Software Installation

There are many options for laser design software, some of the more popular ones are: LightBurn, RDWorks (Ruida), AutoLaser (TopWisdom), LaserCAD (Trocen), CorelDraw, Inkscape, and Adobe Illustrator. There are also some CAD packages that will work as well. LightBurn tends to be one of the most popular, with RDWorks from Ruida right behind it. RDWorks is a free application, written in China, that ships with the machine. LightBurn is an application that is usually purchased separately for $80 and is written and supported in the US (it includes free updates for a year, after that you can continue using it, but you won't be able to install any more updates without paying a $30 renewal fee). LightBurn also has some advanced features that are not available in RDWorks. RDWorks is PC based only, where LightBurn will run on a PC or a Mac. Both packages will allow you to communicate with your laser over an ethernet cable or USB cable.

The installation instructions below are for the PC, so some of the processes will differ on a Mac. Also, on the Mac, you may get a message about LightBurn not being digitally signed. There are two ways to work around this error: 1.) Go to the Applications Folder, right-click on LightBurn, and then click Open Anyway, or 2.) Go into Settings, then Security, then tap the Padlock. On the right-side of the Padlock, you will see LightBurn has been blocked. Click on it, then Allow, and then Lock the Padlock again.

Choose a Connection Method: USB or Ethernet. USB is usually the easiest to set up, and a cable is included with the laser, but ethernet is the fastest and will allow you to place the laser further away from the PC.

  1. Connecting to the laser using USB.

Connect the USB cable to your PC and the other end to the USB port. Please note that the laser has two ports that the cable can attach to. Make sure you are in the USB port and not the UDISK port, otherwise you will not be able to connect to your laser.

  1. Connecting to the laser using Ethernet.

This article, Connecting a Ruida Controller and Lightburn with Ethernet, goes over the steps to assign an address to a controller. This video also goes over the process, but it is less detailed: Quick Guide to Configuring an IP Connection. In the article, they suggest assigning a random IP address, and while this will likely work, it could cause issues later. This is because most routers have DHCP enabled. DHCP automatically assigns IP addresses to machines that are capable of using the protocol. Most equipment (phones, tablets, Alexa, printers, televisions, Netflix, etc) you connect to your network use DHCP. DHCP is typically set up to use all 256 addresses. If DHCP does not know you used an IP address address, it may assign that address to another device, and then that device and your laser will not work correctly (similar to if a hotel booked two guests into the same room). While it's beyond the scope of this document, I would suggest with excluding a range of IP addresses from DHCP, or create a permanent reservation for your laser using its MAC address.

Note: While most modern networked devices will auto-sense, the laser typically does not, so if you are connecting the ethernet cable directly from your PC to the laser, and you are not getting connectivity, you may need to use a crossover patch cable.

Tip: See the Tips and Tricks page for information on how to connect your laser to wi-fi.

  1. Install LightBurn (the process for RDWorks will be similar, but it is not covered here).

a. Download the trial version of LightBurn, here.
b. Install the trial version.
c. Install the USB / FTDI serial drivers (for Windows users only). Towards
the end of the install a window will pop up, be sure to install the USB / FTDI serial drivers. They will NOT install automatically, and are required. Your PC will NOT be able to communicate with the laser without a driver.
Note: If you forgot to install the drivers, simply install LightBurn a second time, and select them during the installation process.
d. Add Your Laser to LightBurn. If you connected a USB cable, select "Find My Laser". If you connected an Ethernet cable, select "Create Manually."
e. If prompted, select Ruida as your device.
f. If using Ethernet, select Ethernet as your Connection Type.
g. Enter the width (X-Axis) and Depth (Y-Axis) of your bed in millimeters.
h. Select the Origin
(X0, Y0). The easiest way to determine this is by turning on your laser and locating the corner the machine first goes to (called Home), and selecting the matching location in LightBurn. Watch this video for more information: LightBurn Tutorial: Machine and Job Origin.
Note: Determining the LightBurn Origin correctly is important, because your image will be mirrored and/or backwards. If you get it wrong, don't worry, you can always change it later by going into the screwdriver/wrench icon. Please note that the Home position is a fixed location and cannot be changed.

  1. Back Up Your Settings Files - EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!

Immediately after you have your software installed, make a backup of your machine settings. If you have an issue later on or accidentally change something, you will be able to reload these settings. Below are the steps on how to do this in both LightBurn and RDWorks.

a. In RDWorks:

i. Turn on your laser and wait for it to finish initializing.

ii. Go to File -> Vendor Settings. If prompted for a password, enter your password (your manual should list this, but some common ones are RD8888, CC8888, and HF8888), and click the Read button, then click the Save button, and name the file "Vendor Settings Backup". Click the Save button. Click the Exit button.

iii. Go into the User tab on the right side, click the Read Button at the bottom, click the Save Button, name the file "Settings Backup", and click the Save button.

b. In LightBurn:

i. Turn on your laser and wait for it to finish initializing.

ii. Go to Edit -> Machine Settings and click the Read button. Then click the Save button and name the file "Machine Settings Backup". Click Save. Click OK to exit.

  1. Software Installation is Complete. For a brief tutorial on LightBurn, visit LightBurn Video Tutorials and LightBurn Walkthrough for Beginners.

Get LightBurn Software: