Success! I found one of my existing Illustrator files to use as a test subject - what else but a salmon. The file is first exported from Illustrator as a .dxf format. Next, I placed it onto a thumbdrive to import it to the "laser" computer, the one I have decided to keep offline.
From there the .dxf file is loaded into Inkscape, an open source vector graphics program to convert it to Laserdrw file. The file(s) is/are next loaded into Laserdraw, the software provided with the laser.
There are two files: one for a vector engraving of the details, like the fin rays and gills, and a second that is the vector cutting. I exported these as two separate files as I do not believe that Laserdrw supports layers. I was worried that the two files would not align, but they did! the above image is 3mm birch plywood. I don't recall the exact power and speed settings, but I'll post them as a progress. I have opted to stay with this software combination for now. I attempted to install Wood Whisperer, a free laser cutter software, but I could not get it to function properly. There would be advantages to this software, namely not having to do so many steps. I'll safe a reinstall attempt for a moment when I am a little more daring.
Here is the final version cut and engraved from 3mm mdf. Perhaps a little too much burning, but a real solid first real try. Maybe an adjustment of the "Z" axis is in order. Now that I have a degree of confidence with the machine, I will begin some upgrades. I'll most like begin with the exhaust system since that appears to be the weakest, and I don't want to continue to stink up the house.