LaserGRBL is one of the best Windows software for image Laser Engraving. LaserGRBL is able to load any image, pictures and logo and send to your laser engrave with few click.
Unlike other GUI, LaserGRBL it is specifically developed for use with hobbist laser cutter and engraver and could be a good free and easy alternative to picengrave, benbox, T2laser, lightburn 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 any engraver based on Grbl v0.9 and Grbl v1.1 standards.
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€ – 300€).
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)
Here is a quick evaluation of some brand (all very valid) according to some parameters.
Easy: how simple it is to assemble and use. Robust: quality of the materials used and the technical choices to make the machine robust. Tech: how much the brand invests in technological innovations. Laser: availability of more laser options and models. Price: average price of the middle-segment model (5.5w optical power) 40×40 machine. Support: availability of material (guides, videos) and support channels (email, website, facebook)
is one of the best brand for technological innovation: they are always at the forefront in designing and putting on the market new and more powerful models with innovative features in each new model
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 etc…
they have limit switch sensors to allow repeatable positioning through the Homing procedure
they provide a good after-sale support via facebook, email and support site.
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
they have a lot of laser module with different power 2W/5W/5.5W (optical power) and different lens options that suit all needs
Aufero is a new product line made by Ortur: different name, same quality and support.
Aufero products are generally cheaper than the equivalent Ortur product but this is not reflected in the quality, on the contrary, thanks to a general redesign, Aufero products are able to combine quality and cost-effectiveness of materials.
Aufero also offers a smaller, pre-assembled (and cheaper) engraver called “Aufero Laser 1” useful for those who want to get started with less expense.
Atomstack focus it product on solidity and laser module innovation: It is among the machines with the most powerful and advanced laser module ever! I recommend their product because:
strong and robust frame
powerful laser modules
easy to assemble
easy to use
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 flagship model of Atomstack is the S10 / A10 Pro which is equipped with a 10W optical power laser (most powerful laser ever!) capable of cutting up to 20mm of wood and which is equipped with an offline controller to be able to operate without a computer.
Atomstack also offer a cheaper engraver called A5 PRO with good quality laser module. You can see my review here:
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 details that make it particularly comfortable to use.
I suggest Sculpfun because it has the best price/quality ratio, here you can find my review.
In 2022 Sculpfun release a new model called Sculpfun S9 that use a proprietary “beam shaping technology” (a lens system) which produces a more concentrated and deeper focused laser beam, which allows for a cleaner and deeper cut, up to 15mm.
Waiting for my personal test here is the video of the test carried out by the manufacturer.
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!
Longer RAY5 is the first laser engraver I personally tested with a full functionally offline controller. Micro-SD slot & touch-screen give you the ability to prepare your job with LaserGRBL and than execute it offline, without needs of connected PC.
This way you can use your PC to prepare another job, watching a film, or simply shutting it down. This is very useful especially if you have more than one engraver, and you want to use them together.
For the rest, Longer RAY5 is a solid and functional machine. Obviously 100% compatible with LaserGRBL and other engraving software. Here is my video review.
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.
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.
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.
Their production includes air-cooled and water-cooled laser modules, magnetic quick attach and release systems, and many more!
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).
Elettronics (power supply, laser diode, stepper motor & motor driver)
Hardware (rails, linear bearing)
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.