What is the Best Software for Laser Engraving?

Laser engraving is the process of using laser machines to engrave any design on various materials. The laser itself creates high heat that vaporizes whatever surface it’s being used on, which results in it exposing hollows that form to make the design. Laser engraving is a rather easy process but only when you have the right laser engraver and software. The following are the best

5 of the best software for laser engraving

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based creative program designed for graphic designers. This is an easy way to create designs for laser engraving because you can create your design and scale it to any size without scaling down on quality.

There are many different features within the software that allows you to fully customize your graphics. It’s an easy software to learn and use, it gives you a lot of control over your design, and always produces high-quality images.

What we like
  • Includes a helpful user interface
  • You can work on multiple images at one time
  • You can easily scale images
  • It creates manageable size files
  • It works on any computer server
What we don’t like
  • There is a big learning curve
  • You have to be patient with it
  • There are different pricing options, but it’s double for teams
  • It requires a lot of space on your computer
  • It has a Photoshop-like feel

CorelDRAW

CorelDRAW is a vector graphics editor and it’s the most popular in the industry. CorelDRAW has a lot of advanced functions, but it’s one of the easiest software to use compared to a lot of the other software in the industry.

The tools within this software like Twirl, smear, attract and repel make it quick and easy to get great-looking results. There’s also an alignment guide that allows you to position your object exactly as you like. CorelDRAW works with large files in Corel Photo-Paint.

What we like
  • Customizable interface
  • Fresh and appealing design
  • The software includes training videos
  • Two payment options: perpetual license or subscription
  • Excellent vectorization
  • Shaping docker gives you maximum use
What we don’t like
  • Not compatible with Mac
  • Navigation is not the easiest
  • The navigation board isn’t visible
  • Includes a freehand brush but it’s difficult to use

Inkspace

Inkspace is a free and open-source tool for laser engraving. It offers a lot of the same capabilities that Adobe Illustrator does. This software allows you to create designs from scratch or edit existing designs and either option is easy to do.

Similar to most software, Inkspace will take some time to get used to. It has a similar setup to Abode Illustrator, but some of the icons are named differently and have different functions. Inkspace offers flexible drawing tools, common file format compatibility, and a lot of powerful tools such as a powerful text tool. You can see a full list of Inkspace’s features here.

What we like
  • Compatible with most computer servers
  • Supports common file formats
  • It’s free
  • Online community if you ever need help
  • Has everything Abode Illustrator does
What we don’t like
  • If you are working on a larger file, the software can run slowly
  • There is a bit of a learning curve
  • Needs a time investment to get the hang of it
  • There’s a lot of things squeezed into one screen

SketchUp

SketchUp is one of the easiest software to use when it comes to graphic design and laser engraving. A lot of the tools included in the software are intuitive and make it easy for you to create your design. You can add plugins to your software, which gives you more access to different functions. Additional plugins would come in handy if you wanted to design something super specific but the software didn’t have that tool – this is one of the reasons why this is one of the best laser engraving software.

What we like
  • It’s very easy to learn
  • Manages various file types
  • Works with a lot of free 3D components
  • Features great 3D visualization
  • It’s free!
  • Easy to use user interface
What we don’t like
  • Doesn’t include a tool for complex geometry
  • The software can’t handle spheres or circles and Automatically transforms them into polygons
  • The layout can be tricky to learn and understand
  • Adding specific details can be difficult
  • Tool selection is limited

DraftSight

If you love 2D laser engraving software, you need to give DraftSight a try! It has the same attention to detail as all the laser engraving software, if not more. DraftSight is a design software that helps you create an image that you can upload to your laser cutter and put your design on your desired object. This software is great for turning common file types such as JPEG or PNG’s into vector lines, curves, angles, and much more.

This software also has advanced features such as a “hairline” option that allows you to control line width when you print your design – which is exactly what you want when doing laser engraving. This software is a yearly subscription at only $99 for the entire year – which we think is a great price.

What we like
  • Great software for super detailed work
  • Allows you to select the line width
  • Easy to use and learn
  • Simple software, but powerful
  • Affordable
What we don’t like
  • Dated-looking user interface
  • The system can glitch sometimes
  • Not many online tutorials

Final Thoughts

If you’re new to the world of laser engraving and not sure where to start, any of the options above are great starting points. Or, if you’re already in the world of laser engraving and looking for new and better software, give one of these a try!

Overall, if we could only choose one software, it would be Illustrator from Adobe. The main reason being that you can use this software on any device and you can use it for lots of other non-laser engraving projects as well. IUllustrator has an active community and you will find lots of free tutorials on youtube that can help you get started in a jiffy.