Important Concepts

So far, you are familiar with designing in EagleWorks, but you may still have questions about how the software maps your designs to cutting and engraving. We will show you some most important concepts in this section, to answer your questions and help you use EagleWorks properly.

  1. Laser processing modes
    First of all, you need to get familiar with the laser processing modes, which mean what a laser can do on laserable materials. EagleWorks supports laser cutting and engraving, here is a definition of laser cutting on Wikipedia.

    Laser cutting is a technology that uses a laser to cut materials. Laser cutting works by directing the output of a high-power laser most commonly through optics. A typical commercial laser for cutting materials would involve a motion control system to follow a CNC or Gcode of the pattern to be cut onto the material. The focused laser beam is directed at the material, which then either melts, burns, vaporizes away, or is blown away by a jet of gas, leaving an edge with a high-quality surface finish.

    Laser Cutting

    And here is a definition of laser engraving on Wikipedia.

    Laser engraving, which is a subset of laser marking, is the practice of using lasers to engrave an object. The technique does not involve the use of inks, nor does it involve tool bits which contact the engraving surface and wear out, giving it an advantage over alternative engraving or marking technologies where inks or bit heads have to be replaced regularly.

    Laser Engraving

  2. Vector graphics
    EagleWorks supports both cutting and engraving on vector graphics, depending on the technology set on the layer of the shapes. Here is a definition of vector graphics on Wikipedia.

    Vector graphics is the use of polygons to represent images in computer graphics. Vector graphics are based on vectors, which lead through locations called control points or nodes. Each of these points has a definite position on the x- and y-axes of the work plane and determines the direction of the path; further, each path may be assigned various attributes, including such values as stroke color, shape, curve, thickness, and fill.

    The example below is an artwork of our logo imported in EagleWorks, there are two layers, the black and the blue, in this job. We set the laser processing mode of the blue to Scan, which means engraving, and the mode of the black to Cut.

    Vector Graphics


    The shapes of a layer which is set to Scan will still appear as vectors by default, check Graph Hatch in the pulldown-menu Config to let the software display them as filled.

  3. Images
    EagleWorks supports only engraving on images. Here is a definition of images on Wikipedia.

    In computer graphics, a raster graphics or bitmap image is a dot matrix data structure, representing a generally rectangular grid of pixels, or points of color, viewable via a monitor, paper, or other display medium. Raster images are stored in image files with varying formats.

    The example below is a photo of Audrey Hepburn imported in EagleWorks, in a BMP layer with the laser processing mode set to Scan.


    Engraving with laser is much different with printing with ink, there is no color applied on materials, laser expresses colors by etching material in different depths or densities. To map colors of an image to different depths, we convert colors to gray scales, and then map gray scales to laser power levels. But in practice, it is usually very difficult to control laser power precisely at a high rate of change, especially for some kinds of laser, such as the CO2 glass laser which is widely used in laser machines. The better choice is to map colors to different densities. A technique called halftone is often used to simulate gray scales by the use of black dots, varying either in size or in spacing, in a result of a gradient like effect. In the pictures below, the left one shows halftone dots, the right one shows what human eyes would see from a distance far enough.

    Halftone Illustration

    The example below shows the original and the halftoned photos of Audrey Hepburn.

    Original Image

    Halftoned Image

  4. Coordinates and job origin
    Every laser has a coordinate system set up on its work area, you must set up an exact same coordinate system, called machine coordinates or absolute coordinates, on the draw area in EagleWorks to map the laser.

    Machine Coordinates

    Laser controllers support standard Cartesian coordinates and its variants, laser manufactures use one of them according to their machine.

    To set up machine coordinates, click System Setting in the pulldown-menu Config, in the page Configuration, use the 4-dots control in the section Homing position to set the position of the machine origin. And then you will see a coordinate sign at the corresponding position of the draw area, refer to The Draw Area for more details.


    In practice, people are often used to set a position in the work area from the laser, called programmed origin, where you want your job to be aligned. And there comes the job origin in EagleWorks, which tells the machine how to position the job relative to the programmed origin.

    Programmed Coordinates

    Click System Setting in the pulldown-menu Config, in the page Configuration, use the 9-dots control in the section Laser head to set the job origin. And then you will see a green square at the corresponding position of the job, refer to The Draw Area for more details.


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