Laser - Best software to generate gcode from dxf

The title says it all. I am not sure what software to use to cut projects to scale that are saved in .dxf format. Here is an example of what I want to cut for my son’s classroom. Dice tower

@curt I use CamBam myself but only for laser etching pc board etch resist . Not sure how that would work with your project…which looks pretty cool by the way.

@Curt I generally use inkscape and estlcam for cutting. You can open .dxf files directly in estlcam. Set up a tool for your laser if you haven’t already. Don’t forget there is a laser tab in the setup menu for specifying the laser on and off commands. If you want to check the size of the parts before hand, you can open them in inkscape. I’m sure there are lots of other tools, but those are the ones I’m familiar with.

All that said, I’ve only done a few cutting jobs with the laser so far. Felt was super easy (duh!). Acrylic cut very nicely, but when I tried plywood, it came out a charred, smoking mess. It did cut, but the edges were like charcoal. Granted, I was trying to cut 5.2mm ply, and I think 3mm is the recommended max. Maybe if I upped the speed and made more passes it would char less.

In any case, I recommend that you make more passes than you think you’ll need. It’s frustrating to have it burned almost but not quite all the way.

Thanks guys. I tried inkscape but the outside edge of Rotational axis. I did upgrade Estlcam but I did not see the laser tab so I guess I will look harder tonight when I get home.

@Curt Here’s a pic of where the laser settings are. They’re really buried!

Thanks Karl. How do you generate laser code vs router code? Where do you select to add the M106 & 7 commands? I know what I will be doing when I get home tonight. I am really looking forward to being able to get out and start using the laser more.

@Curt You create one or more tools for the laser and use them when setting up the cut. Attached is a tool list with some different laser tools. They’re all the same laser, of course, just different speeds, depth of cut, and stepover for different materials and purposes. I don’t think I had to do anything else to indicate that the tool is a laser. I think it might stick in the laser commands (M106 S255 and M107 for the JTP) in all gcode it generates.

I’m going to be cutting some acrylic soon. Maybe I’ll compare cutting with estlcam vs cutting with laseretch (which has a cutting function). Actually, if you’re going to cut that dice tower and have the graphics etched on it, LaserEtch would be the easier to use, but it’s not free. Not too hard with estlcam either, I guess. Just give less depth of cut and maybe faster speed for the graphics part.

I look forward to how it comes out and hearing any tips you might pick up from the endeavor.


I bought both pieces of software from JPT and I am happy with both. They were not a huge investment. Also the piclaser program from JPT seemed to work better in my comparison I did a few weeks ago.

What was it you were comparing PicLaser to? Image2gcode?

Yes. They both seem to work very well but I was surprised that the PicLaser was a lot darker.

@Karl - thanks for the help. I was able to get the .dxf to run to scale using Estlcam. A few recomendations on your settings. I changed the laser off to M106 S0 since I think this is a better way to go. Also the plunge rate needs to be A LOT FASTER! There are black dots at each place the CNC plunged. I would also set the clearance plane to a miminum for lasing but make sure to raise it for normal milling.

Thanks again for the help. Now off to the hardware store to get some thin wood!