Use xTool Creative Space (XCS) to Operate xTool M1

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This page describes the functions of xTool Creative Space (XCS) and how to use it to operate xTool M1.

Obtain and install XCS

Quick start example

1. Select a language

2. Connect your device to XCS

3. Place a material

4. Open a project file, import an image, or create your design on XCS

5. Set the processing type, mode, and parameters

6. Start processing

Function description

Obtain and install XCS

(1) Download the xTool Creative Space software applicable to the operating system that runs on your PC.
(2) Double-click the software you've downloaded to install it.

Quick start example

1. Select a language

Click Settings and select a language.
 
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2. Connect xTool M1 to XCS

(1) Use the USB cable to connect your device to your computer.
(2) Turn on your device.
(3) Open XCS and click Connect Device.
 
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XCS automatically searches for devices and displays devices connected through the USB.
Click your xTool M1.
 
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If you have connected your device to XCS through Wi-Fi, you can find it on the WIFI tab.
 
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Alternatively, you can click IP to set up an IP connection.
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After your device is connected to XCS, you can see the image captured by the camera of your device on XCS. 
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3. Place a material

(1) Place the material to be processed in the working area of your device.
Note: Place the material at the red light spot, so that the device can measure the thickness of the material.
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If the camera doesn't capture the material, you can open the lid and then close it to refresh the image, or click Photograph to refresh the image.
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(2) Select your material from the Material drop-down list box. 
 
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If you can't find your material in the list, you can click + More to find more materials. In the xTool SELECTED window that appears, you can search for and view more materials, or view only materials that are supported.
 
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Note:
  • Whether a material is supported depends on the device model, power of the laser module, processing mode, or other factors. For example, kraft paper can be processed only in blade cutting mode by xTool M1; and some thicker materials can be cut only by using the laser module of 20W.
  • You can visit the xTool SELECTED online material center only when your computer has connected to the Internet.
  • Parameter settings provided in the xTool SELECTED online material center are applicable only to the official xTool materials. For materials, of the same names, purchased from other manufacturers, the parameters settings recommended in the material center may not be the best choices.
If it is not included in the list, click Auto-measure to automatically measure the thickness of your material.
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Wait for the measuring to complete.
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4. Open a project file, import an image, or create your design on XCS

  • Open a project file (supporting only .xcs files)

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  • Import an image
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After importing an image, you can directly use the image or edit it to make your own design.

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  • Create your design

You can insert a shape, enter a text, or draw vector paths on the canvas.

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5. Set the processing type, mode, and parameters

Select each design element and set the processing type, mode, and parameters for it.

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Note: For user-defined materials, you can set the power, speed, and pass parameters according to the settings recommended in the user manual. 

6. Start processing

Click Start to start processing.

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On the Preview window, click Framing to preview the processing area on the material.

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If the design elements are to be processed as expected in the expected area, click Start to start the processing

This is the general process of using XCS to create your works. For details of the functions of XCS, see Function description.

Function description

Note:
When you use XCS, some functions may be unavailable in some scenarios, displayed in gray. This is what it is supposed to be. These functions are described as follows:
  • Outline
This function is available only for image formats including PNG, JEPG, and JPG. Vector graphics are not supported. When importing an image, you can select the proper image format, and then you can add outlines for them.
  • Smart fill & Extract
These two functions are available only after you have connected your device to XCS. Note that these functions are supported only for machines with cameras, such as xTool M1. Machines without cameras, such as the xTool D series, do not provide such functions.
  • Align
This function is available only after you have selected two or more design elements.
  • Combine
This function is available only for vector elements and can be used only after you have selected two vector elements.
 

Shortcut keys

Navigation
Zoom in
Ctrl + =
Zoom out
Ctrl + -
Hand
     Space     + Drag mouse
Editing
Copy
Ctrl + C
Paste
Ctrl + V
Delete
Backspace or Del
Undo
Ctrl + Z
Redo
Ctrl + Y
Moving artwork
Nudge
or
Big nudge
Shift + or

 

Right-click menus

  • When you right-click on the blank space of the canvas, the following shortcut menu is displayed.

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    • Paste: pastes an element that has been copied
    • All: selects all the elements on the canvas
    • Zoom in: zooms in the canvas
    • Zoom out: zooms out the canvas
  • When you right-click on one or more elements on the canvas, the following shortcut menu is displayed.

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    • Cut: deletes and copies the element(s) you've selected
    • Copy: copies the element(s) you've selected
    • Paste: pastes the element(s) you've copied
    • Delete: deletes the element(s) you've selected
    • Group: groups two or more elements you've selected
    • Ungroup: ungroups the elements you've grouped

Menus

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① Settings

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  • Unit: sets the unit for displaying the size and position of a design element
  • Language: sets the language of the UIs
  • Software update: displays the software version and checks for later versions
  • About: displays information about the software

② File

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  • News: creates a new project file
  • Save: saves all the changes to the project
  • Open: opens a local project file, supporting only .xcs files
  • Save as: saves the project to another file 

Project name

It displays the name of the project.

