K40 Whisperer is an alternative to the the Laser Draw (LaserDRW) program that comes with the cheap Chinese laser cutters available on E-Bay and Amazon. K40 Whisperer reads SVG and DXF files, interprets the data and sends commands to the K40 controller to move the laser head and control the laser accordingly. K40 Whisperer does not require a USB key (dongle) to function.
- Splits input design based on color formating (red,blue)
- In SVG files blue and red paths are interpreted as vectors for vector engraving and cutting. Everything else is transfered as a raster image.
- In DXF files blue paths are interpreted as vector engrave(blue). Everything else is interpreted as vector cut(red). (Everything on layers that have the text "engrave" in the layer name are interpreted as vector engrave.)
- Performs cuts on features inside of other features before cutting the outside features. (If you cut the outside first the part might drop out of the stock material)
- Converts gray scale images to halftone images to simulate varying levels of gray (i.e. engraving pictures). The Halftone option needs to be selected under "Raster"-"Settings" to enable halftoning.
Only boards that work with LaserDRW will work with K40 Whisperer. (Moshi boards will not work)
To see which board you have you can go to "Properties" from the LaserDRW (or CorelDraw) Engraving Manager window and look at which board is selected for the "Mainboard" option. You can also look at the markings on the controller board. (The controller board is the circuit board the USB cable plugs into)
The best way to determine if a laser will work with K40 Whisperer before buying is to check if the laser comes with LaserDRW (Laser Draw) software. If a laser works with Laser Draw it should work with K40 Whisperer.
- Slowed down the movement to return to the zero position after engraving. At high speeds the laser head would sometimes over-run and slam into the hard-stop if the job was started from the home position.
- Added command to stop windows computers from going to sleep while the laser is running.
- Changed the SVG reader so it ignores CSS entry without data instead of throwing an error.
- Added key binding for alt-control-(arrow keys) for moving the laser head independent of the design.
Changes in Version 0.30
- Added rotary settings and check box in advanced settings to enable/disable the settings typically used for a rotary fixture.
- Added option to set rapid speeds in the rotary settings. (zero uses the default controller rapid speed.)
- Fixed SVG reader so hidden layers are hidden. (In some cases they were being shown.)
- Fixed problem that caused excessive memory use when dithering was disabled.
Linux: Setup instructions for Linux are included via the README_Linux.txt file in the "K40_Whisperer-x.xx_src.zip" file.
Mac: Setup instructions for Mac are included via the README_MacOS.md file in the "K40_Whisperer-x.xx_src.zip" file.
(I can't help with Mac specific questions. I have no experience installing software on a Mac.)
1. Create your design in Inkscape.
- Use RED lines to indicate cutting.
- Use BLUE lines to indicate vector engraving.
- Use BLACK to indicate raster engraving (this can be shapes, paths or images)
2. Adjust the size of the document to match the area you want to export (You can use "File" - "Document Properties" - "Resize Page to Content" to make the page the same size as your design)
3. Within Inkscape select "Save" to save the design as an SVG file.
4. Open the SVG file you just saved in K40 Whisperer.
Halftone (grayscale) Images with K40 Whisperer
In addition to red, blue and black, you can also do grayscale with K40 Whisperer.
The stock boards that work with K40 Whisperer are not able to control the power output by the laser.
However, grayscale can be simulated by creating a halftone image (dithering) of the raster image.
Below is an example of an image that was engraved with the Halftone (Dither) option turned on in K40 Whisperer.
In order to generate the halftone image in K40 Whisperer the Halftone setting in the Raster settings needs to be selected.
When the Halftone option is turned on the image displayed in K40 Whisperer will be shown in grayscale.
K40 Whisperer Videos
Making a Design in Inkscape
Engraving a Picture Using K40 Whisperer
Advanced Settings in K40 Whisperer
Using G-Code with K40 Whisperer
K40 Whisperer requires the installation of a different driver than the one that Laser Draw and Corel Laser use. The Setting up K40 Whisperer on Windows page includes instructions for removing the libUSB-win32 driver so that you can go back to the standard programs.