WHAT IS LASERGRBL

LaserGRBL is one of the best Windows GCode streamer for DIY Laser Engraver. LaserGRBL is able to load and stream GCode path to arduino, as well engrave images, pictures and logo with internal conversion tool.

Unlike other GUI, LaserGRBL it is specifically developed for use with hobbist laser cutter and engraver. In order to use all the features your engraver must supports power modulation through S command.

With image engraving (raster to gcode convertion) LaserGRBL could be a good free and easy alternative to picengrave, benbox, T2laser for who don’t need more then a simple and effective tool.

I have written it to use with my own engraver, and I like to share it with everyone who needs. LaserGRBL is compatible with Grbl v0.9 and Grbl v1.1

DOWNLOAD

Last stable version: latest
All versions: github.com/arkypita/LaserGRBL

LaserGRBL is free and opensource, but it’s development require time and money.
Do you like LaserGRBL? Support development with your donation!

Support LaserGRBL with donation

FEATURES

BUY

LaserGRBL is a free open-source software not related with any brand. We not sell Laser engraver, but we can suggest some solutions for all budgets. Looking for a discount code?

LASER DIODE ENGRAVING

What laser engraver I should buy? Can you reccomand one?

For those who want to start in the world of laser engraving I recommend a laser diode engraver. They are easier to use, do not require special calibrations, can be easily assembled in a few minutes and can be purchased with a very limited budget (150€ – 250€).

With a 20W (5.5 optical power) laser diode you will have the possibility to easily engrave on plastic, wood, leather, cardboard and to cut paper, cardboard, leather.

It is also possible to cut plywood up to 4/5mm thick, but if cutting is your main job better orient yourself on more powerful CO2 machines (read more).

The laser modules generally supplied with laser engraver are heavily pumped to obtain the highest powers, for this reason I strongly advise against letting them work for long periods at maximum power, otherwise they burn quickly. This recommendation applies more or less to all manufacturers. (read more)

WHY ORTUR

I suggest Ortur products for this reasons:

  • they take safety very seriously with lot of unique feature: active position protection via G-shock sensor, active connection control (stop engraving if PC is disconnected or crash) , exposure limitation that turn off laser if there is no movement for a long time (prevent burning holes in your table or start a “garage fire”), active fire control.
  • they have limit switch sensors to allow repeatable positioning through the Homing procedure
  • they are always at the forefront in designing and putting on the market new and more powerful models with innovative features
  • they provide a good after-sale support via facebook, email and support site.

In addition their products comes full of accessories, with good documentation, assembly and use guide, answers to the most frequently asked questions also with a series of video tutorials.

If you want to update your laser engraver with a more powerful unit they also sell spare laser module with different power options: 7W/15W/20W (electrical power).

Ortur also offers a series of smaller, pre-assembled (and cheaper) engraver, like the excellent Aufero Laser 1, useful for those who want to get started with less expense.

WHY

Discount code available (read more)

Atomstack focus it product on solidity and safety.
In fact, their engraver is made entirely of metal, this gives it strength and reliability.

The fact that it is made entirely of metal makes it more stable, this means that the machine will stand still on the table without having to screw it solidly to it (as with other machines that move when the laser shakes). Furthermore, the control board is also shielded in a metal container.

The laser is fixed focus, but the machine features an intelligent slide system to quickly adjust the focus by moving the distance between the laser module and the work piece.

The protective glass mounted in front of the laser makes it safe to use even without wearing safety glasses. This make the engraver more convenient to use in environments where several people work (always paying attention since it is a laser!).

atomstack laser shield
Atomstack laser shield

NEWS!!! In 2021 Atomstack released a new version of their engraver called Atomstack A5 PRO with improved laser module. You can see my review here:

The new Atomstack A5 PRO (2021)
Atomstack A5 (2020) 20W – 410mm x 400mm

WHY SCULPFUN

SculpFun is a relatively new brand in this product segment, and I was lucky enough to be able to test one of their engraver. I found the product extremely solid and well designed, with some particularities that make it particularly comfortable to use.

Here you can find my video review.

Why FoxAlien

FoxAlien brand is a little more expensive than Ortur, Atomstack and Sculpfun, but the product is of a higher class. The double motor on the Y axis guarantees faster and always accurate positioning, the cable-carrying chains ensure that the cables move without the risk of ending up under the laser beam.

FoxAlien is very simple to assemble because it comes mostly pre-assembled.

