LightBurn Demo 11 – Boolean Operators

The Lightburn Software Series

The Lightburn Software is probably the best generic laser cutting software available (I use it for almost all of my laser work). This series has tutorials, hints and tips as well as the occasional speed comparisons between it and RDWorks. In this session, we take a look at the LightBurn Boolean Operators features. My thanks to the team at Lightburn for allowing me to embed their videos.

LightBurn Boolean Operators - Classic Application
LightBurn Boolean Operators – Classic Application

Contents

A demonstration of the new LightBurn Boolean operators, with a detailed look at how Union and Weld differ, and demos of the new Subtract and Intersect features.

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LightBurn Boolean Operators -Stencil Font Application
LightBurn Boolean Operators -Stencil Font Application

External Resource Links

https://lightburnsoftware.com/pages/trial-version-try-before-you-buy

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LightBurn Boolean Operators - Advanced Grid Background Application
LightBurn Boolean Operators – Advanced Grid Background Application

Video Transcript

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0:01 Today we’re going to demo the new

0:04 Boolean features in LightBurn and talk about

0:07 the new union feature new subtract and

0:11 new intersect and describe a little bit

0:15 about why Union is different than weld.

0:17So what is a Boolean? A Boolean operation

0:21 is something you do between two shapes

0:25 to produce an interesting result so for

0:28 example everyone who’s used lightburn

0:30 is probably already familiar with weld

0:32 we’ve changed the icon to show the

0:35 difference between weld and union they

0:38 are very similar and they use them for

0:40 similar things but there are a few

0:41 critical differences that we’ll cover so

0:44 first of all well keeps the outline of

0:48 existing shapes now one of the nice

0:51 things about weld is that you can use it

0:53 for many shapes for example if I copy

0:57 and paste this circle a lot select all

1:01 of these shapes and hit the weld button

1:04 I keep the outline of the entire thing

1:06 now that’s fantastic and it’s very

1:10 useful however something that a lot of

1:13 people try to do and fail at and now let

1:16 me import this piece of art is something

1:20 like this so this is a pretty common

1:23 thing people want to make design with a

1:25 name embedded in it and it’s a very

1:28 common operation to try to weld the text

1:31 with the outline and now the problem

1:34 with this is it fails if I select all of

1:36 these and weld them you end up with this

1:39 and here’s why this is what we call an

1:43 ambiguity so weld doesn’t know whether

1:47 you intend to weld this shape with this

1:51 shape or whether you intend to weld this

1:59 shape with this shape and that’s the

2:02 problem because you have three

2:04 disconnected items here and you haven’t

2:08 specified that these two belong together

2:10 and not these two weld

2:15 I used to do the smart thing and it

2:17 doesn’t always work it basically tries

2:19 to sort things depending on whether they

2:22 are considered inside or outside each

2:24 other and what ends up happening is

2:26 because this shape is slightly outside

2:29 of this one it gets kept and this one

2:35 gets pulled out so essentially this

2:36 shape gets pulled out because this one

2:38 overlaps this one and then these two get

2:41 capped and this one gets kept separately

2:43 and you can see that if you tried to

2:46 keep this and then put this as an

2:49 outline over top of this you would erase

2:54 those letters and we get the result that

2:55 we saw now if there was a way that you

2:59 could tell the weld feature that these

3:01 two shapes belong together and you

3:05 wanted them welded with this you get

3:08 something like this instead and this is

3:10 what everybody’s been after and hasn’t

3:13 been able to achieve yet but again with

3:15 the new union feature Union and all of

3:18 the other bully ins that we’ve got

3:20 including subtraction and intersection

3:22 work on only two objects at a time and

3:25 the key is that those objects can be

3:28 groups so in this example what we

3:32 started with was three individual

3:34 objects and that is these two ovals and

3:38 this text by grouping the two ovals

3:42 together to make them a single object

3:47 we’ve told the Boolean system this is

3:50 one item and this is the other item if

3:54 you select the two and you use the Union

3:56 feature now you get the result that

3:59 you’re looking for weld is still useful

4:02 because it will do multiple overlapping

4:05 shapes at one time whereas the Boolean

4:09 operations can only do two shapes at one

4:12 time there is a reason for that the

4:15 biggest reason is when using subtract

4:18 you need to say I want to subtract one

4:22 object from another object and the order

4:24 is important so for example I can say I

4:27 want this

4:28 object with this one subtracted from it

4:31 and I get that and that is a different

4:35 result than if I say I want this object

4:38 with this one subtracted from it I get

4:41 that result and then intersection the

4:45 order matters less but intersection

