Software Used in your Projects


This is a place to discuss other software you use for your projects. From initial design to processing to running the hardware. 3D CAD systems, Various Slicers, CAM Software for CNC, Laser Software for Etching/Cutting, etc.


As much as I like the work the Snapmaker team is doing with its continual improvement, I find myself looking outside their software for various tasks. I use both their snapmakerjs and Cura for my 3D printing, for example.
I have recently embarked on LASER etching path and while I like the Vector and B&W output the greyscale module leaves me frustrated. I’m wondering if anyone has found ‘The Cura’ of laser engraving. I have looked at a bunch myself but don’t see any that talk with the Snapmaker directly. I found LightBurn which looks to be a good candidate with powerful features to my novice eye, but again not communication with hardware (sits waiting on response from hardware).
Has anyone else found something more feature rich(especial with greyscale) than what the Snapmakerjs currently offers and had success with it? D


I use Simplify3D for 3D printing. It gives me more control on support placement and I like its ability to change infills within layer ranges.

For laser etching I still use SnapmakerJS with good results. I’ve tried BW and greyscale, but not vector. I’m quite impressed with the level of detail in greyscale. What kind of issues are you having with greyscale?

Below are some ornaments I did over this past weekend for my colleagues at work. All of them (except panda and skateboard) were done in greyscale. I have the 1.6W laser and was running it at 55-60%, 500 work speed.


@kelvin8r Thanks for the response. Your results have renewed my enthusiasm. To explain what I meant… When I ran the test patterns all my previews show very poor looking images. One of the ones I was trying to produce was this…
All I got was varying degrees of dot patterning. Not ‘Grey’ scale as I was anticipating. I think I figured out why. The grey scale method the Snapmakerjs uses is a form of dithering. Not regulating power to achieve a color. Guess that is just my misunderstanding. I wrote my own gcode to produce the above image and this is my result…

This is what I had been expecting. It is a roughly 56mm square with 10mm squares varying from 100% to 4% laser intensity with the 200mW laser moving at 700 mm/minute. I am running a test as I write this of an actual image, not a test pattern, and so far it is actually looking ok. I guess I should just try things instead of overthinking them. I’ll keep playing and see what else I can do. Thanks.
Have a great holiday season - D


Because I am open source enthusiastic, I always prefer an open source software when it exist:

  • FreeCAD for 3D modeling and CNC GCode programming,
  • Inkscape for 2D drawing and prepare laser cutting,
  • Gimp for pictures processing,
  • Slic3r for slicing (I began with Slic3r, and when I have tested Cura, I do not retrieve all the options I found in Slic3r)

For shure, I work on Linux :slight_smile:


I just ran a test with the 200mW laser on the wood stock from the SnapMaker shop.
A ‘calibration’ card.

Power is horizontal and Speed is vertical.

An image done by Snapmakerjs.

It came out pretty good.

The same image done in greyscale in Lightburn.

This looks real nice with the smoother gradients.
I think each is acceptable in its own way. Just depends on your desire for the particular item.


What is the dwell value you are using? I too have a custom g-code that I came up with, but I’m still playing with the dwell value. So far, I tried 28, 38, 40 and 42 but between 70%-100% power I get burns as your 100x100 on the picture above. My speeds are 1200 and 1800, I haven’t tried on lower speeds yet.


Hello @madmax3D.
Just so it’s clear, that card was produced with the 200mW laser head, not the 1.6w version. I’m just starting some calibrations on that one.
The gcode I wrote does not use any dwell value. The head is always in motion and the power intensity is the variable. The first card(with the bigger squares) was my hand written code. For the one with the power level and speed values the same technique was used(no dwell) but was created using a piece of software called Lightburn. I’m using the trial currently and making comments to one of the developers to correct a few things.
power vs (153.0 KB)
This pattern fits in a 40 x 40mm square so I can get 4 of them on 1 side of the materials from Snapmaker. The first thing it does is a low power, 6%, box so you can align the part without marking it. Then the text and finally all the squares. If you open it in something that reads line-breaks(Wordpad in windows) it is much easier to see what it is doing. It also minimizes moves by panning in ‘X’ all the way across and shifting .1mm in ‘Y’ and then panning in ‘-X’ until it works its way all the way to the top.
Hope this helps. -Regards, D


Hi fra589,
if you are using slic3r as your only slicing tool - you must have mastered the setting to work for snapmaker. Can you post your configs for others to use as well?

Background - I’d like to switch to slic3r but get some strange results. I tried adopting the settings from SnapMaker3D as accurate as possible…

Left side is always slic3r, right side same model with SnapMaker3D: