Laser Processing Software
To design graphic files for laser processing, there’s a myriad of software programs to choose from. The question is which one?
Each individual software program has its own design and output capabilities as well as its own limitations. On top of that, every program has its own learning curve – from idiot proof to user friendly, super technical to strictly boffin only.
To choose a program that’s right for your needs, work out what your design and output requirements for laser processing are. Once you have decided on what you want, do some research, ask questions and get the necessary answers to make sure the software you choose fully supports your laser cutting, marking and/or engraving processes.
Software programs used to design graphic files for lasers can be divided into a range of categories. First of these is text software for simple text-based design. This can be answered in a word - Microsoft® Word! (OK, two words...)
Graphic Design and Layout
Graphic design and layout software is strong on visual references including scales or rulers and grids. These are used to assist with layouts and positioning graphics either created by the software or imported from another design program. Some of the most common graphic design and layout tools for laser processing include:
- CorelDRAW from Corel™
- Illustrator® from Adobe®
- Inkscape - A free, open-source design tool
Photo editing programs are used for enhancing photographs and other images prior to laser engraving or marking. The images created are typically imported into one of the graphic design and layout programs listed above for final layout ready for laser processing.
Among the most popular photo editing software programs are:
- Photoshop® from Adobe®
- GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) - A free, donation supported program
- 1-Touch Laser Photo™ from Universal Laser Systems, Inc. – FREE TRIAL
CAD/Engineering Design Software
Laser processing that requires very high dimensional accuracy normally uses files created by CAD and other engineering design software. This is especially the case with machining operations including laser cutting, scribing and drilling.
There are a considerable number of programs to choose from in this area including:
- AutoCAD® from Autodesk® - A free 3-year subscription is available for students
- BobCAD and BobCAM from BobCAD-CAM
- CATIA™ from Dassault Systemes
- Creo from PTC (Formerly known as Pro/ENGINEER and Wildfire)
- DraftSight™ from Dassault Systemes
- Fusion 360™ from Autodesk® - A free 3-year subscription is available for students
- Inventor® from Autodesk® - A free 3-year subscription is available for students
- Mastercam® from CNC Software, Inc.
- Rhinoceros® from McNeel
- SketchUp from Trimble - Free for personal use
- SolidWorks® from Dassault Systemes
- TurboCAD® from IMSI / Design
Serialisation and Coding Software
Serialisation and coding software is often provided as part of the original laser system’s integral software. Such software is used for marking serial numbers, lot codes barcodes, 2D codes and other graphics including company and compliance logos.
If your system lacks a serialisation and coding capability, BarTender® from Seagull Scientific is one such option.
Some laser system manufacturer’s software can fulfil several of the functions that specialist software provides.
Our product partner FOBA’s MarkUS software is a case in point. FOBA MarkUS is an intuitive graphic design and high performance laser control software. With visual user guidance (colour codings, flexible and floating toolbars and common icons) it can create high quality and precise laser marking through an easy-to-use software interface.
For details of FOBA MarkUS software and the FOBA range of laser marking systems and Universal Laser’s laser systems and software including 1-Touch Laser Photo™, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org ™ If you need help and advice on choosing software to work with your particular laser system, please don’t hesitate to contact us.