Light burn with Macbook Air and CNC 3018 Pro

Hi Guys. I am new to this whole CNC engraving and lazer hobby. I just ordered myself a CNC 3018 Pro from Aliexpress, and waiting for delivery. In the meantime, I am doing some homework regarding the software and everything that goes with it. I own a 2017 Macbook Air and use it cuttently with my Cameo 4 vinyl cutter, which works like a charm. When check the software for the newly purchased 3018, I realized that the software that comes with it, is for Windows OS only.
My question…, will Lightburn and my Macbook Air be good to use for both the Rotor head milling and the Lazer…? like I said…, this is all new for me, and I have a lot to learn.

All inputs will be appreciated.

LightBurn is designed for laser work and does not know of the required CNC Router / rotor work coding to support spindle actions. We have many members that use LightBurn to drive the laser attached to the “3018”, some even use LightBurn to create the basis for their router work, saving as GCode, but then do the additional editing / coding required to support the router work. This additional editing is outside the currently supported features of LightBurn, but the community is here and helpful. :slight_smile:

Thanks a million for the answer. That’s just what I hoped to hear. I will give it a try.

Ian, in a general sense most software provided by machine makers are just gcode senders and not CAD or CAM software. A gcode sender’s main function is to send the text files containing the gcode which commands the firmware on the machine to do what it does. ie move the tool around and control tool. So there are lots of GCode senders out there. LightBurn started as a GCode sender for 2D laser cutting with added features for setup and positioning of the design. It’s come a long way from that and now has lots more design capabilities too.

Once you have a GCode sender to get the GCode(also called toolpaths) to your machine, you need software to create the GCode/toolpaths. CAM software does that and many creation tools(CAD) have plugins for toolpath generation. You might look at Kiri:Moto for CAM and for GCode senders, there are many. Opensource options like CNCjs, OctoPrint, and many 3D printer GCode senders would work. Some will run on $40 Raspberry Pi mini-computers so you don’t need to have your main computer connected to the machine.

Thanks Doug. This is all new to me, and I am learning another every day. I managed to get my Macbook working perfectly with Ligtburn.

Thanks for your valuable information.

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Good to hear Ian and we all start at the same place. I make the effort to explain things a bit more than others because I feel the more we know and understand things the more choices we can make later on. Anyone can be a button pusher, it’s understanding a little about what’s going on behind the button which opens doors.