OMTech Polar is a 50W CO2 laser cutter & engraver of 2023 which ultimately aims to beat the Gweike Cloud Pro & Glowforge Pro at a very competitive price of less than USD 3000.
The OMTech Polar is a Lightburn-ready laser cutter that comes with rotary attachments and other necessary value-added components such as 2.4GHz Wifi Card, 5MB Camera, Air Assist, Ammeter, and Water Chiller.
This article will guide you to an in-depth review of the Omtech Polar and also will assist you in comparing the Polar with the Gweike Cloud Pro.
Omtech Polar Review
As said earlier, OMTech Polar targets the Glowforge & Gweike customers at less than $3000 with all the Glowforge features. OMTech Poalr is offering the 50-watt CO2 laser power and the freedom to use offline control software – Lightburn. Besides, the Laser-Safe Antifreeze (a 1.5 L coolant) also added significant value in heat control.
As an avid DIY enthusiast, I recently purchased the OMTech Polar 50W Desktop Laser Cutter & Engraver with Rotary, and I am thrilled to share my experience with fellow crafters and makers. The OMTech Polar is a versatile and powerful tool that has exceeded my expectations and transformed my creative process.
Here are the key takeaways and benefits that I have experienced with the OMTech Polar:
- Incredible precision and detail: The OMTech Polar’s laser technology allows for incredible precision and detail in both cutting and engraving. I was amazed by the intricate patterns I could create on wood and acrylic, adding an extra layer of professionalism to my projects. For example, I designed a custom wall clock with delicate geometric patterns, and the OMTech Polar executed the design flawlessly.
- Rotary attachment for cylindrical objects: The included rotary attachment is a game-changer. It allows me to work with cylindrical objects such as glasses, mugs, and bottles, which was impossible with my previous laser cutter. I recently engraved personalized designs on wine glasses for a friend’s wedding, and they were an absolute hit!
- User-friendly software and interface: The OMTech Polar comes with its own software, which I found to be very intuitive and easy to use. The software has a wide range of design capabilities, and it is compatible with common file formats like JPEG, BMP, and AI. This made the transition from my design software to the OMTech Polar’s software seamless.
- Fast cutting and engraving speed: With its 50W laser power, the OMTech Polar has significantly reduced the time I spend on projects. The fast cutting and engraving speed allowed me to complete a detailed, multi-layered shadow box in just a few hours, whereas it would have taken me days with my old machine.
- Excellent customer support: OMTech’s customer support has been outstanding. They offer a comprehensive user manual and a dedicated support team ready to help with any questions or issues. When I encountered a minor issue with the laser alignment, the support team responded quickly and guided me through the process to resolve the issue.
More details is available in the OMTech’s official website.
The first appearance of Polar was great. The packaging seemed to be solid and the inner arrangement of the laser machine and other components was organized. Besides the main laser engraving machine, there was Interlock Connector, Honeycomb Workbed, Power & ethernet cable, TWO 4-Wheel Rotary Axes, Aviation Connection Plugs, an Air duct along with a duct remote & duct reducer, two Duct Tubes (5m Total Length), three Hose Clamps, 5 × 3mm Basswood Blanks, 5 × 3mm Cardboard Blanks, 5 × 3mm Acrylic Blanks, 11 × Target Discs, 2 × Storage Boxes and other safety & cleaning gears.
Here’s the picture of packaged OMTech Polar:
Undoubtedly this laser engraving machine will blow your mind. A 500 mm/s engraving speed and a precision of 0.001 inches is just great for regular engraving works.
Certainly, the Polar stays a step back from Gweike in terms of speed but, still, it offers significantly higher engraving speed compared to other laser engravers.
Here’s a small comparison of engraving speed between Polar & Gweike:
|Laser Cutter||Cutting Speed|
|OMTech Polar||500 mm/s|
|Gweike Cloud Pro||600 mm/s|
|Glowforge Pro||340 mm/s|
|OMTech (Earlier Versions)||500 mm/s|
|Ten High||550 mm/s|
|Xtool D1 Pro||600 mm/s|
The autofocus worked great, while engraving works. The camera can quickly read the designs and monitor the inside laser head movements. The maximum temperature doesn’t even affect the camera performance at all.
One positive thing we noticed is that the Polar engraves at a resolution of 1000 DPI. We also tested the laser cuts and it worked as prescribed.
