Laser Cutter Software Open Source | Best Software For Laser Engraving

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Best Software For Laser Engraving

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Hey, guys, David, here and welcome to another video, so I’ve made quite a few videos about different software products before. Uh, I have a couple where I compare different cat software. I also compare different slices for 3d printing and while I’ve made videos before about a certain basis software, I’ve never made, like a comprehensive comparison between the different options showing which ones are best at which kind of skill level or price point, so that’s what we’re going to cover. Today, I’m going to start off very simple with very basic software that is completely free and very easy to use and then go all the way up to like more professional software. That might not be interesting to you, but it might be like cool to know what’s all out there. Now before I get started. I want to give a big thanks to endurance laces for sponsoring this video. They make really high quality lasers. Uh, at very different wattages. So if you want to convert to your 3d printer or you want to build a dedicated laser, they have a great selection for you and their laces are very high quality as well. So if you buy 10 watt laser, you’re actually getting 10 watt of laser power and not just 10 watt power consumption or whatever marketing some other manufacturers have hooked, so make sure to check out endurance places link down below, and if you use the link below link below, you can get 50 bucks off of any order Over 150 bucks plus free DHL Express delivery. So the first software on the list is laser global and you might be familiar with it. If you have any Artur machine or any other cheap Chinese laser engraver, uh, thanks to being open source and there being easy integration. Uh, for the different, uh, manufacturers, its very popular software and it can easily control Arduino based laser machines, which are very inexpensive to build and can be quite capable as well. The way you operate, it is, you just can load whatever file you want, and the greatest thing is that you cannot just load vector files, but also image files or different things, so it’s very easy to use. So, for example, I can load this jpeg, and then I have different options in here. I can either do a line to line tracing. I can do different. Uh, dithering. That would be more for, like, uh, proper pictures, or it has a built-in vectorizer, which is actually quite capable and you can do stuff like spot removal smoothing and all of that, which is quite nice, or if you have a more simple line drawing, you can also use the centerline wouldn’t necessarily make sense for this design, But let’s say we want to do landline tracing. Uh, this looks good. We click next and we can input all the settings that we want for our laser. The engraving speed. What kind of power values we need and we can set the size in here as well. Then we click on create and get the pre-preview here of what it’s going to engrave. And if you have the laser connected, you can clerically click on the play here and it’s going to engrave and do everything all in one software, but it has kind of limitations and that is if you want to do, let’s say engraving and cutout of this business card. Then you will have to do that. In two separate operations, uh, or load in a file from a different software, but you cannot define, uh, cutout and engraving with two different power settings in the same file that is just not possible another great software. If you also want to design your own things is inkscape. A lot of you might be using that as it is a great free alternative to Adobe Illustrator and other paid vector programs. And I do not personally use this program, so I’m not great at using it. I just kind of created a sample here, but what it also has is a great extension support and there is an extension that can directly create a laser g-code from within inkscape, which is really convenient as Inkscape is a very powerful designing program and being able to directly export. Your laser designs is quite convenient, not having to go through a separate software, even like professional level software. Usually it has the design and the engraving, uh, g-code creation separately, so by opening this little, uh, extension, uh, it is quite basic, but you can set like you on off you. Just set your speed Your power settings. Uh, all of that and then set where you want to output it to now you do have to be mindful that, uh, your objects have to be converted to a path, but you can just go here path object to path, and then it will engrave it, and if we, uh, go in here and click on live preview, then it’s going to maybe crash, but well, it’s sometimes a little bit buggy. But the exported file works perfectly fine. The live preview has not been working too well for me so far. But the exporter file then works out perfectly. And you can, uh, use that to send to your relator. If you want a bit more control, though, as even in here, it is still quite basic, and you cannot do multiple layers. Now you can, of course, design multiple layers in here and then export them as individual files, and because you cannot draw it with the same coordinate system. It is quite easy to make everything line up, but you still have to run separate files and you don’t have that many options, uh, in the laser engraving space, but if you want to have more options but still work with free software, then I just recently found this program and it’s actually really good and it is laser web. Now it does not have any integrated designing, so you will have to import all of your, uh, files from a different software and it supports either DXF or jpeg images I believe, and if we import an image here, it also is quite particular with what kind of DXF images it accepts. But let’s say we try this. No, I don’t believe this one worked, but this one here, and then here you can see, uh, the preview of the file, and now it’s a bit particular in how it works, but it’s quite convenient. You can open it up here. You see the different layers you can show and hide them to see what it is, and then the ones you actually want to cut. You can drag down here and then once it is loaded down here, you can define all of your settings, and if you now have, uh, another document in here, let’s say this jpeg. Then you can also drag it, uh, down here and it will automatically create a separate layer. You can move this up and down, and now if these weren’t two completely different designs, but one of them was maybe the outline for this business card. Then you could easily cut this out and engrave everything in one file, which is quite convenient. You can also do stuff like defeat. Define the size of your machine. Then you get this little preview and you can position stuff more easily and make sure that everything is going to work out in the end and it even has integrated control. Uh, so you can connect your laser directly to this software as well and control it through it, so you don’t have to use this network software. Uh, so it is a very powerful software and, uh, has a bunch of features that I can’t go in all of them right now, but you can, as I said, work both layers, but you can also work with multiple passes and move down for the different passes and do a whole bunch of cool things. If, however, you do want even more than this, then the software that I have actually been using, Uh, is light burn now. Light burn is not free software. It does cost a little bit of money, but it’s quite inexpensive. Believe it’s like 40 bucks. Uh, one-time purchase. So it’s not that much and, uh, the reason why I like it so much is because, uh, it has all the features that laser Web has. But in addition, you can also do some basic designs in here like you can. You can draw little rectangles and add text and whatnot, which is maybe not where I do most of my design, but if I just want like to locate something, I just can quickly draw that location. Uh, rectangle in here, cut that out on the laser and then have something to locate my other designs in and it also, of course, supports layers here that you can move around to change and have different settings for the different layers, but it also supports a cutting library where you can predefine profiles with all the settings for your different materials and then just kind of click one button to apply it if you work with many different materials. This is really convenient now. There are also versions of this where you can directly control your laser with it. However, these costs more and it’s only for specific controllers, But if you’re using one of those controls, then this is, of course, even more convenient, having it directly integrated in here, But I just saved the g-code here and then used whatever software I use to control the laser directly in case. This is still not good enough for you, and you want a truly professional solution and in CAD your work with the likes of solidworks then while I have not personally used that Draftsight is one of the software to beat. It is from the same family as solidworks and has basically any feature you could ever imagine and probably also takes a lot of time to learn. But as you can see down here, it is also quite expensive, but if you work in professional settings where you maybe have like a laser cutter that can cut out metal pieces and whatnot, then you likely will use one of these software as you can. Have it connected to your solidworks and do really advanced things in here that would not be possible in any of the other software, but for any of us hobbyists, this is definitely overkill and with that said, I don’t want to make this video any longer than it has to be. All of the software is, of course, going to be linked down below in the description. And you can check it out, and if you have any other software that you use for laser engraving, leave a comment down below, and I’ll check it out and other people can check it out as well. And if you use one of these, maybe leave a comment down below as well so people can see, uh. What kind of software is used a lot And what maybe some of the things are that I haven’t mentioned in this video. So that’s it for this video. Make sure to like comment. Subscribe all that good stuff. And I’ll see you next time.