuitive, with clear buttons for easy navigation.

ComMarker B4: Features

ComMarker B4 review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The ComMarker B4 20W is a simple-looking machine, much like any piece of professional workshop equipment. It has a few buttons on the exterior to power on and off the machine, an emergency stop, ones to raise and lower the head for focusing, and that's about it. Most of the main features are controlled once connected to the LightBurn software throug the USB port at the back.

However, at the heart of the machine is the 20W laser that enables precise engravings on all metals. The machine has one of the most precise beams of any laser engraver at this price, reaching 0.01mm. It also has a maximum engraving depth of 0.3mm. This is joined by a laser engraving speed of 15,000mm/s, which is far in excess of standard laser engravers, which is one of the big reasons that this type of machine is a good choice for business.

Unlike other laser engravers, the B4 utilizes lenses to focus the beam, and two lenses are included as standard. The 110 x 110mm lens is for accuracy, and the 200 x 200mm lens is for larger size work. The dimensions on the lens refer to the work area rather than the focal length.


Print Technology: Laser Engraving

Build Area: 110 x 110mm for accuracy / 200 x 200 mm for size

Engraving accuracy: 0.01mm

Engraving depth: 0.3mm

Bed: Fixed

Software: Compatible with LightBurn and other popular engraving software

Materials: All Metals, plastic, leather, wood need to be prepared

Print Speed: Up to 15,000mm/s

On the front, along with the main control dials, there's also an emergency stop, which kills power if needed. This is one of several safety features, alongside an auto-shutdown if the machine is moved or tilted when in use.

A feature that adds to the usability is the ability to rotate the head through 180º so that the laser is clear of the platform. This means that if you need to engrave onto a large vertical object, such as boxes in a warehouse, the side of a vehicle, or a building, you can. The speed and lack of movable internals also make it far easier to hold in position for prolonged periods, depending on the complexity of the design, of course.

When it comes to materials, the B4 will engrave most metals, leather, and hard plastic. When it comes to wood it will be engraved as long as it's painted before being placed in the work area.

One of the other big features for any business looking to buy a laser engraving machine is its service life of 100,000 hours, again far in excess of that of a standard mechanical engraver.

ComMarker B4: Performance

ComMarker B4 review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

Working with a fibre laser engraver is a completely different process than working with a more standard mechanical gantry X-Y laser machine. Firstly, the work area for a machine of this price and quality is far smaller—110 x 110mm with the precision lens and 200 x 200 mm with the larger lens. This makes it a great choice for engraving metal items such as tags, phones, and laptops, as well as hard plastic and leather. However, when it comes to wood, while it will engrave, the wood itself needs preparation, with black paint needing to be applied before the laser has any effect.

Setting up the engraver takes little time, and while the instructions are useful, they are not 100% clear. However, the process is easy enough, and the setup doesn't take too long; if you do get stuck, then the ComMarker website and community are huge and helpful, with plenty of resources online to aid you.

In the box, there are two lens options, as already mentioned, which need to be screwed into the head prior to starting the machine. At this point, if you need to add the frame for handheld work, this can be added; if not, it's left off and stored until needed. In the box, there are also a couple of plastic guides that can be pinned to the platform to hold materials in place.

An issue to point out is that while LightBurn is included on the USB that ships with the machine, this is only a trial. While there are free versions of software out there that will work, buying the Galvo Support for LightBurn costs around £88/$88 and it's well worth it for the ease of use.

Once installed, the system recognizes itself and springs into action without issue. Before you start engraving, one thing to note: the three beams that rest on the work surface need to be focused. This is done using the buttons on the front of the machine to raise or lower the head. Once aligned, you're ready to start.

ComMarker B4 review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

As well as the standard engraving, the machine also comes with a rotary engraver. This is simply plugged in, and the option is selected through LightBurn. Due to the nature of the machine, it is one of the easiest rotary attachments we've seen to use.

Once everything is set up, you can start to position the materials. Once in place, the preview can be tapped, and boundary boxes appear on the materials, showing exactly where the engravings will happen. This is far clearer than most other engravers, enabling you to get a good, accurate positioning, although not quite as good as the camera systems.

Once you're ready, the power and speed can be adjusted, and then it's just a case of hitting play to start. As with all laser engravers, it takes a bit of experimentation to find the correct balance, but once you have it, you can rattle through objects at speed. What was really good is that ComMarker has an extensive blog community with tutorials and tips along with all the settings that you need for most materials. Also, refering to the manual highlights most the exact settings that you will need.

Overall, the ComMarker B4's precision and speed make it an easy choice for many businesses that need to engrave metal, plastic, or leather. However, when it comes to wood, there are other options.

ComMarker B4: Final verdict

ComMarker B4 review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The ComMarker B4 20W Laser Engraving Machine is an excellent choice for small businesses needing a precise, fast engraving tool for metal, plastic, and leather. The B4's 20W laser power provides superb detailed engravings, and while the on-machine controls are limited, once you find your way around LightBurn, it's all relatively straightforward. The machine's compact design is perfect for small workspaces, and the safety features help to ensure that it's suitable for most environments. A nice additional touch is that an enclosure is available, and it's relatively cheap—a worthwhile investment.

However, the 20W power may not be suitable for those requiring high-volume output or working with thicker, tougher materials. The engraving speed can be slower for intricate designs, but when we say slower, most designs, even those of an intricate nature, are completed within five minutes, making it a great solution for on-site engraving.

Should I buy the ComMarker B4 20W?

If you're a small business looking for an affordable laser engraver, the ComMarker B4 20W is a great choice that will only take up a little room and is easy to use. Its ease of use and precision make it suitable for a variety of engraving projects, and it's especially good at engraving metals with a high-quality finish that few other engravers at this price can match. However, you do need to consider that to make the most of this engraver, the additional LightBurn plugin should also be purchased.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ValueExpensive but worth it for the quality and speed4
DesignCompact and durable4
FeaturesUser-friendly with useful safety features 4.5
PerformancePrecise and even fast for intricate designs 4.5
TotalGreat for small businesses4.5

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