LightBurn Demo 07 – Splines and Optimize tools

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 LightBurn tutorials, hints and tips as well as the occasional speed comparisons between it and RDWorks. My thanks to the team at Lightburn for allowing me to embed their videos. In this Video we will be taking a look at the LightBurn Splines and Optimize tools.

Contents

It’s a been a while – Here we’re demonstrating support for importing DXF splines, new optimization tools, ordered image dithering, and a couple updates to node editing.

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LightBurn Splines and Optimize Tools
LightBurn Splines and Optimize Tools

Video Transcript for LightBurn Splines and Optimize Tools

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0:00 hey folks it’s been a while so I thought

0:02 it was time to do another LightBurn demo so we

0:06 have a bunch of new stuff in the lightburn

0:08 my folders here DXF support has

0:15 gotten dramatically better

0:17 we now have proper support for DXF

0:22 spline objects so back so as an example

0:27 this file is DXF splines it comes in not

0:33 bad kind of messy the way DXF splines

0:37 work there’s not an easy way to

0:39 translate them into Bezier curves so

0:41 they end up coming in as lots of teeny

0:43 teeny little points this is pretty

0:45 normal and anything like Inkscape or

0:47 other tools do the same thing Lightburn

0:49 however it does have some tools to help

0:52 it so one of the things you can do is

0:55 auto join that allows you to connect

0:59 things that weren’t previously connected

1:02 we also have new optimization tools so

1:06 if I bring up the optimize menu I can do

1:09 a line shape line fit or a arc fit and

1:15 they have nice handy little sliders so

1:17 if you look at these points along here

1:21 for example if I start sliding up the

1:24 arc tolerance they turn into fairly nice

1:27 curves a better place to look actually

1:30 is down here these things would have

1:32 been DX F spline sorry curved objects

1:36 originally if I bring up the optimizer

1:40 all of these shapes over here are

1:44 straight lines and they’ve got any like

1:46 random points in the Middle’s of them so

1:48 if I turn up the line fitter just a tiny

1:51 tiny little bit you can see then almost

1:53 all of those go away and then ditto for

1:55 the arc fit turn that up just a tiny

1:58 little bit and these things turn back

Video Transcript for LightBurn Splines and Optimize Tools (Cont…)

2:00 and displaying handles and so this whole

2:02 file goes from being sixty six hundred

2:04 points down to eighteen hundred points

2:05 which makes it a lot easier to work with

2:08 also some of the stuff in here has

2:11 really

2:11 scale changes so this text here the

2:14 rubber gun this is really small it’s

2:17 only a couple millimeters high whereas

2:21 the overall shape is quite large so you

2:24 don’t want to apply the same level of

2:27 optimization to this shape as you do to

2:30 the overall shape and so you can mix and

2:34 match you kind of select different

2:35 pieces turn the optimizer up really hard

2:37 for some down really low for others and

2:39 so on but generally speaking it works

2:41 quite well it makes all of your shapes a

2:43 lot easier to work with so DXF splines

2:47 and the optimize and join tools I’ve

2:51 added hotkeys for those things to make

2:54 them easier to work with but the cool

2:57 feature of this whole thing is just the

2:59 interactive nature of it if I’ve got an

3:01 object like this that’s got a lot of

3:05 curves or sorry a lot of points in it

3:07 the interactive optimizer makes it

3:12 really nice to figure out kind of a

3:14 happy medium like where your where your

3:17 good points are so if I turn it up too

3:21 high you can see that it gets pretty

3:23 chunky you obviously don’t want that but

3:26 you can count you can see what the point

3:27 counts are over here so turn it up just

3:29 a tiny tiny little bit and you can see

3:31 that the numbers change quite a bit

3:32 turn up the arc fitter a little and you

3:35 can see that the points drop off quite a

3:36 bit more if i zoom in on this now this

3:41 thing still looks like it did but it’s a

3:43 lot less heavyweight it’s a little

3:45 easier to know to edit things like that

3:47 and you can really see it when you do

3:50 something like this if I create a circle

3:52 for example normally a circle is just

3:58 these tangent handles if I tell lightburn

Video Transcript for LightBurn Splines and Optimize Tools (Cont…)