4:47 keeps the overlapping area of two shapes

4:49 and so you can see here this overlap

4:51 between these two is what intersection

4:54 keeps and that one is likely the least

5:01 useful of them although it does still

5:04 have its uses intersection is still

5:06 pretty handy in a few cases but I feel

5:08 like weld and suppressor a union and

5:11 subtract are going to be the ones that

5:13 most people want so a better example of

5:17 what you would use subtract for first

5:21 example if you are trying to create text

5:25 with a stencil so let’s do this is an

5:31 outline I’m going to draw draw some

5:37 script it to text make it larger so if I

5:47 was trying to create a stencil to paint

5:51 something with if I cut this out the S

5:56 is a single entity these letters here

5:59 are all single entities but when we get

6:01 over here is P has a small island in the

6:04 middle of it as does the E and the D

6:06 those small islands will fall out of our

6:11 stencil these pieces will not be kept so

6:14 if I scan this you can see this black

6:16 area is my stencil and if I was to try

6:19 and paint through these openings in the

6:22 stencil all of this would work

6:24 wonderfully except here and here and

6:27 here these items will fall out so the

6:31 way you fixed that is by making small

6:34 cuts very much like a typical stencil

6:37 font now in lightburn you can do that

6:39 by creating small sliver

6:42 boxes rotating them a little bit if you

6:45 need to I’ll place this here and then I

6:50 can say I want to take this and subtract

6:52 this use the subtraction operation and

6:55 now I have a little connection between

6:57 those two if you were to beat that for

6:59 the E and the D you now have a

7:02 connection between those two and it

7:05 works much better as a stencil so that’s

7:07 one very good example another is

7:11 something that recently came up on the

7:14 forums so I’m going to bring in a

7:17 different piece of art so first of all

7:20 the user wanted to create a pattern

7:22 background now with the grid feature we

7:27 can do this fairly rapidly so I’m going

7:30 to create a couple of hexagons that are

7:35 spaced apart for 50 switch the

7:44 y-direction and create some rows shift

7:48 these so they are 25 offset pack things

7:53 up a little tighter so now I’ve made my

7:57 spacing between hexagons basically even

8:00 to reduce that by one and increase this

8:04 so I get a nice pattern square so I now

8:08 have a pattern of hexagons I scan that I

8:11 get this if I put an outline around this

8:15 will actually make it an interesting

8:17 outline using the offset that’s in color

8:23 I get this so this is the kind of

8:26 pattern that I want this looks great

8:29 actually I’m going to make this just a

8:32 little bit different that just a

8:34 slightly larger so now I want to draw a

8:44 shape on top of this so I’m going to

8:46 import the lightburn dragon

8:53 [Music]

8:55 this little larger now if all of these

9:02 were on the same liquor and I preview I

9:06 get a jumbled mess because the way that

9:09 lightburn does its scanning is it

9:12 alternates between off and on as it

9:15 passes every single boundary and so

9:18 because these are all on the same layer

9:20 as it crosses across these hexagons and

9:22 into the lightburn dragon shape you end

9:24 up with this strange toggled inverting

9:29 effect not what I want so if I make

9:32 these so that they are on their own

9:34 layer now they will be scanned

9:36 independently but this is still not what

9:39 I’m looking for what’s actually going to

9:41 happen is it’s going to draw the dragon

9:44 and then draw all of those hexagons and

9:46 so I’m going to get double burn in these

9:48 areas and it’s also still not very good

9:51 not very visible so here’s what you

9:55 would use subtract 4 I’m going to create

9:58 an outline using the offset tool snug it

10:02 up fairly close to the dragon shape and

10:07 then with that outline I’m going to

10:11 select the hexagon grid then select the

10:15 outline and say I want to subtract the

10:18 outline from the grid now everywhere

10:22 that that dragon exists and a slight

10:25 offset from it you can see that the

10:28 hexagon grid has been removed so if I

10:30 preview this I get a very nice isolated

10:33 design in the middle with no overburn

10:36 and so these two things are in fact now

10:39 separate and if I put them on the same

10:42 layer so that they scan at the same time

10:44 they are still separate there’s no

10:46 double burn here so you get a nice clean

10:51 isolated design it helps with cleaning

10:56 up pretty much any background now this

10:57 only works for vector shapes but still

11:01 very useful and if you have an image

11:02 that you are trying to engrave and

11:06 isolate

11:07 there is a chance that you could use the

11:08 trace feature to turn the image into

11:11 vectors and these Boolean operations

11:14 will still work on fairly complicated

11:16 shapes including a traced image so there

11:20 you go the quick walkthrough of the new

11:23 weld Union subtract and intersection

11:28 features in my part thanks for watching

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Last updated April 25, 2024

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