LightBurn Tutorial 12 – Camera Setup

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 are shown how to set up the the LightBurn Camera.

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


A walk-through of the camera calibration and alignment process with LightBurn.

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Setting up the lightburn camera
Setting up the Lightburn Camera

Transcript for The LightBurn Camera Setup

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0:00today we’re going to walk through

0:03setting up camera to use in lightburn

0:05doing the camera lens calibration in the

0:08camera alignment calibration

0:12so the first thing you’ll need to do is

0:13get a web camera usb-connected camera is

0:18the only type that lightburn directly

0:20supports you can get a an external

0:24application that will let you use IP

0:26based cameras we hope to support those

0:28in the future but we have you got that


0:31do be careful when selecting a camera go

0:34into our forums and do a search for

0:36cameras because there are some

0:38considerations for what type of camera

0:40to get depending on which OS you’re

0:42running as well as how you plan to mount

0:45it or where there’s a fair bit of

0:48information in the forums and we will be

0:50providing more on our site as well so

0:54once you have a camera setup connected I

0:57have mine mounted on the inside of my

1:00laser and I’ll show a picture of that

1:01here go to a window and enable the

1:06camera control window and you’ll see it

1:09here this is where it shows up by

1:11default even behind your cut list you

1:14can move this that’s fine if you click

1:17on camera here you should be able to

1:19find the camera that you’ve mounted mine

1:21is called lead to camera

1:23I’m going to pull this window out just

1:26to make this a little bit bigger so you

1:27can see it this camera view is actually

1:31live right now I can move my hand around

1:34underneath it so in order to get lightburn

1:40to take this picture which is

1:42fairly heavily fish-eyed and turn it

1:44into something useful we have to do

1:47what’s called lens calibration and

1:48alignment calibration and those are the

1:51two things we’re going to do next so

1:56go to tools pick calibrate camera lens

Transcript for The LightBurn Camera Setup (Cont…)

2:00and you’ll be presented with this window

2:02choose your camera and you should see

2:04the view here this page is where we do

2:09the lens calibration and you’ll see a

2:12link here that says click here to

2:13download the circle pattern image now

2:15what this is talking about is this this

2:19pattern is what lightburn uses to

2:22measure the distortion of the lens of

2:25the camera and so you can see as I get

2:27close to the sides here this warps a

2:30little bit it looks pretty good in the

2:32middle but on the edges you can see that

2:35the camera that I have right now is

2:36fairly heavily fish-eyed some are worse

2:39this is only a 140 degree lens a 160 170

2:44or 180 are considerably worse and

2:46they’re going to be harder to calibrate

2:48but it’s still possible with this card

2:52you print it out at the size that the

2:55image is originally so it works out to

2:58about a quarter of a standard sheet of

3:01letter paper I have this mounted on foam

3:05board which is just styrofoam with a

3:09paper core on either side or styrofoam

3:11core with paper on either side you want

3:13this to be as absolutely flat as you

3:16possibly can so I’ve just used glue

3:19stick to attach this to foam board the

3:24flatter this is the better your results

3:25if you have this image curved somewhat

3:29like this instead of being nice and flat

3:32like this


3:35code in lightburn that is trying to

3:37compensate for the distortion of the

3:39lens and the camera will instead be

3:42compensating for the distortion of your

3:44paper and you don’t want that it’s going

3:46to affect your results so short version

3:48make sure that this is as flat as you

3:50can get it

3:51alright the next part is up here in this

3:55window you see this checkbox green check

3:59box showing you that you should make

Transcript for The LightBurn Camera Setup (Cont…)

4:01sure that the card is absolutely facing

4:04the camera not at an angle so what that

4:07means is you want this card to directly

4:09face the camera not be tilted slightly

4:11off to one side or the other tilted away

4:14you want it to directly face the camera

4:17and you want it to stay facing the

4:20camera as you move the image around so

4:23you don’t move the image in a circle

4:27like this around the camera you move the

4:31image like this relative to the camera

4:35so if the camera is over here looking

4:37this way I would move this card back and

4:40forth like this

4:43that’s important you want this card to

4:45point as flat at the camera as possible

4:48you can angle it a little bit if that

4:51helps and there are cases where it might

4:53but again as flat as possible is good so

4:57let’s get started

4:58so this little view here shows you the

5:02ideal position for the card for this

5:05particular calibration image that we’re

5:06taking you’re going to take nine

5:08captures maximum you can actually get

5:13away with doing fewer and we’ll talk

5:15about that when we get there this image

5:18is showing you which capture light Byrne

5:20wants you to take and basically what

5:21you’re doing is putting the card so that

5:23it occupies roughly one square of a

5:27tic-tac-toe board and you’re going to do

5:30all nine squares that make sense so hold

5:35the card as still as you can if you can

5:38rest it on something that’s even better

5:41fill approximately the space that it

5:45looks like it’s asking you for there and

5:47hit capture and you’ll see pattern found

5:51and a score now this score you should be

5:54trying to get it as low as you possibly

5:56can it is possible to get numbers that

Transcript for The LightBurn Camera Setup (Cont…)