4:00 to convert this object into a cut

4:03 what I end up with is lots of little

4:06 points and so that’s the kind of thing

4:08 that you’ll often see with imported

4:10 shapes from other tools so running the

4:14 optimizer

4:18 I’m running the wrong thing I just added

4:21 the hotkeys and I still don’t even know

4:22 them myself so turn up the arc fitter

4:27 and within just a couple of a couple of

4:30 bumps of the slider you’ve gone from 128

4:33 points down to 7 6 whatever and so

4:37 that’s a much lighter weight object and

4:39 if you look at the 2 dropped over top of

4:41each other they’re basically identical

4:43it does a really good job of recovering

4:45 the curves Oh what else so I added a new

4:52 type of image dithering the important

4:56 Stello here the size a little bit make

5:01 it more manageable the typical setting

5:08 you would use for a continuous tone

5:10 picture like this would be the regular

5:13 kind of noise to the room if I convert

5:16 this to a cuts which lets me see what

5:19 lightburn does to the points you can

5:22 see there’s a few little straggling bits

5:24 out here lines that’s pretty common for

5:27 error diffusers dithering if you’ve got

5:30 pictures that have a really or that have

5:33 really large chunks of solid color you

5:37 end up with these kinds of patterns in

5:39 them sometimes there’s not really much

5:40 that you can do about it however with

5:43 the ordered path toning or dithering

5:49 what you end up with is this so still a

5:55 few little scattered points there but

5:56 they’re not nearly as as eye catching

5: 59 because they’re not in a line so the

Video Transcript for LightBurn Splines and Optimize Tools (Cont…)

6: 02 overall pattern is more ordered and

6:04 consistent this isn’t going to be a

6:07 great choice for everything but it is a

6:09 good choice for some things some

6:12 pictures and so it was nice to be able

6:13 to include it what else

6:18undo undo forever

6:24 those are the two biggest features done

6:27 a couple alone I actually wanted to show

6:31 one more thing let me bring that picture

6:34 back in bring this one back the preview

6:42 window has gotten a time estimate now so

6:46 bring up the preview you can see here

6:49 down in the bottom tells you how much

6:52 distance you’re going to be cutting how

6:54 much distance you’re going to be moving

6:56 and then what the overall estimated time

6:58 is so it thinks it’s going to be about a

7:00 minute to do the cut

7:02 based on the current speeds that I’m

7:04 using that seems about right for this

7:07 thing this is a total wild guess it’s

7:11 entirely based on with the speed that

7:13 you said is and a guess on what your

7:17 rapid moves are it doesn’t take into

7:19 account acceleration or deceleration but

7:23 it’s not terrible and it’ll give you a

7:25 ballpark at least I’ve also set it up so

7:28 that you can double-click the window and

7:31 expand it up you can also now zoom in

7:33 and pan around in here like you can with

7:35 the Edit window which you couldn’t

7:36 before so that makes it a lot more

7:38 useful because you can zoom in on stuff

7:41 that actually makes it quite a bit more

7:44 useful for image cuts so I go back to

7:47 Abbot and Costello here and change these

7:50 guys to be a little smaller generated

7:54 generator cut from that we’ll just do

7:56 the preview so this is the preview

7:58 window that gets produced from that you

Video Transcript for LightBurn Splines and Optimize Tools (Cont…)

8:01 can see these here on the sides are my

8:03 overscan cuts I can turn off the

8:07 traversal moves so you know you’re just

8:09 seeing what the pattern is that it’s

8:11 going to generate but you can zoom in

8:13 and pan around and see much better with

8:17 the shading is going to look like so

8:18 this is useful for image cuts where

8:20 before you end up with stuff like this

8:22 if your cut density was really high if I

8:26 set the DPI setting to be say 450 I go

8:32 back to my preview normally the preview

8:36 would look fairly dense like this

8:38 and sometimes with really dense cuts or

8:40 really dark images it’s hard to see the

8:42 detail so having the ability to zoom in

8:44 really helps out a lot

8:49 that’s the biggest stuff we’ve got a

8:52 couple more devices in the device

8:54 profile I’ve added Marlin support that’s

8:57 still being tested I’ve added fab kit

9:00 support which is also still being tested

9:05 oh no editing this is something that’s

9:09 actually gone in or been being improved

9:12 still pretty terrible but it’s not as

9:15 bad if I convert this object to a path

9:19 so I just made myself this square go

9:22 into the node editing so you could do

9:25 this before and you know I’ve had a line

9:28 tool here for a while where I could

9:30 create lines and do stuff like that but

9:32 it was never great you can now change

9:34 your selection while you’re in node at

9:37 mode which you couldn’t before and the

9:39 latest greatest tool that I’ve got is I

9:41 can click on a point hit s to smooth it

9:43 this is fairly useful helpful for making

9:48 smooth shapes because I don’t currently

9:50 have a tool that will let you draw

9:52 freehand I’m going to be shoring up the

9:56 line editing kind of over the next

9:59 little while to the node editing over

Video Transcript for LightBurn Splines and Optimize Tools (Cont…)

10:00 the next little while because it needs a

10:02 lot of love still but that helps quite a

10:06 bit just the ability to change your

10:08 selection while you’re in that mode

10:09 moving around I think that’s about it

10:13 thanks for watching

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Last updated April 25, 2024

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