I got an inexpensive (unbranded) 20W q-switched fiber laser engraver recently. I did not much care for the EzCAD2 software that came with it and decided to write my own instead. I wrote some command-line based software to allow Beijing JCZ lasers to be controlled in an open/cross platform manner.
Write-up here: Bryce Schroeder: Fiber Laser Engravers
This is very early stage and experimental. I am looking for collaborators to provide more data (I only have one of these lasers.) Help with the coding and documentation would also be appreciated. Thanks!
I would go over to the LightBurn forum and ask for volunteers to try your software. There are a lot of people there that own fiber lasers.
I actually shared my work with LightBurn already - I do not know what the final outcome will be (i.e. people shouldn’t run out and buy a fiber laser and then get upset at LightBurn if they ultimately don’t support it) but I have reasons to be optimistic. It’s a justifiably popular program. Personally, I don’t intend on adding a GUI to Balor, so if the command-line interface paradigm isn’t your preference, I hope that LightBurn will be an option for people in the future.
Of course one of the biggest complaints of the fiber lasers is the software. I am sure any improvement would be appreciated.
I forgot to add that the last time I worked with Galvo lasers, which was over 20 years ago, the software was all DOS based.
Well, for the ones in the hobbyist price range, they’re all based on EzCAD2, which is a buggy, sometimes poorly translated Windows application. The biggest problem with it for me is that it has a broken SVG importer, so there’s no “escape hatch” to let you create your graphics in another program and import them to EzCAD. (Though I only have one Windows machine, specifically for running test equipment or machine tools that don’t have Linux software for yet, so that was also kinda a hassle too.)
@Bryce what do you think, are they using your work there:
Yes, but it’s all above the board and legitimate. I talked with LightBurn and we shared reverse engineering data some time ago. This was after Balor substantially worked, but the exchange was mutually helpful as it helped me to sort out some details about how buffering is handled.
I am glad people will soon have not one but two EzCAD alternatives, maybe even three, at least one of them open source / free software.
Glad to hear about the mutual helpful work with Lightburn ( which is - in my humble opinion - one of the most fairly priced softwares out there).
In fact, I think you can “get around it”. I do my artwork in adobe illustrator and export the file in vector (it should expand the design, because EzCad sometimes doesn’t recognize the font used, nor does it show it in its font list. But you have to export it in a much earlier version of AI. I choose AI version 8 and open smoothly. I have tried exporting SVG a few times but the drawing comes truncated or distorted.
something I need someone’s help with
One of the big flaws with EzCad is that you can’t see the thickness of the lines, even if you change the values in the wooble. I have also had problems with cutting aluminum, brass or other metal, because despite changing the values in the “power”, the machine just marks and does not cut!
Another problem is with the recognition of the working area. The rectangle around the cutting or engraving area no longer appears and I have to manually adjust the metal support cradle to the media that I am going to use. Thank you in advance if someone can suggest a solution.
Just for the sake of completeness: Meerk40t has support for Galvo lasers since v0.8 and is full open source. Even if it has advanced quite a lot on the design side of things you may still want to do more elaborate designs with inkscape.
Can this software work with Feeltek controller cards.