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Laser cutting machine. Image Credit: Shutterstock.com/Hunter Bliss Images

9 Best Laser Cutting Software Products

Learn more about the best software for your laser cutting needs.

Xomety X
By Team Xometry
January 20, 2023
 10 min read
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Laser cutting is an efficient and precise way to cut and engrave materials such as wood, metal, glass, and plastics. With the help of the best laser cutting software, hobbyists and professionals alike can create high-quality designs for a variety of applications.

When looking for the best laser cutting software, the best option will depend on your specific needs and the type of project you’ll be working on. While some laser cutting software is free, others may be best suited for heavy-duty tasks or have a variety of file formats that are advantageous to work with.  Here are some of the best laser cutting software options to consider:

1. Inkscape™

Inkscape™ is a free-to-use and open-source vector graphics editor. It is best for laser engraving and can be used with a variety of file formats including: SVG, PDF, EPS, and PNG. Beginners may find Inkscape™ easier to use compared to other paid laser cutting software such as Adobe Illustrator®. Third-party plug-ins that convert designs into G-code can be used with Inkscape™ to produce laser cutting files. There are also additional resources available to help if you’re just starting. Inkscape™ is cross-platform software, so it can be used on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. 

2. Adobe Illustrator®

Adobe Illustrator® is best for creating high-quality vector graphics and logos but requires a subscription. It can be used with a variety of file formats including SVG, PDF, and EPS. This software is best for creating designs as it has powerful features such as shape manipulation tools, color swatches, and styles. It can also work with plug-ins to convert designs into G-code for laser cutting. A lot of design software is measured against this industry-leading software. It is a gold standard for vector graphics. Adobe Illustrator possesses a feature called Artboards which helps you to organize your designs in one place and make multiple designs without cluttering the workspace. The cheapest plan commands $20.99 a month for the Creative Cloud® subscription, which is best for businesses and individuals who need access to the best design tools.

3. Affinity Designer®

Affinity® Designer is best for creating high-quality vector graphics and logos but requires a one-time fee. Many people consider this software the best alternative to Adobe Illustrator. The wonderful thing about this software is that it can be used with a variety of file formats. It can also work with plug-ins to convert designs into G-code for laser cutting. The best feature of this software is that it is non-destructive and allows you to undo any changes, which can help save time and effort. Affinity® is certainly very affordable, with a one-time fee of about $40 on Mac and Windows. While a subscription fee on iPad will cost about $12 per month.

4. DraftSight®

DraftSight® helps to refine the image that would be uploaded to the laser cutter. This software helps to eliminate any unnecessary elements from the design. It offers more advanced features than Inkscape® and is best for laser-cutting projects that require precision. Among its features is the hairline option used for line width within the print option of the required design. Wider lines that are rasterized by laser cutters are cut in a less precise way and lead to barrier lines at the edges of the final design. However, the DraftSight® hairline options eliminate this problem. This software also supports a wide range of vector files and other features such as the ability to save work in progress and view exact dimensions for objects. The subscription fee is about $100 per year (standard), $200 per year (professional), and $500 per year (premium).

5. LightBurn®

LightBurn® is best for laser cutting and engraving projects that require advanced features like multiple passes, vector scaling, stitch engraving, and raster rotation. It supports a wide range of file formats including DXF, SVG, and EPS. Additionally, it has the best user interface—which makes laser cutting work easier. With LightBurn®, it is possible to edit the best laser cutting settings, speed, and power for the best engraving and cutting results. It is also compatible with most laser-cutting and engraving machines. The subscription fee for this software is about $60 for G-code controllers and $120 for DSP controllers.

6. LaserGRBL

LaserGRBL is best for laser engraving and cutting projects that require a simple user interface. This software is best for laser cutting projects with simple designs as it includes basic features like vector editing and raster engraving. Additionally, its user-friendly interface makes it best for beginners. This software is free and can be downloaded from the official website.

7. TurboCAD™

TurboCAD™ is best for laser cutting projects that require 2D and 3D designs. This software includes the best tools to create 3D models with laser cutting machines. It also supports a wide range of file formats, including DXF, DWG, and SVG. It also offers powerful features such as realistic lighting effects and camera views that can help make your designs look more lifelike. The subscription fee for this software is about $20 per month (student) and $50 per month (professional) with 15 days free trial.

8. LaserWeb

LaserWeb is best for laser cutting projects that require G-code editing and control. It includes features like G-code editing, 3D simulation, and laser control. Additionally, it supports a wide range of file formats including DXF, SVG, and BMP. This software is best for advanced laser cutting projects as it requires knowledge of G-code commands. It is also free and can be downloaded from the official website. With the newest version, multiple files can be processed and queued up for laser cutting. It is collaborative, and great for team projects. 

9. OpenBuilds® CAM & Control

OpenBuilds® CAM and Control are two programs created by OpenBuilds® for digital fabrication such as CNC, plasma, and laser cutting machines. The CAM program is best for creating G-code commands that control the laser cutter while the Control program provides features for connecting to and controlling the machine. The two programs are free and can be downloaded from the official OpenBuilds® website. The best features of this software include an intuitive user interface, 3D visualization, and G-code editing. Additionally, it supports a wide range of file formats such as DXF and SVG.

