Tutorial 16 – LightBurn Tabs and Bridges

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. In this session, we learn all about the LightBurn tabs and bridges features, to keep your parts in place.

My thanks to the team at Lightburn for allowing me to embed their videos.

Contents

How to use the new Tabs (also called Bridges) feature in LightBurn to create small gaps in cuts, to prevent parts from releasing from your material before you’re ready.

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Lightburn tutorial: using tabs and bridges
LightBurn Tabs and Bridges Tutorial: Before Adding Tabs
Lightburn tabs and bridges - tabs placed every 40mm
LightBurn Tabs and Bridges – Tabs placed every 40mm

Transcript for LightBurn Tabs and Bridges Tutorial

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0:00 today we’ll be going over the new tabs

0:02 functionality in the latest version of

0:03 light burn

0:04 let’s take for example that you’ve got

0:06 this dinosaur puzzle

0:08 you’d like to cut out each of these

0:09 shapes and have them contained

0:11 in this larger section of panel that’s

0:14 cut out from your material

0:15 and have them not fall out now the way

0:17 that you can do that is with tabs

0:19 a tab is basically just a small section

0:22 of any path

0:23 where the laser skips cutting for a

0:26 brief

0:26 distance that allows that shape to stay

0:29 connected

0:30 to the overall sheet that it was cut

0:31 from without falling out

0:33 but for it to be able to be pushed out

0:36 of the sheet relatively easily

0:38 this was something that could be

0:39 somewhat simulated with the perforations

0:42 options previously

0:43 but the new tabs feature is much more

0:45 suited to the task

0:46 now before we move on you may need to go

0:48 to settings and

0:49 uncheck beginner mode otherwise the tabs

0:52 features will not show up

0:54 now that we’ve done that you can see

0:56 there is now an add tabs button over on

0:59 the toolbar

1:00 so to add tabs you can click on that you

1:03 must select

1:04 the shapes you want to add tabs to first

1:06 as you can see these are grouped

1:08 that’s okay this will work across any

1:10 level of grouping

1:11 you can also do a box selection of the

1:14 shapes that you’d like to add tabs to

1:16 and then simply hover over a shape look

1:18 for that tabs cursor that shows up

1:20 and click along the path where you’d

1:22 like to add a tab

1:24 now you may want to know what this looks

1:25 like in practice so we’re going to go to

1:27 preview

1:28 we’re going to zoom in on that vertebrae

1:30 section there’s not much to see at first

1:32 but once i get closer you can see here

1:34 there’s a small section that it skips

1:37 this tab is currently only set to 0.5

1:39 millimeters in width

1:41 and the size that that needs to be will

1:43 depend somewhat upon

1:45 the material that you’re using the

1:46 thickness of that material it’s

1:48 something that you’ll have to play with

1:49 a little bit to get it just right so

1:50 that the parts

1:51 pop out without causing any issues

1:56 you can also click and immediately

1:59 move a tab you can see that blue denotes

Transcript for LightBurn Tabs and Bridges Tutorial (Cont…)