The solidity of the structure (we are talking about very thick mechanical parts, up to 8mm for acrylic parts) make it an excellent purchase for those wishing to expand it with more powerful lasers or small milling head.

The double motor and the solidity of the frame make it possible to use this engraver at speeds up to 20’000mm / min and accelerations of 6’000mm / sec ^ 2 without losing precision. This speeds are impossible with other cheaper engraver.

Finally the stepper motor has a resolution of 160 steps per millimeter: the double of the resolution of most competitor engraver!

Comgrow – Comgo Z1

Discount code available (read more)

Comgrow, a brand famous in the DIY world for its CNCs and 3D printers, has recently introduced this brand new laser engraver to its product range.

Comgo Z1

I got to try this engraver and I can tell you that I found it fantastic. The frame is entirely made of metal, with a nice colors game between black and blue.

The laser module is ultimately one of the most powerful I have ever tried, with a very thin and concentrated focus. Here is a compare that show the power of this laser.

OTHER SUPPORTED BRAND

LaserGRBL support a wide range of laser engraver based on the open “GRBL” firmware. This list include some brand that is compatible with LaserGRBL (by user feedback).

EleksMaker 

EleksMaker A3 – 300mm x 400mm – 3.5W optical power (~10W electrical power)

EleksMaker is a brand made by makers for makers.
They have a very nice and particular design and in addition to laser engraver they produce a lot of tools and accessories for DIY. They have a very informative site and quality after-sales support service.

Their laser diodes are sold claiming TRUE optical power, so 3.5W laser equals about 10-15W of competitors modules.

Eleksmaker support was not tested by me, but it was reported to be compatible by the LaserGRBL user community.

BETTER QUALITY MODULES

If you need laser modules for continuous use, I do not recommend using modules that come with your markers, either those that are cheap on ebay, amazon, aliexpress, bangood, gearbest … All these modules are designed for occasional use and deteriorate quickly if used at maximum power for a long time.

There are a couple of very good sellers who do small productions but of the highest quality. They are all modules made by hand according to the best standards, all tested one by one and that can also provide personalized answers for any needs.

Discount code available (read more)

Opt Lasers is what I call “the Ferrari of lasers”. They offer a wide range of products that fits the needs of any professional who wants a high quality laser system on their CNC.

6W optical power (equivalent to 20W)

Laser modules are available ranging from optical power from 2W up to 15W (equivalent to about 85W of electrical power). These are products made from solid aluminum blocks, individually CNC machined, universal mounting systems are available for easy connection to existing machines.

15W laser head, mounted on professional CNC system (equivalent to 85W)

Their production includes air-cooled and water-cooled laser modules, magnetic quick attach and release systems, and many more!

https://optlasers.com

Endurance laser is a Russian laboratory that provides modules of 5-10-15-20 W (blue light) 15-25-30W (infrared) and DPSS laser modules, as well as multi-laser combined system.

They also provide air nozzle and air-assist system and many types of accessory.

https://endurancelasers.com

CO2 LASER ENGRAVING

Laser diode engraver is suitable for small workloads. If you need fast engraving, cutting thick materials you should consider purchasing a 40W or higher power engraver.

This kind of power is currently not achievable with diode technology, so you have to choose a CO2 laser machine. These machines are generally more expensive, larger, and more complex to use and most of them use their own control software.

Prices can vary between 400€ to 4000€ based on laser power and size of the worktop.

In this case I advise you to choose the most suitable product for you by evaluating shipping costs and product feedback.

STEEL LASER ENGRAVING

Laser diode engraver are not the best tool for metal engraving, even if with some tricks you can make some small incisions (using the most powerful modules).

However, if your goal is to engrave metals, you need to choose a fiber laser engraver.

50W Fiber Laser

Starting from 50W a fiber laser engraver is able to engrave and also carve most common metals.

HOW DOES IT WORK

Basically there are 4 elements talking between them

Personal computer talk to Arduino board via USB in a language called G-Code

G0 X10 Y10 (Fast move to position X10, Y10)
M3         (Turn on Laser)
G1 X20 Y10 (Linear move to X20, Y10)

G-Code is the common name for the most widely used numerical control (NC) programming language. Basic command set include G0 (rapid positioning) G1 (linear movement) G2 and G3 (clockwise and counter-clockwise arcs).

Arduino UNO board with Grbl firmware translate this commands to stepper motor pulses, direction control, laser power modulation.

Motor driver transform low level TTL signal from Arduino, to high-power signals for stepper motor.

Wanna build your own laser engraver? Follow our guides!