Which Software for Laser Cutting Is Best for Laser Engraving?

The laser cutting software products that are best for laser engraving are: Adobe Illustrator, Affinity® Designer, and LightBurn®. They all feature a variety of powerful tools and features to help create stunning laser engravings. With these programs, you can easily adjust the depth, power, speed, and frequency of the engraving to achieve precise results. They also offer a wide range of file formats that are compatible with many laser engravers, making them perfect for creating high-quality designs.

Which Software for Laser Cutting Is Free?

Examples of free software for laser cutting are: LaserGRBL, Inkscape™, LaserWeb, and OpenBuilds® CAM & Control. These software programs best support a wide range of file formats and best offer features like vector editing, raster engraving, 3D simulation, and laser control. As these software products are free, they serve as an excellent starting point for beginners.

Which Software for Laser Cutting Has a Variety of File Formats?

The software for laser cutting with a variety of file formats is Adobe Illustrator. Adobe Illustrator best supports a wide range of file formats including PDF, SVG, DXF, BMP, and AI. It also includes powerful vector editing tools for creating intricate laser engraving designs. A range of features such as realistic lighting effects and camera views best help make your designs look more lifelike.

What Is the Best Laser Cutting Software for Heavy-Duty Tasks?

The best laser-cutting software for heavy-duty tasks is Adobe Illustrator. Metals, plastics, and wood can all be cut precisely with this powerful yet user-friendly software. Diverse file formats are supported, allowing users to quickly share their designs for laser cutting. This software also allows users to create intricate designs with ease, making it perfect for those looking to make complex laser-cut projects. 

What Is the Best Laser Cutting Software for Tombstone Engraving?

The best laser-cutting software for tombstone engraving is Adobe Illustrator. With its intuitive user interface, this software offers a wide range of tools specifically dedicated to laser engraving. It also supports a variety of file formats for both vector and bitmap images, making it easy to create a tombstone design. As a bonus, Adobe Illustrator includes many tutorials and resources to help you get the best out of your laser-cutting project. 

What Are the Best Laser Cutting Software Products for Wood Cutting?

The best laser cutting software for wood cutting is TurboCAD™. This powerful software has special plug-ins and provides training specific to woodworkers. It also allows you to export your design into a variety of non-CAD formats such as SVG and DXF, making it easy to share and print your designs. Another alternative is OpenBuilds® CAM and Control, a powerful yet user-friendly set of software designed for laser cutting materials such as wood. With its intuitive user interface, this software allows you to quickly design and cut intricate wooden designs with ease.

Which Laser Cutting Software Product Is Suitable for Beginners?

The laser cutting software suitable for beginners is LaserGRBL. With its easy-to-use interface, this free software allows you to quickly design and laser-cut basic designs with ease. It also supports a variety of file formats, making it easy to share and print your designs. This software is also compatible with a variety of laser engravers, making it a great choice for those looking to start their laser-cutting journey. 

What Is Laser Cutting?

Laser cutting is a manufacturing process that uses lasers to cut materials such as wood, plastic, and metal. The laser vaporizes or melts away the material in precise lines and shapes, creating intricate designs. Laser cutting is typically used for industrial projects such as products, signs, or logos but is also becoming increasingly popular for personal projects, as it allows users to quickly and easily create beautiful designs.

What Is the Process of Laser Cutting?

The process of laser cutting involves the use of sophisticated laser technology, in which the laser beam is focused on a tiny spot, directing its energy onto the material's surface. The heat from this energy melts or vaporizes the material, and a gas jet is used to blow away the molten material, creating an edge. The laser beam can move in any direction, allowing for the precise cutting of intricate shapes and patterns. Additionally, laser cutting systems can be programmed to cut or engrave a variety of materials with different levels of complexity.

Summary

This article presented the best laser cutting software, explained what they are, and discussed the different features of each one. To learn more about laser cutting software, contact a Xometry representative.

Xometry provides a wide range of manufacturing capabilities, including sheet cutting and other value-added services for all of your prototyping and production needs. Visit our website to learn more or to request a free, no-obligation quote.

Copyscape and Trademark Notices

  1. Inkscape™ is a trademark of Inkscape Project c/o Software Freedom Conservancy, 137 Montague St. Ste 380, Brooklyn, NY 11201-3548.
  2. Adobe Illustrator® and Creative Cloud® are registered trademarks of Adobe in the United States and/or other countries.
  3. Affinity® is a registered trademark of Serif (Europe) Ltd.
  4. DraftSight® is a registered trademark of Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp
  5. LightBurn® is a trademark of LightBurn Software, LLC. 
  6. TurboCAD™ is a trademark of IMSI Design, LLC.

Disclaimer

The content appearing on this webpage is for informational purposes only. Xometry makes no representation or warranty of any kind, be it expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness, or validity of the information. Any performance parameters, geometric tolerances, specific design features, quality and types of materials, or processes should not be inferred to represent what will be delivered by third-party suppliers or manufacturers through Xometry’s network. Buyers seeking quotes for parts are responsible for defining the specific requirements for those parts. Please refer to our terms and conditions for more information.

Xomety X
Team Xometry
This article was written by various Xometry contributors. Xometry is a leading resource on manufacturing with CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, 3D printing, injection molding, urethane casting, and more.