Here is the engraving that we did with Polar:
Notably, the Polar stays one step ahead of the Glowforge and other laser engravers with its amazing autofocusing ability.
Almost all the CO2 lasers and even the Glowforge lasers generate noise of more than 75 DB. Older OMTech lasers did also create noise of around 90 DB whereas the Polar’s noise is below 70 DB.
This improvement is done only because of the clever use of a water chiller which is pre-installed inside. Other than that, the silent motherboard, Ruida control and the air duct helps keeping the noise below 75 DB always.
Here’s a noise comparison summary:
|Laser Cutter||Noise in Decibel|
|OMTech Polar||60 to 75 DB|
|Gweike Cloud Pro||60 to 75 DB|
|Glowforge Pro||80 to 95 DB|
|Older OMTech Lasers||65 to 80 DB|
|Ten High||75 to 85 DB|
The OMTech Polar came with two 4-Wheel Rotary Axes with an engraving diameter of 30mm-74mm. Undoubtedly this helps in engraving cylindrical objects without any trouble.
We tested OMTech Polar’s rotary performance with tumbler engraving as per our Tumbler engraving tips.
Here is the result that we have got with Polar:
You need to ensure that the pure stainless steel ramblers are not placed in front of the CO2 laser head as it reflects the laser beam while engraving.
What made OMTech Polar Great?
The followings are the key takeaways of Polar which explain the reasons for buying this. We will discuss both the positive and negative sides of OMTech Polar.
OMTech Polar comes with a 50-watt CO2 laser equal to Gweike & Glowforge’s Plus’s laser power. With a high-power 50-watt CO2 laser, you can cut or mark thicker material or thicker lines than with a lower-power laser. This is especially beneficial for applications that require a high level of detail or require a large volume of material to be cut.
The Polar offers a maximum engraving speed of 500mm/second. Engraving at a faster speed can reduce the time it takes to complete a project, resulting in more jobs being completed in a shorter period of time, which can result in increased profits. Additionally, faster engraving speed can help to improve the quality of the finished product, as the laser can be more precise at higher speeds. The maximum precision of Polar is 0.001”. It also allows for very small text and images to be engraved, which is ideal for creating intricate logos and other images.
Usually, this precision works great while engraving sensitive material such as leather & fabrics.
Additionally, Polar supports Lightburn which helps the crafters to operate the laser cutting machine without the help of the internet. LightBurn software is intuitive and easy to use, making it easier for those with no previous experience to become proficient in laser engraving. Similarly, LightBurn–supported laser engravers can be automated to perform tasks with minimal user input, making them ideal for large-scale projects.
OMTech Polar comes with a rotary attachment which offers additional accuracy when engraving cylindrical objects such as mugs, bottles, and other curved surfaces. Moreover, rotary attachments give the user more control when engraving curved surfaces, allowing them to adjust the speed and pressure of the laser beam.
There pre-installed Ruida 6442S Control Card. The main advantage of the Ruida 6442S Control Card is its ability to easily and quickly adjust settings for better control of laser engraving and cutting. It enables users to quickly adjust settings such as power, speed, resolution, and other parameters for better laser engraving and cutting results. It also supports offline engraving and cutting, making it an ideal choice for those who need to make quick and precise adjustments to their laser engraving and cutting projects.
Additionally, there is a 5-megapixel inbuilt camera which helps in monitoring & capturing the engraving designs. Earlier, Glowforge featured a similar camera and the Gweike did the same as well. Omtech Polar’s camera is also capable of autofocus which directly affects in better precision of any laser engraving work.
As an extra safety precaution, Polar features a safety Key that helps place better control. For instance, no one would be able to start the machine without that safety key even if the laser cutter is connected to the power.
Additionally, there is added safety feature such as if you open the top lid, the laser will automatically be disconnected so that no accidents happen.
Omtech Polar also features air-assist at the base price which helps to reduce the heat generated by the laser, which reduces the risk of burning and charring of the material. The air assist offers 18.8 cfm Air Flow which helps to blow away the vaporized material, which reduces the amount of smoke and fumes created during cutting and engraving. Additionally, air assist helps to increase the precision of the cut and reduces the risk of laser reflection.
Moreover, The polar comes with a water chiller that helps to ensure a more consistent beam quality over time by cooling the laser tube more efficiently and effectively. This results in more accurate and precise cutting, as well as longer life for the laser tube.