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Links

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  • Projects: links to the example project center, where you can find various example projects
  • Support: links to the xTool support website, where you can find online help for xTool products
  • Shop: links to the xTool online store, where you can purchase xTool products, accessories, and materials

Tools

Vertical toolbar

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  • Image: import an image. After importing an image, you can set the properties of the image or edit it.

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Note: Currently, text objects can't be properly parsed on XCS. If you are to import an SVG file including texts, please convert the texts into paths and then import the SVG file into XCS, so that the SVG image can be properly processed.

    • Filter: You can add a grid filter for the image.
    • Sharpness: With other settings unchanged, sharpness is related to the clarity of detail in an image.
    • Grayscale: The grayscale is related to the contrast of light and shade. Slide the block on the left to the middle to enhance the shade. Slide the block on the right to the middle to enhance the light.
    • Magic wand: deletes the area you want to delete from the image
    • Eraser: erases the area where you click from the image
    • Crop: keeps the area you select
  • Insert: selected to draw a common shape

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  • Shape: inserts a shape

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  • Text: inserts a text. The default text is HELLO. After insert the text, you can change the words, set the font size, typeface, spacing, leading, weight, aligning mode, and style.

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  • Vector: selected to draw a vector path

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After drawing a vector path, you can double-click an anchor point to convert it to a rounded corner or back to a corner, and adjust the curvature.

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  • Extract: extracts images from the image captured by the camera of a device. This function is available only when XCS has connected to a device with a camera. You can use the magic wand, eraser, and crop tools to extract the image you want, and then you can use the image for processing.

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    • Magic wand: deletes the area you want to delete from the image
    • Eraser: erases the area where you click from the image
    • Crop: keeps the area you select
  • Select: selects one or more items
    • Select one element: click an item to select it
    • Select multiple elements:
      • Way 1: drag the mouse pointer over all the elements to be selected
      • Way 2: hold down the Shift key on the keyboard and click the elements to be selected. When holding down the Shift key, you can click an element again to deselect it.
    •  

Note: When multiple elements are of the same type, you can set processing parameters for them at a time. But for those of different types, you need to set processing parameters for them separately.

  • Hand: selected to move the canvas by dragging the mouse.

Horizontal toolbar

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  • Undo: cancels the last action
  • Redo: performs the last action again
  • Outline: extracts the outline of an image and sets the size of the outline

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  • Array: creates multiple copies of an element at a time and lays them out in grid or circular mode. Select an element, choose an array mode, and complete the settings.

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  • Smart fill: duplicates a design element for multiple materials, helping you process multiple materials at a time. Edit your design for one material, and then click Smart fill. The same design is generated for other materials.

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  • Align: aligns multiple elements. 

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For example, to align the elements shown in the following figure.

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    • Align left
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    • Horizonral align center
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    • Align right
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    • Align top
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    • Vertical align center
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    • Align bottommceclip11.png

For example, to distribute the elements shown in the following figure.

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    • Distribute horizontally
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    • Distribute verticallymceclip15.png
  • Arrange: arranges the order of elements. You can bring an element to front or send it to back, or bring it forward or send it backward one layer by one layer.

For example, to arrange the elements shown in the following figure.

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    • Bring forward
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    • Bring to front
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    • Send backward
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    • Send to back

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  • Combine: combines two or more elements

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When you unite the two elements:

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When you subtract the two elements:

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When you unite the two elements at overlap:

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When you subtract the two elements at overlap:

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  • Reflect: reflects an element horizontally or vertically

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When you reflect the element horizontally:

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When you reflect the element vertically:

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  • Position: sets the position of an element on the canvas by the x and y coordinates. The point (0, 0) is in the upper left corner. The unit can be set in Settings.

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  • Size: sets the size of an element. The unit can be set in Settings.

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  • Rotate: rotate an element by angle. A positive value indicates rotating clockwise, and a negative one indicates rotating counterclockwise.

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  • Zoom: zooms in or out the canvas or fit the canvas on screen

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Canvas

On the canvas, you can design your elements to be processed, and preview the positions of the design elements and the material to be processed.

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Canvas management

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You can add, delete, or rename a canvas.

Device settings

Connect a device 

1. Use the USB cable to connect your device to your computer, and turn on your device.

2. Open XCS and click Connect Device.

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Wait for XCS to search for available devices.

3. Select your device.

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View device information and set its functions

After connecting a device to XCS, you can view operating information and set functions for it.

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  • Basic info.

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    • Device name: sets the name of your device
    • Laser model: displays the model of the laser module
    • Serial number: displays the serial number of your device
    • Firmware version: displays the firmware version of the device. You can click Check for updates to check for later versions and update the firmware.
    • Wi-Fi setting: sets the Wi-Fi name and password to set a Wi-Fi connection
  • Working info.