6:00are point zero six point zero five it’s

6:05not easy but it’s doable and you’ll see

6:08you can recapture here there’s 0.12

6:11that’s actually pretty good

6:12if I tilt this funny hold it a little

6:15weird you see that number goes up quite

6:17a bit if it’s really crap and off the

6:21boundary here you’ll see hey I found the

6:24pattern but

6:25gives me a pretty bad score so hold it

6:29where it’s asking hold it as still as

6:31you can that one’s not bad lighting is

6:36also important and my lighting here is

6:38kind of crap and I apologize for that

6:41there we go so 0.13 that’s great so

6:44click Next

6:46now it’s saying bottom edge so we’re

6:50going to do basically the same thing

6:52that we did before hold the card nice

6:55and flat roughly the size that it looks

6:58in that picture and you capture 0.23 is

7:03actually not a bad score I’m going to

7:06try and get it a little lower

7:13you can also move the image around a

7:16little bit with in the frame sometimes

7:18that helps point one six I’m pretty

7:21happy with that so we’ll click Next this


7:24don’t let the image fool you the picture

7:28in this is quite distorted because this

7:31sample image was from a hundred and

7:34sixty or a hundred and seventy degree

7:36lens but really what like bird is asking

7:38for is this picture over here

7:48it’s not bad I think we can do better

Transcript for The LightBurn Camera Setup (Cont…)

8:02I’m reasonably happy with that

8:05we move on to the next one on the next

8:07side lighting over here is a little

8:09better so this one might improve

8:14that’s pretty good

8:20when you take your first capture you

8:23might have noticed that when I did it

8:24the image here looked really weird and

8:27round and warped don’t worry about it it

8:30corrects as you go so this one up here

8:40that’s a great score so I’m happy with

8:42that now because I have done well and

8:46gotten good scores for the captures up

8:48to this point for the center the bottom

8:51and top and the two sides I have the

8:53option to skip the four corners because

8:56my captures have been really good so I

8:59can either click the skip button or I

9:02can go through and capture images for

9:04these ones as well I’m gonna do at least

9:07one point to one that’s a good one click

9:12Next it’s also worth noting that Lake

9:16Burton doesn’t check which picture you

9:20gave it so I just did the corner down

9:22here I’m gonna skip this one and go to

9:23the next one over here and you’ll notice

9:28it’s asking me for this bottom corner

9:30I’m just gonna do this one up here

9:32that’s great I can click next and I’m

9:36going to skip the next two so we’ve done

9:40the camera lens calibration and now the

9:43next step is the camera alignment now

9:47for that

9:48you need a piece of material I have a

9:52fairly crappy piece of wood that I’ve

9:57placed in my machine roughly centered in

9:59the view of the camera if you have a

Transcript for The LightBurn Camera Setup (Cont…)

10:02large bed try to get a piece of material

10:06that is large enough to cover a fairly

10:09wide area the default for this test

10:13pattern cut is as you’ll see here 200

10:17millimeter square or an 8 inch square

10:18that’s great if you have a little k40 or

10:22something like that but if you have a

10:24large machine you should use the scale

10:27factor here to scale this image up to

10:30fill more of your bed because it’ll give

10:33you better accuracy it will give you a

10:34much better result so I am going to bump

10:40this up to 200

10:44if you have a material or sorry a

10:48moveable Z you may want to set the

10:51material thickness this will shift the

10:53bed a little bit most of the time you

10:55don’t need to do this choose an

10:58appropriate speed and power for the

11:02machine that you’re using this is going

11:04to do essentially a surface engraving

11:07and so I want to use a fairly low power

11:11and a relatively high speed because I

11:14have a 100 watt co2 machine your numbers

11:18will be different than mine I’m also

11:21going to enable air assist when you have

11:26a scale that you think is appropriate

11:29for your machine hit the frame button

11:31and lightburn will run a frame around

11:34the job use that to make sure that your

11:38material is lined up properly in my case

11:42this material or this piece of wood that

11:45I’ve got is actually a little bit small

11:47so I’m going to try a hundred and eighty

11:50and frame that again

11:53looks like I’m actually going to need to

11:56go to 170

Transcript for The LightBurn Camera Setup (Cont…)

