Control and Design Software
There is a myriad of different programs for controlling and design purposes. This article will touch on some of these applications and their functions.
Control Software is specific to certain laser controllers and DSP’s and is primarily used to control the laser. Most control software has some design or editing function and some, like LightBurn, have fairly advanced design functions built-in. Some people who use these advanced control applications design in the control app without even using a 3rd party design suite.
Thunder Laser uses the de facto standard DSP controllers made by Ruida. The control software that ships with Ruida DSP’s is RDWorks. LightBurn is a replacement control software for Ruida (and others) that is far superior to RDWorks but is a paid solution. Luckily every Thunder Laser purchased through Thunder Laser USA comes with a free LightBurn license!
Design Software is not natively designed to control your laser and is independent of the laser control software. The typical workflow is to design in the design software you prefer, export the file in a format that your laser control software will accept, and import the file into your control software to send the job to the laser.
These programs like Inkscape, CorelDRAW, illustrator, etc… Can have custom color palettes so your layers are already formatted correctly.
There are also a number of macros and plug-ins to help automate (or at least streamline) the workflow. So essentially anything that can be printed or plotted can be sent to the laser.
Additionally, you could use Photograv or other photo manipulation software specific to the laser industry but they are very expensive, don’t always do a perfect job, and you don’t really know what it’s doing. Learning what settings do what and how it affects the outcome is a valuable lesson that can be implemented from here on out.