Any experience with laser cost estimation software?

I really dig the Lightburn software. Especially the preview where it tells me how much time it will take to laser!

However, I am looking to make a bit of a business workflow and am trying to think of an easy way to for customers to get an estimate on how much time it will take to laser.

To keep it simple lets just take about vectors.

Can the preview functionality of Lightburn be extended to a web app?

Is there other customer facing estimation software or easy ways to do this?

I mean essentially it’s just the length of a line + distance between start points / speed.

Or, has anyone tried this estimation software?

I find it would take up more of my time to do estimates but maybe that’s just the best way to do it?

Thank you for any tips or help navigating this!

Design and prep usually take a lot more of my time than the actual lasering does. Then you have to factor in amortization, power cost, maintenance time (lasers don’t clean themselves) as well as maintenance cost. If you tell someone that a job will take 4 minutes to cut/engrave they might expect a cost of (4/60) * $15 or $1.

You might check out the CNC Cookbook and Bob Warfield’s estimating suggestions. His estimating worksheet is oriented toward CNC machining and wood routers but some of it may be relevant for laser work.

Browsing the laser sections on the Sawmill Creek forum might also be useful.

Also, FWIW, I give customers a total price for a job and would never break it down into labor, material, etc.

Honestly, I’ve created an internal spreadsheet that has the cost of our wood and acrylic materials in it. I can enter in the size of wood, etc. and the spreadsheet calculates how many square inches, multiplies it by the cost per square inch, adds in mark-up, etc. I then have a field for how many minutes of laser time is needed, assembly time, etc. as well as any ancillary items. The spreasheet kicks out a “Break Even” number to which I add our mark up for the customers. Takes 30 seconds to enter all the number in and figure out what it “Costs” me to make a product. Took about 15 minutes or so to put the spreadsheet together when I started it.

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If only that was true. :slight_smile:
Depending on the laser and the job, acceleration may be a large factor, or a small one. The faster you go, the more important acceleration becomes. If you are raster engraving, as the speed increases the acceleration will become a larger part of the time, as DSP lasers will add full ramp-up / ramp-down moves to the begin & end of each scanned line. When vector marking, higher speeds will be impacted more by acceleration, and in some jobs you may never hit the requested speed.

For example, the upper line here will hit full speed on pretty much anything, but the lower line won’t because it’s made of short moves and sharp corners:


LightBurn’s preview simulation handles all of this, as well as managing the different speed and acceleration limits set per axis, and per mode (engraving usually allows the X axis acceleration to go much higher than for vector moves, because the motion is simpler and less likely to cause resonance and wobble).

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