There will also be a honeycomb bed which is lightweight and provides more evenly distributed support for the sheet material being cut. This ensures a more consistent cut with less heat distortion and warping than with a flatbed. The honeycomb bed also reduces the risk of accidental damage to the sheet material.
The Polar comes with a 60W duct fan which is also accompanied by a fan remote and duct reducer. The main advantage of a duct fan and duct reducer in a laser cutter is that they increase the efficiency of the laser cutter by providing a steady, high–velocity exhaust stream which helps to effectively remove hazardous fumes, dust, and debris generated while cutting. This helps to keep the workspace clean and safe, while also increasing the life of the laser-cutting equipment.
OMTech Polar Positive Sides
Here’s the summary of all the positive sides of OMTech Polar.
- Faster Engraving Speed
- Powerful CO2 laser
- Water Chiller Included
- Air Assist Included
- Rotary attachment included
- Fully enclosed
- Low Noise (below 70 Decibels)
- Water chiller included
- Supports Lightburn
- Allows pass-through
Where does the Polar Lack?
There are the negatives sides of Polar:
- No Pull-out drawer for easy dust removal
- Maximum working height without tray is 51 mm which could have been increased by an additional 10 mm.
- Top lid lifting is not automatic
Here are the technical specifications so that you can have a clear guide at a glance:
|Power||50 W CO2|
|Working Bed||20.1" *11.8"|
|Max Engraving Speed||500mm/s|
|Expected Life||10000 hours|
|Max height without Tray||51mm|
|Rotary Engraving Length||≤245mm|
|Air Assist Flow||18.8 cfm Air Flow|
|Pass Through Height||0.3 in. (7 mm)|
Overall, the OMTech Poalr delivered a great laser engraving experience. The unpacking & installation procedure took exactly 15 minutes for us. This time may vary depending on your previous installation experience.
The Lightburn set-up is super easy and it will require just clicks if you follow OMTech’s instructions properly. For us, the Lightburn set-up took exactly two minutes to get everything ready.
The camera calibration is a bit tricky and would surely confuse you. However, this video is really helpful for calibrating the camera of OMTech Polar.
Our first engraving work took 3 minutes and the precision was absolutely in line with what was communicated by the OMTech. We loved the fast autofocus and the water chiller’s contribution. Together they made the engravings amazing!
The following laser cut took only two minutes of us using the OMTech Polar:
Here is another laser engraving work done by Polar:
Overall, The OMTech Polar is a great fully enclosed laser engraving machine and surely it will be another Glowforge Killer. From the Price Point, It comes at almost half of what Glowforge is asking for the Pro models. Even, though the Gweike Cloud Pro may stay a bit ahead of Polar, the return on investment would surely be as fast as what Gweike is offering.
The said service life of roughly ten thousand hours may vary but, the deviation should not be more than 5% we believe. OMTech polar’s engraving speed is ultra-fast, the noise stays below 65 DB, the camera focus was absolutely okay and even the laser head stays cool with the help of air assist & water chiller.
We must conclude that OMTech has just brought another best-selling laser engraver which is going to shake the budget-friendly laser engravers’ market.
OMTech Polar Vs Gweike Cloud Pro
In this section, we will perform a head-to-head comparison between the OMTech Polar and the Gweike Cloud Pro. The Polar comes at a price of slightly below USD 3000 whereas the Gweike Cloud Pro is being sold at over 3000.
Let’s see which one you should go for, and what your justifications could be.
It seems that OMTEch Polar is heavier than the Gweike Cloud Pro with the exactly same dimension of 38.2″ x 22.2″ x 9.2″. Both the laser engravers feature a 5 MP in-built camera with auto-calibration. The camera focuses and the ability to detect hand-made drawings are pretty similar and effective at both laser engravers.
Another difference is noticed which is the availability of the Pullout drawer. It’s true that the pull-out drawer is very effective in pulling out the dust created by the laser engraver. However, for the Polar, the honeycomb bed is still removable and the need for a pullout drawer is a pretty minor issue unless you are not cleaning the dust for a longer time.
On the other side, Gweike offers slightly higher engraving speed, which helps it stay ahead of OMTech Polar. However, the Polar is still very competitive if compared with the laser engravers at the price range of $2000 to $2800.
