Author Topic: What software to use with my cheapo laser engraver / CNC?  (Read 3532 times)

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Offline ncot_tech

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What software to use with my cheapo laser engraver / CNC?
« on: November 05, 2021, 02:30:00 pm »
I have one of those cheapo Chinese laser engraver / CNC machines. One of those "3018 CNC Engraving" things.

Anyone know the workflow to make things with it? Like, if I have an idea in my head and I want to 3D print it, I fire up Fusion 360, make the part, export it, put it into Cura to slice it and then send the gcode to my printer. What's the equivalent for these cheapo CNC machines? I know the end step is "load grbl file into Lasergrbl and press the go button" but nobody seems to have a sensible first part.

How would I, for example, get a vector image and turn that into something I can send to the machine to engrave? Firing up Fusion seems like a bit of an overkill when the real laser cutters just seem to accept photos/drawings and it looks like a five minute job.

I am aware there's a reason the real machines cost 10x more than these cheapo things, but still ...  ???
 

Online Kean

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Re: What software to use with my cheapo laser engraver / CNC?
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2021, 02:44:49 pm »
I use Fusion360 for complex parts, but for many years before than and still now for simple things I use software called CamBam (not free, but trial availble).
If you want something free and simple, then I believe Inkscape can generate G-code.  Probably good enough for simple engraving.
 

Offline Doctorandus_P

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Re: What software to use with my cheapo laser engraver / CNC?
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2021, 06:51:58 pm »
I have a home-built CNC machine.
I put GRBL into a "Blue Pill", then added 74ls244 buffers (I had some lying around) and these drive the opto couplers in Nema 23 stepper motor drivers.

Schematic is pretty simple and it's a one-off, so I just soldered it on matrix board.

On the software side I use bCNC.
bCNC can read some vector formats (It can read DXF, and maybe also SVG). My CNC is not a laser thing, but a mill / router. with bCNC I can do multiple passes on different depths and it also has post processing options for adding tabs and vector sorting.

There are also plugins for Inkscape that can generate G-code output.
 

Offline beanflying

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Re: What software to use with my cheapo laser engraver / CNC?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2021, 01:45:28 am »
Depending on the firmware and board you have fitted look at the following freebies for a play.

Candle https://github.com/Denvi/Candle

GRBLGru https://www.grblgru.com/

Universal GCode sender (UGS) https://winder.github.io/ugs_website/
Coffee, Food, R/C and electronics nerd in no particular order. Also CNC wannabe, 3D printer and Laser Cutter Junkie and just don't mention my TEA addiction....
 


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