Some graphics tools and Software for Laser / Routers

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Some graphics tools and Software for Laser / Routers

New postby saboo on Mon May 21, 2018 3:25 pm

I have always wanted an automatic way to cut accurate ribs and plane parts. The cost in TIME of learning new software such as CAD was / is an obstacle. If you have an existing set of plans or scanned PDF file it is not always easy, or quick to get a file prepared to cut or route out the parts.

Things are changing. As I find possible helper programs to aid this project, I will post them in this thread.

The first is software to generate G-Code for some laser cutters or engravers.


This next is used within the above, and was written by a prof at Dal. It can be used as a stand alone tool.


LaserWeb4 / CNCWeb

In the past I have always written my own G-Code to drive my router and some CNC machines that I built for clients. That is fine if the code is going to be used for 100s of runs making parts. In making kits of plane parts, it is mostly for 1 or 2 or at most a half dozen runs of parts. So the code to make a set of parts has to be made by an efficient process.

On Tuesday the 22nd of May I visited a place selling Chinese made laser cutters. Unfortunately I don't speak Mandarin or Cantonese, so the conversation was not very enlightening. I suspect my search will take me back to BangGood, AliExpress, or eBay.

28 May 2018
Many of the entry level Chinese laser engraver / cutter units, use a similar board. The software that is used on the computer is not always the most user friendly or capable. This is an alternate software to run the K40 type Chinese units. ... background

....... to be continued
Last edited by saboo on Mon May 28, 2018 10:21 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Some graphics tools for Laser / Routers

New postby bdg on Mon May 21, 2018 5:11 pm

Looking forward to learning more, Jim! What do you use for a laser? Can this be fitted on an existing 3D printer???

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Re: Some graphics tools for Laser / Routers

New postby LordGarak on Thu May 24, 2018 5:12 pm

Fusion 360 is free for hobbyist and can generate tool paths for lasers, plasma tables, routers, mills, lathes, etc...

There is a bit of a learning curve to it, but its worth putting the time into it. Lots of videos on Youtube and on the fusion website.

We have a small CO2 laser and a big CNC router at work(Discovery Centre). We actually use Corel draw with the laser. Fusion 360 for everything else.

Off the shelf CO2 lasers are pretty expensive. There are some cheap direct from china lasers out there(~$1000). With a few upgrades they can keep up with laser cutters 5x the cost. The Halifax makerspace has a nice little full spectrum laser. Membership provides access to it. I've stepped away from the makerspace so I'm not currently up on the details.

I've been tinkering with building my own CO2 laser cutter but its a project that I never seem to get back to. I've got the laser tube, optics, motors, electronics, etc... Just haven't build a frame yet. Currently I'm more focused on getting my big manual milling machine up and running.

LED based lasers are somewhat limited in what they can cut. Thin cardboard is pretty much it. There might be come higher powered ones out there now.

A 40W CO2 laser can cut wood, acrylic, delrin, foamboard up to 1/4" thick.
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