To us, a deviation of 100 mm/s engraving speed is not a big issue if the laser engraver is coming with Ruida 6442S Control Card and water chiller.
If compared, the Polar and Gweike cloud pro stays in a tie position with a win-win result. However, Gweike lacks consumer market experience compared tp OMTech which has been selling small laser engravers for a long period of time.
Below are the side-by-side comparison table
Polar Vs Gweike
|OMTech Polar||Gweike Cloud Pro|
|Size||38.2"*22.3"*9.2"||38.2″ x 22.2″ x 9.2″|
|Weight||104 lb.||25 kg (55 lbs)|
|Work Bed||20.1" *11.8"||20.08” by 11.8”|
|Camera||5 MP||one (in-built)|
|Pull-out Drawer||Not Available||Available|
|Laser Power||50 W CO2||50 W CO2|
|Speed||500 mm/s||600 mm/s|
|Precision||0.001 inch||0.001 inch|
|Price||OMTech Official Store||Gweike Amazon Store|
How POLAR differs from Other OMTech lasers?
OMTech has already crossed almost 30 years in laser machine market. Every year there is something new from this company which competes with other reputed laser engravers brands.
Here’s a quick summary that explains how the OMTech polar differs from the Other OMTech laser cutters.
The first difference we noticed is the operating life. The polar is expected to run approximately 10,000 hours whereas the previous version of 50-watt CO2 lasers from OMTech was communicated to last for 2,000 hours. So, the run time is boosted by approximately 500% in OMTech Polar.
Furthermore, The stainless steel canopied appearance has allowed the Polar to compete with the Glowforge & Gweike lasers. Since Glowforge has been charging premium prices with both appearance & ability for a couple of years, OMTech launched its Polar to target that particular customer segment.
Another difference we noticed is the primary focus. Previous OMTech 50W CO2 lasers was intended to target the laser cutters whereas the POLAR is segmented for laser engraving enthusiasts. It is evident that the Polar’s engraving speed as is high as the Gweike (even, better than the Glwoforge). Similarly, Polar can cut only 0.4 inches of wood so, this is purely visible that this machine is only presented for engraving enthusiasts & crafters.
Moreover, plenty of safety improvements in Polar were missing in earlier OMTech laser cutters. For example, the safety key & the synchronization of lid opening & laser cut helped the OMTech Polar become a premium laser engraver.
Similarly, earlier OMTEch lasers did not have a water chiller, but the Polar has. This amazing addition directly affects the laser engraving & cutting experience. Also, the noise is significantly reduced through duct fan & airtight canopy.
Furthermore, earlier lasers of OMTech had one rotary attachment, whereas the POLAR comes with dual rotary which helps in a better round-shaped engraving experience.
Overall, it can alternatively said that the OMTech has just re-appeared with their 50 wat laser engravers with a heavy focus in engraving speed, service life, better safety & control features to target the Glowforge and Gweike market.
Omtech Polar Vs Glwoforge Pro
As said earlier that OMTech positioned its Polar in front of Glowforge & Gweike customers since a lot of people every day search for the Glowforge alternatives.
Here are the reasons why people look for Glowforge alternatives:
- Glowforge laser engravers are costly. For instance, the Glowforge Pro is more than $6000 which is 250% higher than the OMTech Polar.
- Glowforge users are dependent on cloud-based control software since they do not supports offline software such as Lightburn, nor the Glowforge have anything like Lightburn.
- Glowforge’s engraving speed is not as high as the engravers of 2023 offer.
- Furthermore, Glowforge doesn’t allow users to remove or replace the honeycomb bed as the Polar & Gweike do.
Due to these facts, The Polar can be a good competitor of Glwoforge Pro, and a detailed comparison will follow.
Let’s have a look at how OMTech Polar performs when compared to Glowforge Pro.
|Factors||OMTech Polar||Glowforge Pro|
|Size||38.2″ x 22.3″ x 9.2″||38″ x 20.75″ x 8.25″|
|Weight||104 lbs||42.6 kg (94 lbs)|
|Work Bed||20.1” by 11.8”||19.5” by 11”|
|Camera||5 Mp (Auto Focus||Two (one for focus)|
|Z Axis||20 inches||0.5 to 2 inches|
|Rotary||Two Rotary Available at base price||Not Available|
|Work Bed||Removable Honeycomb||Fixed|
|Laser Power||glass tube 50W CO2 lasers||glass tube 45W CO2 lasers|
|Speed||500 mm/s||330 mm/s|
|Precision||0.001 inch||0.002 inch|
|Hand Made Drawing Detection||Yes||Yes|
|Read Material QR Code||Yes||Yes|
|Price||Check Official Price||More than $6000|
Glowforge pro is a premium model compared to the OMTech Polar. However, Polar also has more than 30 years of industry know-how and the necessary expertise to beat the issues. The Polar is heavier than the Glowforge with slightly bigger work bed and significantly higher engraving speed.
