Can LightBurn be my part design software too?

Newbe question: Lightburn seems to be a pretty functional design software as well as a laser controller…but is it enough? My first planned laser project is a wooden children’s puzzle with animal cutouts. The puzzle plates will stack to create a 3D Noah’s ark. Each plate will have animals cut from it with laser-detailed animal faces.

Do I need a CorelDraw (or similar) to do my plate & piece design or will LighBurn be enough?

Is your intent to create all the design features by hand or would you be importing some of them, for example the animal pieces?

In general I’d say the answer to your question specifically in this case will largely depend on the complexity of the shapes. LightBurn tends to do very well in aggregating components of designs from other sources, cleaning up designs in preparation for a burn, creating more geometric shapes. It’s not going to do as well in very technical drawings or in very organic and elaborate designs.

Having said that, with enough experience and willingness you’d likely be able to design most anything within LightBurn, albeit perhaps not as efficiently or easily as in other software more dedicated to that particular style of design.

My suggrestion would be to give a try and see how it fits your needs. If you are already very versed in other software then no need to stop using that other software. You can work between the two leveraging the strengths of each. You’ll likely find that you can do more and more from within LightBurn itself as you get more comfortable with it.

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In a past life I was an mechanical designer with years of CAD experience, but I have very little artistic talent so all of the animal line art will be imported from clipart I’ve found online. The outlines of each plate will need to be created by hand.

I was hoping I could use the drafting type tools in Lightburn to create the outline of the plates, and import the animals. But a friend suggested CorelDraw as my design tool. I have no experience with either LightBurn or CorelDraw, but my Autocad experience is so so far in my history that I’ll be starting from scratch with any route I choose…

I would put this firmly in LightBurn’s wheelhouse. It’s excellent at aggregating existing designs. The complexity of the plate design is the only part that would require some consideration.

LightBurn has no 3D design capability so you’d have to conceptualize the 3D aspect externally and design the flat pieces. Doing this in a 3D modeling program would probably have some advantages in terms of testing fit. This will depend entirely on how complex the design is.

Your friend may have suggested CorelDraw because for some reason CorelDraw has become ubiquitous in laser burning circles. I suspect due to both widespread licensing from Corel to vendors and general pirating by manufacturers.

Honestly I’d say just try doing this in LightBurn to begin. The folks on this forum can provide guidance if needed. If LightBurn is insufficient for the design it will become apparent pretty quickly or someone will let you know.

Thanks so much. Plate design is very very simple. I’ll fire up my 30 day trial this week and see what I can do.

That’s a fair question. I was looking for a min workspace of 300mm x 300mm, a reasonable starting price, good industry support, and supporting training materials (video/blogs/etc). The LM2 was the first model I stumbled across, watching youtube reviews, of entry-level lasers that seemed to fit these requirements. I also don’t enjoy tinkering with the tool to be the tool as much as I once did so I want something with a bit of a track record. I don’t want v1 or even v2…I don’t want to mess with the bleeding edge of this technology.

Even with all of that…I haven’t bought ANYTHING yet, so I’m still open to suggestions?

One software package that I haven’t seen mentioned on this forum is LibreCAD. It is a free open source CAD program that is similar to AutoCAD though not with all of the bells and whistles. worth looking at for producing technical drawings. Here is a link to their website:

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I’ve mentioned it before but glad to see it getting attention from others. It’s simple but capable of doing pretty much all of the technical drawing needs that most would need in this forum.

Lightburn is similar to many other engineering/architectural programs which are made up of basic shapes. Circles, lines, curves. Seems like there are many programs that are designed like that. What I would like to find/learn is something that does ornate designs or clip art. Lots of curves, but in a pleasing way. Also something that doesn’t require much artistic talent😊

This is firmly in the realm of illustration programs. Think Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, Affinity Designer and others. Those programs are all very mature and capable. CorelDraw would fit into this as well.

thanks for the tip but your not saying which one can compensate for a lack of artistic talent.

I thought you were joking about that. :rofl:

To a certain extent you’ll never be able to get away from the aspect of having to know what something should look like with an artistic eye. That’s unavoidable. But I would say any of these illustration programs with some effort in learning the technical aspects of how they work do abstract out a lot of the artistic skill component of drawing since you can rely on things like alignment tools, guides, boolean operations, bezier curves, etc. Contrast this with painting programs that still depend heavily on artistic training and hand coordination. The illustration programs have traded artistic training with tooling.

I have seen efforts in AI based painting tools where you provide the suggestion of a figure or illustration and the full image is drawn to specification. Google has similarly released an experimental line art tool. It allows downloads in raster format but could easily be converted to vector.

Check it out here:

All of this stuff I would still put under neat but not necessarily super useful or reliable as of yet.

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