View Full Version : Direct output from CAD software to a laser

Mike Lysov
10-29-2013, 5:27 AM
Hi guys,

I want to see if I can get rid of CorelDraw and job control software for my laser and use CAD software to draw and output all jobs from it through a laser printer driver directly to my laser. However I cannot find any CAD software that can do it.

I have tried the following packages

1) Draftsight - free to run and seems to be good for drawing but I cannot find settings to change working space size(to make it the same as my laser bed) and printing setup seems to be very complicated(I cannot even find where to setup a custom page size).

2) TurboCAD deluxe - not free(about $140) but seems to come with all the same problems as DraftSight

3) QCAD - free to install but it seems it is not free to run. It has some extras that are running in trial just for a few minutes. It seems that printing may be one of them.
I could find where to change page size for both drawing and printing and I could output my drawing to my laser. However my laser does not move and beeps when it supposed to start cutting. It normally indicates that there is something wrong with data received from the driver. Print preview in QCAD seems to show a correct shape in the colour as it is supposed to be. It is just a circle with blue(cut colour) outline 0.05mm thick and placed in the middle of the laser bed.

Does anybody know how to set up any of these three packages for direct laser output or can recommend another CAD software(free or up to $200) that can be used instead.

The printer driver works from CorelDraw so it is not a problem with it.

Dave Sheldrake
10-29-2013, 6:43 AM
Draftsite can have it's "new" template changed Mike, in general full cad packages have no page size as such (the model page can be from millimetres to miles) With AutoCAD (pretty much the same just expensive) I have a fixed template that has the working size of my machines drawn as a rectangle.
Before sending it to the laser type

Z (sets zoom)

E (extents, the page will zoom to fit everything drawn inside the screen)

Of the 3 Draftsite is the best by far (it's a solidworks product) with turbocad causing some compression issues.

Have you tried AutoCAD? a 30 day fully functional trial is free. (ok so not cheap to buy afterwards for sure)



Michael Hunter
10-29-2013, 7:03 AM
When I first got my laser I tried TurboCAD Professional - with mixed results.
Took a while to set up viewports and "printing" page sizes properly, but it is certainly possible.
Cutting was fine, but engraving was weird as it would find invisible things to engrave.

Nearly 10 years on and I still use TurboCAD for some types of drawings, but find it MUCH easier to import the result into Corel for lasering.

Mannetjie Botha
10-29-2013, 8:50 AM
Hi Just like to add with my Redsail laser and its Laser Mate software, all my drawings are done in Autocad and Laser Mate has got a driver for Autocad so that I can click on the laser icon within Autocad and my drawing goes directly to Laser Mate no problem at all. My drawing size in Autocad is set at the lasers cutting size witch is 700 x 500 mm and the artwork comes out perfectly without having to adjust any thing at all. Works like a charm every time. Autocad is the way to go and the extra cost pays for itself in no time at all Regards Mannetjie

Mike Lysov
10-30-2013, 1:56 AM
Does AutoCad package cost at least $1500 or there are much cheaper versions available?

Rodne Gold
10-30-2013, 4:41 AM
I have been in this business a long time , doing all sorts of lasering from industrial to decorative. There really is nothing that cant be done in Corel (however , I will agree that Autocad is better for precise construction)
I have used autocad a lot right from the very first version , an I really think it is a package with a very steep learning curve and is expensive.

Dave Sheldrake
10-30-2013, 11:09 AM
I agree fully Rod, AutoCAD has a hell of a learning curve but long term it's worth it (worse still is when I have to upgrade every year to the latest version). The main reason I use it over other packages is the lasers I have, most of the inbound drawings for stuff like the Vytek and Mitsu come in DWG format and the customer expects the outbound files to have the AutoCAD signature. Draftsite is near enough the same but is free (for non commercial use) as they licence a lot of the compression algorithms from autodesk.

For me AutoCAD isn't really a choice I make, it's made for me by my clients.

One big drawback is the amount of stuff it has that will never be used on a laser (at risk of doing a Gates 64k memory limit) dynamic blocks and custom hatch patterns are complex and useless for cutting machines for example.

A cut down version that only has the 30 or so required commands would be great but I can't see autodesk doing it any time soon :(



Dan Hintz
10-30-2013, 12:29 PM
AutoCAD LT? Or if you want free (but AutoCAD compatible), see my sig...

Mike Spease
11-07-2013, 11:52 AM
I use Autocad as well and I have an Epilog Legend 32 laser. I use the vector only software that they provide. I have to set my block in which I will work as a 32x32 square. My bed is 32x20. I set the work at the top corner which starts the cut at the home position. I did not see where the OP stated what laser he was using. He might try drawing a square the size of his table. Then place his work in the top left corner. It might work for him