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    • Working time: displays the total time the device processing materials
    • Operating times: displays the total number of times the device has been operated
    • Standby time: displays the total time the device is on standby
    • Work log: You can click Export to export the work log of the device.
  • Setting

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    • Backlash: You can click Test to test the engraving deviation when the laser module moves in a reverse direction. 
    • Process what you draw: This is an offline function. The device can recognize what you draw and process it without connecting to XCS, and you can set how it works.
      • Laser engrave black patterns: engraves patterns that you draw in black
      • Laser cut black outline: cuts outlines that you draw in black
      • Laser cut red outline: cuts outlines that you draw in red
  • Working parameters

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    • Fill light brightness: sets the brightness of the fill light for the camera
    • Time the fan continues to work: sets the time the exhaust fan continues to work after the machine stops processing

Processing settings

Note:

  • If you use a material launched by xTool, you can select it from the material list and use the default parameter settings.
  • If you use a material produced by another manufacturer, you can modify the parameters based on the settings recommended for xTool materials or your own tests.

General parameters

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① Processing type

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  • Laser flat: processes flat materials by using laser beams
  • Laser cylindrical: processes cylindrical materials by using laser beams
  • Open plane: processes large-area materials, with the baseplate of the device removed
  • Blade cut: processes materials by using a blade module

② Material

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If you use a material launched by xTool, select your material from the drop-down list box. If you use one purchased from another manufacturer, set it to User-defined material, and set the processing parameters based on those recommended for xTool materials or your own tests.

③ Thickness

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If you use a user-defined material, you can click Auto-measure to enable XCS to measure the thickness of the material. If auto-measure fails, use a caliper to measure it and enter its thickness.

④ Height raised

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If you have raised your material by using triangular prisms, select Triangular prism

⑤ Processing mode

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Select an element and set the processing mode.

  • Score: engraves only the outline of an element

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  • Engrave: engraves the fill of an element

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  • Cut: cuts the outline of an element

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⑥ Output

Sets whether an element is to be processed

Power

Sets the power for engraving or cutting

Speed

Sets the speed at which engraving or cutting is to be performed

⑨ Pass

Sets the number of processing times

Additional parameters for image engraving

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Bitmap mode
 
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XCS provides multiple bitmap modes, including Grayscale, Bayer, Floyd, Stucki, Atkinson, Jarvis, and Sierra. The default mode is Grayscale.

  • Grayscale

Transforms an image into one of the shades of gray mode, in which a pixel is formed by a shade of gray that can be the darkest one (black), the brightest one (white), or one between them. The darker the pixel, the deeper the graving.

  • Bayer

Transforms an image into one in Bayer mode, which looks like adding a grid mosaic filter on the image. 

  • Floyd

Dithers an image by using the Floyd algorithm that diffuses the error only to the neighboring pixels, producing find-grained wave-like patterns on the image. It is recommended for highly-detailed images instead of those containing monotone swatches of color. 

  • Jarvis

Dithers an image by using the Jarvis algorithm that diffuses the error to 12 pixels around a pixel. Compared with Floyd, the transitions between pixels are slower, which produces a very nice looking pattern on almost all images.

  • Stucki

Dithers an image in a similar way to Jarvis. Compared to Jarvis, the transitions between pixels are faster, which produces clean and sharp images.

  • Sierra

Implemented based on the Jarvis algorithm, achieving a similar effect while producing sharper images.

  • Atkinson

Dithers an image in a way similar to Jarvis and Sierra while producing sharper images. The Atkinson algorithm can preserve the details of an image well but the very dark or bright area may look disappeared.

 

With the other settings unchanged, the output of an image on a wooden board varies according to image mode, as shown in the following figure. You can select a mode as required.

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 Lines per cm

Set the number of lines in one centimeter. This parameter determines the resolution of the image to be engraved.

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Start processing

After setting the parameters, click Start to start processing the material. 

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The Preview window is displayed.

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  • Estimated time: displays the estimated time needed for completing the processing
  • Framing: shows the area to be processed on the material 
  • Cancel: cancels the processing and go back to the canvas
  • Start: starts the processing

If the design elements are to be processed as expected in the expected area, click Start to start the processing and wait for the processing to complete.

If you are to modify your design, you can also click Cancel to go back to the canvas.

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Comments

1 comment

  • Comment author
    Anthony Willey
    • Edited

    When you have an SVG with multiple objects in it, how do you know which object will cut first? Does it depend on which object is in front and in back? If I'm engraving one part in the SVG and cutting a different path, will it automatically do the engrave before the cut?

    Imagine, for instance, you're making a puzzle with a picture on it that has been converted to vector. You want to engrave the picture before cutting out the individual pieces obviously. How do you make sure it does that?

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