2:02 that it is

2:04 currently being moved you can click on

2:06 an existing tab and move it

2:08 including to other shapes again those

2:11 shapes have to be

2:12 previously selected by the tabs tool you

2:15 can double-click

2:16 to remove a tab you can shift-click to

2:19 remove a

2:21 and another thing to note with manually

2:23 adding tabs is that

2:25 if i come over here and hover over the

2:26 text you’ll see there’s a warning cursor

2:28 instead of the usual tabs cursor

2:30 that’s because if we look over in the

2:32 cuts and layers window

2: 34 the blue cut layer is set to fill

2:37 note the tabs will only work with line

2:39 mode not

2:40 fill and not fill inline

2:44 now adding all of these manually to the

2:46 entire sheet would be kind of a pain and

2:48 we’ve got you covered there

2:50 so if instead we double click on the cut

2:53 layer

2:54 you can see that there’s now this tab

2:56 generation section it’s default set to

2:58 manual and there’s that 0.5 millimetres

3:00 that i mentioned earlier

3:02 but instead we can click on automatic

3:05 and it will automatically populate tabs

3:07 across everything within this specific

3:09 cut layer

3:11 right now we’re set to even spacing 50

3:13 millimetres apart

3:14 i can change that to whatever i want

3:17 as you can see it’s going to place them

3:20 every 40 millimeters in this case and

3:22 that is basically it breaks down each

3:25 shape into its

3:26 smallest contiguous path and then we’ll

3:29 place a tab

3:30 every 40 millimetres along that path and

3:33 note here

3:34 the green marks denote that it’s an

3:36 automatic tab

3:37 as opposed to a manual tab which you saw

3:39 previously

3:40 another option which is sometimes

3:42 helpful for designs like this

3:43 is instead of even spacing to use tabs

3:47 per

3:47 shape so i’m going to click on that

3:49 option it defaults to one but

3:52 i think that three will probably work

3:53 better for this and yeah that looks

3:55 pretty good

3:56 those should stay in there without

3:58 falling out but be easy enough to pop

3:59 out

Transcript for LightBurn Tabs and Bridges Tutorial (Cont…)

4:00 and the last option that I’m going to

4:01 show you right now is the skip

4:03 inner shapes option now if i click on

4:06 that

4:07 that’s not exactly what you would expect

4:09 but i did this very intentionally to

4:11 make a point here so for now we’re going

4:13 to cancel out of this

4:15 and the reason why all of the tabs in

4:17 the middle disappeared

4:18 is that skip inner shapes will look at

4:20 an entire cut layer

4:22 and any shapes that are completely

4:25 contained

4:26 by another shape for example this border

4:29 that we’re going to cut everything out

4:30 of

4:31 any shape that’s inside of that will

4:34 have the tabs skipped on it

4:35 so the solution to that is we need to

4:38 basically just

4:39 select this outer border and then move

4:41 it to another cut layer

4:43 once we’ve done that we can go back into

4:46 the cut settings

4:48 we can turn automatic tabs back on

4:51 we’ll go back to tabs per shape and

4:55 i can select skip inner shapes and now

4:58 if you’ll notice

4:59 this skull section is actually the one

5:01 that i wanted to do this for

5:03 there are these intersections that it

5:05 doesn’t really matter if those parts

5:06 fall out as long as the

5:08 overall shape stays within that sheet

5:10 and this allows us to skip those tabs on

5:13 those intersections

5:16 now another thing that you can do let’s

5:18 say that we’ve got these automatic tabs

5:20 added

5:21 i’m going to select all of the shapes

5:23 again well

5:24 try to there we go we’ve got all the

5:26 shapes selected

5:29 and i don’t like this tab

5:32 right here on the tooth i’m worried

5:34 about that breaking something well i can

5:36 just click

5:37 drag it turns blue to show that it’s

5:39 being moved and move it over there onto

5:41 the nose of the skull

5:42 and as you can see all of these tabs

5:45 have turned red

5:46 denoting that they’re now manual a layer

5:48 can have

5:49 either automatic or manual tabs but not

5:52 both so moving them will automatically

5:54 change it you can confirm that

5:56 going into the cut settings it’s changed

5:58 it back to manual you can still see

Transcript for LightBurn Tabs and Bridges Tutorial (Cont…)

6:00 it’s greyed out tabs for shape three but

6:03 we switched back to manual mode which

6:04 means that they’re just placed wherever

6:06 we put them

6:08 so for example you can add more tabs to

6:11 shape if you think it needs it you can

6:12 remove

6:13 tabs from a shape if you think that it

6:15 needs it now another thing to note now

6:17 that these are all manual

6:19 if we go back to the cut settings we can

6:21 switch them back to automatic

6:23 however if there are manual tabs plus it

6:25 will warn you

6:26 because it’s going to remove any

6:28 manually placed tabs and it will go back

6:30 to fully automatic mode so you may lose

6:32 some of your placements that’s why it’s

6:33 confirming this

6:34 so i can click yes and confirm that the

6:37 other option here

6:38 is that there’s clear tabs so if at this

6:41 point i’ve decided i don’t want any tabs

6:42 on this cut layer i can click on clear

6:44 tabs

6:45 and now you can see Transcript for LightBurn Tabs and Bridges Tutorial (Cont…) still in tab

6:47 mode but we can’t see any tabs here

6:49 they’re all gone so that’s it for the

6:51 tabs feature thanks for watching

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Last updated August 26, 2021

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