Besides, the OMTech Polar offers two rotary attachments, whereas the Glowforge doesn’t have one. Furthermore, Glowforge and Polar both allows pass-through however the pass-through height is adjustable on OMtech Polar due to the mobility of the honeycomb bed.
Overall, Higher speed and lower noise put OMTech POLAR on the upper side when compared to the Glowforge.
Engraving Speed & Performance
OMTech Polar’s engraving speed is 500 MM/s which is 200 MM higher than the Glowforge Pro. The quality of engraving is quit similar for the both since both the laser engravers feature the same CO2 glass laser tube. However, the Polar features a powerful CO2 laser when compared to Glowofrge. Both engravers come with a closed-loop engraving system with a water chilling mechanism which lowers the laser head overheating and helps in better engraving results.
Furthermore, The Polar appears to be on the upper side from the point of precision as it features a precision of 0.001 inches, whereas the Glowforge Pro’s precision is 0.002 inches. As said earlier that both engravers allow pass-through but the Polar’s pass-through size is adjustable because the user can remove the bed and increase its height which is missing on the Glowforge lasers.
Both lasers have an inbuilt camera auto-focusing mechanism however, the Glowforge lasers can recognize the material by reading the QR code and adjust the laser machine’s settings accordingly. This is a plus for Glowforge users but it requires you to use authentic Glowforge materials which is costly than similar materials available in the market.
Indeed, its a marketing policy that makes the job easier for the new crafters but, again, costs you higher every day.
However, both the Polar and Glowforge can read handmade drawing and converts them into machine-readable files.
Software & Flexibility
OMTech Polar supports Lightburn and the other available design software such as adobe illustrator & coral draw. On the other side, Glowforge users are always dependent on Glowforg’e online control software which puts them in trouble if there is a limited internet connection. This is the main reason of people prefer other laser engravers over Glowforge.
Additionally, being a Lightburn-ready desktop offline laser means that you can save $50 per month since Glowforge users need to pay this amount every month only for using their online control software.
It seems like a big slap over the Glowforge by OMTech.
On top of that, OMTech puts an extended warranty as well the US-based customer service which limits your thinking on the bitter experience of using Chinese types of machinery.
When do you need more than 50 Wat CO2 Laser?
If you need to engrave or cut thick materials, or if they need to engrave or cut at a faster rate, they would need a more powerful laser than a 50 watt CO2 laser. For example, if someone needs to engrave thick wood, they would need a 100 watt CO2 laser to get the job done quickly and effectively.
What’s the difference between diodes and CO2 lasers?
Diodes are electronic components, consisting of two electrodes (an anode and a cathode), that allow current to flow in one direction only. They are commonly used in electronic circuits to regulate the flow of current. Whereas, CO2 lasers are gas lasers that use a mixture of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and other gases to generate a laser light. CO2 lasers are used for many different applications, such as cutting and welding, marking and engraving, and medical applications. They are much more powerful than diodes, and produce a much higher intensity of light.
Can you engrave fabric & leather with OMTech Polar?
Laser cutters and engravers that can cut and engrave leather and fabric are typically either CO2 or fiber laser systems. CO2 laser engravers and cutters use a beam of infrared light to cut, engrave, and mark a variety of materials, including leather, fabric, paper, wood, plastics, and more. CO2 laser engravers work by focusing the laser beam into a small point that is then used to heat and melt the material, thus allowing the laser to cut through or engrave into the material.
So, OMTech Polar can also cut & engraver both leather & fabrics.
Here are the top laser engravers for leather & fabric.
Undoubtedly, OMTech Polar is a great deal for someone looking for a Glwoforge or, Gweike alternative under $3000. The Polar has great precision along with a faster engraving speed. Overall, we had a great experience with the Polar and suggesting you to explore the machine further.