Laser cutting New Year’s decoration with PlanetCNC TNG

Holiday season is upon us, and with global warming being more and more aggressive, we cannot rely on much snow during the holidays. This leaves us with no other choice than to make snowflakes ourselves – using paper and CNC laser cutter.

Luckily, PlanetCNC TNG software program feature Image Import  comes in great help, so scissors will not be necessery. Image Import offers all necessary tools to import and process an image file in order to generate suitable gcode for our CNC machining application (laser cutting).

Obtain image

In your web browser search for “Snowflake silhouette”. Choose the one that you like the most.

Click on the image with your right mouse button and select “Copy Image”:

Open PlanetCNC TNG software, and in the gcode window paste this image with right mouse button using “Paste From Clipboard”:

Image import dialog window will open:

Image import configuration



This group of settings offers tools on how the image toolpath will be generated. Since we only want our snowflake to be cutout from paper in a 2D fashion, we select the Outline option.

Image size: 

Original image size in pixels is automatically recognized. User can change image size with Size XY input fields. Note that aspect ratio will be preserved.
I will set new size based on my laser cutter’s workspace.

Edge Detection:

Outline considers only the silhouette of the image, in other words outline of the shape.

Quantize and Single Channel:

Quantize value of 2 means that only two colors will be considered in image processing. This gives us the best possible contrast for outline edge dectection.


Preview button will toggle between the original image and generated toolpath as per current setting configuration:


When we are satisfied with the toolpath, OK button brings us to further import dialogue, where we will configure cutting parameters:

Mind that we will be using laser, so Height parameters are not considered (if laser cutter does not use Z axis).


Speed:  This value represents S value when spindle (Laser) will be turned ON.

Top – Off (Spindle): Laser will be turned OFF for all traverse moves

Bottom – On (Laser): Laser will be turned ON for all feed moves

It is worth mentioning that suitable values are used for Spindle speed as per one’s machine settings.

Click OK, and software will generate gcode toolpath: