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Freeing Your Laser Cutter with the Open-Source LaserWeb

Gareth Halfacree

LaserWeb GUI

Laser cutters are amazing machines, and increasingly accessible to the hobbyist maker thanks to projects like the Arduino-powered MicroSlice. There's just one fly in the ointment, however: software. The majority of commercial laser-cutting software is designed to run on Microsoft Windows, and while cross-platform equivalents exist they typically have a somewhat steeper learning curve. Enter LaserWeb.

Created by Peter van der Walt and introduced to us by our friends over at Hackaday, LaserWeb is a cross-platform open-source laser cutting platform with a user interface accessible from any modern web browser and a wealth of features. As well as the ability to import Drawing eXchange Format (DXF) and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) files, the software is capable of loading raster images and converting them to the code required for etching them onto material via the laser cutter - further expanding its capabilities.

Naturally, software is of no use if it doesn't support your hardware. Proprietary packages are typically written only with noe manufacturer's devices in mind, but LaserWeb boasts support for any laser cutter supporting one of the four currently-available firmwares: the popular Grbl, Marlin, Smoothieware, and LasaurGrbl. Because the project is open source, you can expect to see support for new firmware and hardware revisions added quickly: the project has already grown from Peter's personal hobby to enjoy support from ten contributors over the last three months alone.

To check out LaserWeb for yourself, just head to the official GitHub repository.

Node.js based, Windows/Linux/Mac/Raspberry Pi/Vagrant supported, host software for Lasercutters/Engravers running Marlin/Smoothieware/Grbl/LasaurGrbl with integrated parametric Gcode generators, Raster support, as well as Raster and Vector Engraving. SVG and DXF supported for cutting, PNG, BMP, JPEG support for raster engraving.

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