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Thread: Best Software for Laser Designs

  1. #1

    Best Software for Laser Designs

    Looking for the best software to use for Laser cutting/etching. I heard CorelDraw is preferred. Any others?
    Also, what’s the best export file to create? I’m buying a Boss 1630 RD Works v8 I believe it comes with.
    Last edited by John Nicolosi; 06-08-2018 at 6:23 PM.

  2. #2
    Any vector editor should work.

    Inkscape is the free option, Adobe Illustrator one of the other notable commercial ones.

    Output format depends on the software controlling the laser. Some of them function as a printer driver, others accept an EPS, PDF, or SVG.

  3. #3
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    Corel Draw, unless you want issues. Lots of support here and other places.
    Retired Guy- Central Iowa. , Ray Fine 20w Galvo Fiber laser , LightObject 40w CO2 Laser and Chiller, MakerGear M2 3D Printer. Qe60+ Vinyl cutter. Automation Tech Chinese 6040 Router running on Mach3 and UC400ETH

  4. #4
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    In the Chinese laser world, most people design with one program and use a different one to control the laser. RDWorks is free and okay for controlling the laser but is not very powerful when it comes to creating designs. Some guys did an English translation of the Chinglish manual that will be helpful if you want to use RDWorks. However, there is a more powerful piece of software that will work with the Ruida controller (among others), called Lightburn. It's $80 for the version that works with Ruida controllers and comes with a free 30 day unlimited trial. I highly recommend it.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by John Noell View Post
    In the Chinese laser world, most people design with one program and use a different one to control the laser. RDWorks is free and okay for controlling the laser but is not very powerful when it comes to creating designs. Some guys did an English translation of the Chinglish manual that will be helpful if you want to use RDWorks. However, there is a more powerful piece of software that will work with the Ruida controller (among others), called Lightburn. It's $80 for the version that works with Ruida controllers and comes with a free 30 day unlimited trial. I highly recommend it.
    Got it. I planed on using RD Works just to print the file I created on a Corel Draw type program. Is lightburn a similar program to Corel ?

  6. #6
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    Lightburn is quickly developing and providing tools that provide options with graphic and layout BUT it is not even close to Corel in terms of graphic and layout tools.

    Corel is popular with laser owners because it isn't like Adobe Illustrator that now requires an annual subscription. Most ebay lasers come with a pirated copy of Corel 12. There are lots of free YouTube tutorials for Corel and Inkscape. I find Inkscape very un-intuitive to use but still haven't moved to Corel.

    If you are going to buy Corel, you need to buy the full version. Not the student/teacher/home version. Those versions are a limited version that does not provide all of the tools to interface well with the RDWorks plugin.
    700mm x 500mm Ke Hui KH-7050 Laser
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  7. #7
    I use three programs pretty much daily, and each one has their good and bad points...

    I bought a DOS version of Casmate 27 years ago, and still keep a Win98 computer going so I can use it. A few years later I got a Win3.1 'Lite' version with a new machine. To this day it's basic trace routine is wonderful compared to Corel's and Gravostyle's tracing programs. Speaking of Corel and Gravostyle, those are the other 2 programs I use... Casmate also does lots of things I've yet to figure out how to do with my other 2 programs; a tangential entry-exit routine (start and stop points cross each other), a perfect male/female cut 'n' fit inlay routine, many 'distortion' and shadow routines...

    Corel is my basic go-to program, Gravostyle is a bit cumbersome but it's needed to run all of my tool machines so I have to use it -- it does do a few things much better than Corel, like line offsetting, Corel's contour tool can be finicky, and complicated stuff sometimes will take several minutes, if not just crash the program, Gravostyle will do the same complicated job almost instantly...

    As for Chinese laser programs, those are strictly 'printer drivers', about the ONLY editing I'll do whatsover in my Lasersoft or EZcad is simple resizing and moving. Everything else gets done in Corel first...
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  8. #8
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    Most people who get serious about laser and design work will go with either the Adobe products (Photoshop and Illustrator) or Corel Draw. Both have their good and bad points; but less differences than they used to have.

    The Western machines (Epilog, Trotec, ULS) offer better support for Corel; but as others have mentioned you'll be exporting everything to RD works before lasering anyways so that doesn't matter for you.

    I'd simply pick whichever one you have more experience with and feel most comfortable with, and can find the best pricing on.
    60W, Boss Laser 1630
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  9. #9
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    Oh, and Lightburn has some real potential. But it would replace RD works as the software you use to output to the laser; it would not replace the Adobe or Corel product you'd use to make high quality designs.
    60W, Boss Laser 1630
    75W, Epilog Legend 24EX
    Jet Left Tilting table saw and Jet 18" Band saw
    Adobe Creative suite and Laserworks 8

  10. #10
    Awesome info...I think Iím going to buy Corel soon.
    Just weighing out Boss Laser or Thunder Laser.

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