Control Software

Control Software is specific to certain laser controllers and DSP's and is primarily used to control the laser. Some control software has no design or editing function at all and some, like LightBurn, have fairly advanced design functions built in. Some people who use these advanced control applications design in the control app without even using a 3rd party design suite.

Thunder Laser USA machines use Ruida DSP's with our own custom firmware and every Thunder USA laser comes with a LightBurn License Key. The other controller data can be disregarded by Thunder owners.


Some, like ULS and Epilog, have a 'print driver' like interface and works much like sending a print to your printer. Most vector based design software uses colors to designate layers, and the driver interprets the correct colors as to the process that will be performed on that layer.

Chinese machines, Like Thunder's Ruida DSP's are a bit different. They rely on a proprietary control software in most cases. Thunder Laser uses Ruida DSP's with our own custom firmware. Ruida DSP's ship with RDWorks (we also have a Thunder specific version of RDWorks). 

This was the only way to operate a Ruida DSP until LightBurn came along. It was meant to be a much better replacement for RDWorks, but has evolved into the best laser control software for not only Ruida, but Trocen, TopWisdom, and GCode based controllers as well. And LightBurn is fully Windows, Mac, and Linux compatible whereas RDWorks only runs on Windows.

This is why Thunder Laser USA provides a LightBurn license key with every machine. It is the superior control software. And it is also compatible with most design software.

Here is more on LightBurn:


Design Software

Design Software is typically not designed to control your laser and is independent of the laser control software (unless you are using some script, integration, or plug-in, etc.... 

There are vector and raster design suites and many can do raster and vector. Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, AutoCAD, etc... are primarily vector editing applications while photoshop, etc... are raster editors. Here is more on the difference between raster and vector: 

Many Thunder users design exclusively in LightBurn and don't use a 3rd party design software. Some have used Corel for a year (or 20) and want to keep using it, and that is perfectly fine, there is even a macro to integrate lightburn with CorelDraw:

These vector programs like Inkscape, CorelDRAW, illustrator, AutoCAD, etc... can have custom color palettes If using the ULS color palette be sure to default your color space to RGB (and not CMYK) and use the same identical color palette that your laser driver uses because most laser control software uses the RGB color space but we did confirm that LightBurn software can use RGB and/or CMYK modes.