Laser engravers are expensive pieces of equipment, but you can always find do-it-yourself (DIY) engravers, which are more affordable, and you can even find instructions on how to build one yourself. However, DIY engravers don't usually come with dedicated software or they come with some very basic control utilities. If you have such a machine, you can turn to LaserGRBL for better control. It brings you closer to what professional engraving software should be, thanks to its ability to stream GCode path to Arduino. The software gives you the possibility of engraving anything from logos to images on wood, plastic leather and other surfaces your engraver may support, and it lets you do it exactly the way you want to, without encountering any difficulties.
Before you go anywhere near a laser engraver, make sure you've taken the proper safety precautions. Always wear eye protection around lasers, even low-power ones, to avoid injury and even blindness.
Downloading and installing LaserGRBL is a simple operation, which shouldn't take more than a minute to complete. It works on all modern Windows versions, as well as some older ones, and it doesn't ask for any special tools or services. You will obviously need a laser engraver, connected through Serial or USB, and you have to make sure it supports power modulation through S command.
Although some experience with laser engravers is definitely a big plus, figuring out how LaserGRBL works is quite easy. It's essentially a simple matter of loading an image and clicking a button to start the connected engraver, but there is much more you can do in the meantime. When you load a picture, the software will turn it into a raster file and display a wide range of import options, which can influence the final outcome of the engraving process.
You can change various visual parameters in the imported picture, convert it to line-to-line tracing, 1bit BW dithering, vectorize it or turn it into a centerline trace. Furthermore, the software lets you make a few settings to the laser's speeds and the area it has to work in. Once your picture is imported and your configurations complete, the raster will appear in a preview area in the largest part of the interface, and you may start the engraving process right away.
LaserGRBL gives you a good degree of control over your engraver. You can start it right away, but more important, you can stop it at a moment's notice and resume it just as easily if you need to. What's more, the software gives you manual control over the engraver. You can type in individual commands and add them to a queue, on the main interface, and have the program execute them in order. Besides the fact that it indicates the laser's position with a blue cross in the image preview, the software also displays success or fail codes for each command as it processes them.
If you are an enthusiast with your own laser engraver, then LaserGRBL is not something that should be missing from your toolbox.
You can control a DIY laser engraver more accurately. The software places a wide range of configuration options at your disposal. You can just let it engrave your imported image or take manual control.
There are no obvious drawbacks to address.
LaserGRBL Editor’s Review Rating
LaserGRBL has been reviewed by Frederick Barton on 21 Mar 2019. Based on the user interface, features and complexity, Findmysoft has rated LaserGRBL 5 out of 5 stars, naming it Essential