This blog features some initial Thunder Bolt laser reviews as well as common questions about the newest machine in the Thunder Laser product line.
The Thunder Bolt is a compact desktop laser released by Thunder Laser in late September 2023. This lightweight (175lbs) and relatively affordable machine ($6800 CAD) provides a more versatile home office machine than the Glowforge, while offering many of the features of Thunder Laser’s larger machines. A few key features include an RF laser tube, a built-in camera, an exhaust fan and separate internal compartments with height adjustable bed which allows for rotary use.
Check our the Thunder Bolt product page for more details of the specs of this machine.
For a product comparison, check out the article titled Thunder Bolt vs Glowforge. This article was written by our staff Reade Richards who is a user of both brands.
The below comment is a screenshot from the Thunder Laser Owners Facebook group. This group is a great place for potential customers to do some initial research and get feedback from other Thunder Laser users.
Over the last several weeks we’ve collected some common questions from the Facebook group that people have about the Thunder Bolt and answered them for you below.
You don’t need a super new or fast computer to run the laser software required for the Thunder Bolt.
Here are the software requirements for 2 common laser programs we recommend:
RDWork v8/LaserWorks v8 application is required to run on Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10. It is recommended that your PC is equipped with a minimum dual core processor as well as having at least 2gb of RAM installed
LightBurn does not require a powerful computer for most work, though if your designs contain a lot of images, more memory is helpful. As with most things, a faster computer will make it easier to work with large images or complex vector graphics.
LightBurn will run on Windows 7.0 or later (32 or 64 bit), MacOS 10.11 or later, or 64 bit Linux (Ubuntu 20.04 or Fedora 36, anything else may not work as intended).
Ubuntu users unable to upgrade beyond Ubuntu 18.04 should download version 1.2.01 instead of the current version.
The program RDWorks comes with the Bolt but you can also purchase a key to Lightburn. These are the 2 softwares we recommend.
Limited file format support
Only compatible with the Windows operating system
Cross-platform compatibility (works on Windows, macOS, and Linux)
Compatible with a wide range of controllers
Supports a variety of file types
Camera compatibility for enhanced precision
LightBurn software comes with a cost ($170 CAD per year)
Link: Download LightBurn
The Thunder Bolt has an adjustable bed with a height of 4.3″. This allows for the use of a rotary. However, not all rotaries will fit inside.
Rotoboss and Piburn have designed rotaries specifically for the Thunder Bolt.
Stay tuned for an official Piburn announcement and video on how to setup your Piburn rotary on the Thunder Bolt!
An RF laser tube creates a smaller dot size out of the laser’s pointer. This results in higher precision and accuracy in engraving than a CO2 glass tube laser machines.
An RF laser tube doesn’t need as much time to heat or cool down as a glass laser tube. This means the machine is much safer to be moved around, and the internal air pump helps keep the laser and internal components cooled much more efficiently.
For more info on the difference between CO2 RF and CO2 Glass tube lasers, read this article by Thunder Laser USA
Link: RF Tubes
The Thunder Bolt is a 30W machine which means you can plug it into any standard house 15 amp outlet in Canada.
It’s always a good idea to plug a larger machine like a laser cutter in a dedicated circuit just in case, but it’s not legally necessary.
Below is a table of items that can be cut and engraved on the Thunder Bolt laser.
You’ve received your Bolt and you don’t know where to start? Thunder USA created this fantastic video outlining the first steps to take when setting up your Thunder Bolt machine:
One thing that makes Thunder Laser stand out from other companies is our customer support. Here are a few reasons people choose Thunder Laser:
Free 1-on-1 training when you purchase one of our lasers!
We respond to support tickets super quickly!
You will always talk to a real person! In fact it will be someone from our small Canadian team, either Shannon, Maria, Tess, Reade, Ben or Zee!
We have a really great Community. The Thunder Laser Owners Facebook group is also a very helpful place for current users to get troubleshooting support. As you can see in the poll below, 67% of group members found answers to their questions 90-100% of the time.
We are grateful to our friends at Thunder Laser USA who regularly create video resources and blogs on all things Thunder Laser. Below is a video that shows some materials testing with different settings and initial impressions of the Thunder Bolt machine. We’ve added some of their videos (as well as our own) to playlists to help answer questions and do research into our machines, laser techniques and more.