New to K40 and this forum... where to start? Are there stickies anywhere?

Looking to jump in and purchase a K40 (and possible mods) after having worked with an Epilog for a long time at the since-defunct TechShop makerspaces.

I’m new to the forum, and looking for any stickies or pinned posts somewhere that run down the fundamentals and things I’d need to know right from the start.

I don’t seem to be finding those (or maybe aren’t looking in the right place).

Does someone mind pointing me in the right direction? Thanks in advance.


Look around here:


Hi @pedrohead, welcome among us !

K40 is the cheapest way to go into laser cutting. The first things you want is to choose the software you will be happy with, that will command the choice for a controller upgrade.
I suggest you try first Scorch option K40 whisperer which is based on a reverse engeneering with the advantage to keep the built-in controller.

With a controller change which is now easy to do, you can go for more sofisticated softwares:

You can buy Lightburn. (Compatible all usual boards including Gerbil, but original)
Or go for Open source solutions, Visicut, Laserweb,( compatible Smoothie, C3D mini).

2 Firmwares possible, Smoothieware better for vectors cut or Grbl better for engrave run both on Smoothie board, C3D mini , easy to swap one to other by copying firmware file on SD card and reboot.

Other mods are to improve security (door switch), or efficiency (air assist). Or make your life easier by organizing the internal space to have your material at the focal distance, or reducing burn marks (honeycomb bed).


thanks stephane,
i already have and know corel draw from my epilog time, so i’ll continue to use that to design and i assume use k40 whisperer to do the actual burning.

i’m definitely interested in air assist to improve performance and reduce burn, and something to give me more work area if the honeycomb bed at the right focal length gives me that.

are there handy guides or links within the community here that i can learn more about the air assist and honeycomb bed? thx.

My advice is this: if you know CorelDraw, use it. I have a stock K40 and it works beautifully.

Additionally, the best investment you can make is in optics. A correctly focused K40 is a surprisingly powerful tool.


I don’t use CorelDraw, but this isn’t rocket science. If you can use CorelDraw, then learning Inkscape should not be a big hurdle. There are lots of YouTube videos and help docs if you get stuck. Google is your friend. Bonus: Inkscape freaking rocks! I use it for a ton of other stuff now. It is my go-to for my business graphics.

Then there is K40 Whisperer. I get it if you like CorelDraw and don’t want to change. But don’t install the hacked crap that comes with most K40s. I don’t trust such things to not have malware. Use whatever copy you already have. I think you might be able to export in a format that K40 Whisperer understands (svg, dxf, or gcode).

Then, if you really decide to get hacking, and you install new board (e.g. Cohesion3d’s drop-in replacement board for the K40, or some other Smoothieboard) then you’ll unlock raster engraving (PWM control of the laser). I bought one for this purpose and I’m looking forward to setting it up (sadly, it is still sitting unopened in its shipping box).

Maybe a dumb question… but can you print to the K40 right from CorelDraw? I had assumed you had to use the K40 Whisperer or InkScape in order to print. Is that not correct?

Depending on your version of Corel, there is a free plugin and driver called CorelLaser that may work. And does just that.

However for control of the laser I’d personally say move to a new controller such as Gerbil from, around $100 and then use LightBurn. Sadly it’s not free either, $40 but well worth it. You’ll get better control, far better results with engraving, etc., and likely much happier with the K40. Just food for thought. Good luck…

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Just found this old topic for unrelated reasons. In case someone else searching for K40 stickies lands here, for K40 in particular we now have a whole #k40:intro category (also linked in the top bar) which is more extensive than we would put into a set of stickies but is intended to address the same need. :relaxed: