Design Software help please

Hi, can anyone point me to a teaching resource that explains what file formats are compatible with lightburn? And also teaches me what to do to make various files compatible with lightburn. For example, in the last couple of weeks, customers have sent me .dwg files, .ai files and binary dxf files and I have been unsuccessful in importing all of them. This is a big gap in my knowledge and I think what I need is a general course (if that exists) to teach me the basics of what is compatible and what to do to make an ai file import as it should, many thanks in advance, Annie (as background, I have a m2 MacBook Air, and a hpc ls3060 with a ruida controller)

The first resource:

Two of the files you mentioned should be supported: .ai and .dxf. The .dwg will probably need to be converted to another format first. I often use an online service for that.

Lightburn imports several file types.
I would start by consulting the documents on the subject.
When you say:

Doesn’t open and gives an error or opens but nothing appears?

Lightburn does not import DWG files, or binary DXF files. If your customers that send DWG and binary DXF are a big part of your business, it would be wise to purchase either AutoCAD LT or an AutoCAD knockoff like Draftsight or CorelCAD. You can then easily open their file, and then do what you need to do, then export a R13 ASCII DXF file that LB can import without a problem.

The AI files are kind of the same thing. If you want to make it easy for yourself, you would purchase either the latest Adobe Illustrator, or get a program like Affinity Designer to import the AI file, and then export a SVG for importing into LB.

A lot comes down to how many customers you have using these formats, and how willing they are to exporting formats that you can easily import into Lightburn. I used to convert a lot of DWG and AI files using AutoCAD and Adobe Illustrator, because our customer base that used these programs was large. If you need some help testing files, you can send me a private message.

Hi Luis, many thanks - nothing appears, i think because its a binary dxf

Thanks Joel, please can i ask you what online service you use for that? Thanks, Annie

Hi Ralph, thanks so much for your reply, thats really helpful. The customer who sent me a dwg file is a one off and I dont envisage getting dwg files sent on a regular basis.

However, I quite frequently get people sending me AI files, and I like to get a better understanding of AI and how to convert the files. I don’t have experience with adobe illustrator but I have bought it recently. How quick is it to learn? Any suggestions of learning resources? Also, I have never heard of Affinity designer, so I will look that up. What would you say is the best options?

If you have Illustrator, you just open the file. You will have to “outline” the fonts if there is text entities, because LB does not import text from AI or PDF. It is hard to say what is a good resource for learning AI. There are a lot of videos on YouTube, but your main concern might be just to get the file into Lightburn correctly.

Affinity Designer is similar program to AI. It is fom a UK based company called Serif I don’t use it for importing AI files, but it can do it. Not exactly sure how good it works. The newest version also imports DWG and DXF files.

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Thanks Ralph!

You are welcome.
As @RalphU mentioned, binary dxf files they are one of the formats that Lightburn does not open.

Affinity Designer 2 does support .ai files, sometimes.
I would say it’s about 95% compatible in my experience.

EDIT: FYI for anyone who may use or planning to buy Affinity Designer 2, version 2.4 (currently in beta) You will be able to import and export .dwg & .dxf files. That means you should be able to import Lightburn spot colors into Affinity, create your job using affinity designer 2.4 and export it as a .dxf file that would be ready to run in lightburn. I would assume the same would be true for EZcad and most CNC software.


I don’t actually have a specific recommendation for this. I don’t see a lot of DXF or DWG files myself. If you search for “dxf to svg converter online” you may find something helpful. I would not suggest downloading anything other than the previously mentioned commercial applications that are good at these formats.

It sounds like you have Adobe Illustrator so you should be able to export .ai files to a more suitable format with that (as others have mentioned).

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Most of these software packages have the ability to export in different file formats.

I’d check with those supplying your drawings and supply them with a list of file types that Lightburn can import. See if the customer would just produce a file that you can just read…


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Hi Annie

I have been down the very same road as you, and many others.
I eventually found this website, it isn’t always 100% perfect, but I always manage to get things to work.

Good luck!

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I use Inkscape for these formats.
Freeware and can export to other formats as well.

it can even copy + paste from inkscape to Lightburn :wink:


Hello, I know there are plenty of sites for what you want but they all have gaps and sometimes I have a question and then have to search again. What I do is use CHATGPT and ask the actual question. You may even start your prompt with…I am a newbie at lightburn the software. I my question is…and wait for the answer. then move forward. It becomes more personal to what you have to learn and answers questions more accurately.

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I took the time to put your exact question into chat gpt and got a thread started. From the full answer you could actually ask more questions and drill down further as you choose. Here is what I got …. Finding comprehensive resources for mastering software like Lightburn is crucial for efficiently handling various file formats, especially in a setting where you’re dealing with customer files in formats like .dwg, .ai, and binary .dxf. LightBurn software, popular for laser cutting and engraving, supports a range of file formats directly, but there might be specific considerations for others, particularly those used in professional design software.

Directly Compatible File Formats with Lightburn

LightBurn natively supports a variety of file formats for importing artwork and designs. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Vector Formats: SVG, PDF, AI, DXF, PLT
  • Image Formats: BMP, PNG, JPG, GIF, and others
  • Program Formats: LBRN (LightBurn’s native format)

Handling Incompatible Formats

For formats not directly supported by LightBurn, such as .dwg and certain types of .dxf files, you may need to convert these into a compatible format using third-party software. Here’s how you can manage the specific files you mentioned:

  • .DWG Files: AutoCAD’s DWG format is not natively supported by LightBurn. Convert DWG to DXF using AutoCAD or a free online converter, then import the DXF into LightBurn.
  • .AI Files: Adobe Illustrator files should be directly supported, but newer versions might pose issues. Save or export the AI file as an older version (Illustrator CC or earlier) or in a different format like SVG, which is readily compatible with LightBurn.
  • Binary DXF Files: LightBurn sometimes struggles with binary DXF files. Converting these to an ASCII DXF file using a CAD program or a converter tool can solve this issue.

Resources for Learning

  1. LightBurn Official Documentation and Tutorials: The best starting point is LightBurn’s own resources. Their documentation, tutorials, and forums are rich with information on file compatibility and troubleshooting.

  2. Online Courses: Platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare may offer courses on laser engraving and cutting, including using software like LightBurn. These can be valuable for learning the basics and advanced features.

  3. YouTube: A plethora of tutorials and guides can be found on YouTube. Creators often share their workflows for preparing and importing various file formats into LightBurn.

  4. Forums and Community Groups: Joining communities like the LightBurn forum, Reddit, or Facebook groups dedicated to laser cutting and engraving can provide insights and direct support from experienced users.

Summary Table

To help you integrate this information into your Notion app, here’s a summary table:

File Format Compatibility Solution
.DWG No Convert to DXF using AutoCAD or an online converter
.AI Yes (with considerations) Save as older version or export as SVG
Binary DXF No Convert to ASCII DXF using a CAD program

Additional Tips

  • Always check for software updates, as LightBurn regularly updates its compatibility and features.
  • Experiment with different file formats and conversion methods to find workflows that best suit your needs.

This approach should help fill the gap in your knowledge regarding file compatibility with LightBurn, enabling you to handle a wider range of customer files more effectively.

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Thank you so much!

Yes, absolutely. Thank you

Thank you so much, I’ll try this!