12:04and I think that’s about perfect so once

12:08you have lined up the material on the

12:12bed and picked the size that’s

12:15appropriate go ahead and cut it

12:22so make sure that the power and speed

12:26that you choose is appropriate for your

12:28machine and gives you a relatively dark

12:32surface marking you’re going to be

12:35trying to find these targets that it’s

12:38cutting out in the camera view and so

12:42you want to make sure that it’s well lit

12:44and that you can see them

12:46so that you can do the next step


12:56so once you’ve done your cut and you’re

12:58happy with the results

12:59be very careful do not move either the

13:03camera or the targets from this point on

13:05your camera should be mounted to the

13:09laser in such a way that the position

13:11when you are using the camera for bed

13:14capture is always in the same place if

13:17your lid wobbles or doesn’t have hard

13:20stops that may be a problem it will

13:23cause your camera position to shift

13:25slightly and that’s going to affect the

13:27accuracy of your results so do be aware

13:29of that I’m happy with the output here

13:33so I click Next now you can see a crappy

13:37picture of the bed here if you need to

13:39move the head of your laser out of the

13:42way for example so if mine finished here

13:46that’s going to make it difficult for me

13:48to mark the targets so you can use these

13:50buttons to jog or move your laser to one

13:53of the corners when you’re happy with

13:56the image that you see here click

13:58capture and you’ll see a preview of it

Transcript for The LightBurn Camera Setup (Cont…)

14:01over here I’m happy with this I’ll click

14:04Next so now I’m going to use this view

14:08to mark these targets and you can see

14:11that they are numbered the lighting here

14:15is a little terrible I may need to do

14:18this again

14:41that’s much better

14:46so what you’re doing in this view is

14:50just like the preview and lightburn you

14:52can use the click to drag or mouse wheel

14:55to zoom in and out you want to mark

14:58these targets with a little crosshair so

15:02you’re telling lightburn where each of

15:06these marks is in the camera view in

15:09numbered order so be as accurate as you

15:13can be you want to hit dead center and

15:15as close to dead center as you

15:17absolutely can on each of these marks

15:18and you can zoom out to check so that

15:22one’s good and again be careful and take

15:27your time because the more accurate you

15:28do this the better your results are

15:30going to be when you are trying to use

15:34the camera

15:36if you need to reposition a mark if

15:40you’re close to it already double

15:42clicking near it will move that mark and

15:46if you really mess up you can just click

15:49undo last and it will remove the mark


15:59think those are about as good as I’m

Transcript for The LightBurn Camera Setup (Cont…)

16:01going to get

16:04one just touch

16:08when you’re happy with your four marks

16:10click Next and click finish

16:14if you go back now to the camera control

16:16view so I have done the lens calibration

16:21I’ve done the camera alignment if I

16:24click update overlay I now see an image

16:28from the camera projected onto the

16:32backdrop of my page here and these marks

16:37are accurate or should be if I click the

16:41click to jog and zoom in here to a

16:43marker number one and move my laser head

16:47to there you can see in this view the

16:50laser moved to that marker if I look at

16:55my laser right now or take a picture of

16:58it the laser head is exactly in the

17:02center of that mark so if I click show

17:06last position

17:10to move this too


17:14okay that’s as close as it’s going to

17:16get just because I’ve told it to snap

17:18two millimeters I am going to take a

17:22picture of this right now to show you

17:23where my laser is pointing

17:32so you’ll be able to see it

17:36again if I click one of the other

17:39targets like number three

17:47it’s basically perfect so that’s good

17:50so what do you use it for the short

17:56answer is you use this to line up work

17:58on your machine so if I have an odd

Transcript for The LightBurn Camera Setup (Cont…)

18:03shaped piece of material like I do here

18:06for example and I want to do a cut that

18:11matches this very very precisely I’m

18:15going to try to put a circle or an arc

18:21right here around this so I’m going to

18:26put a point here I’m going to put a



18:32I have this turn off that’s why they’re

18:34not showing up

18:40so I’m going to

18:43go into edit mode


18:51try to make this fit nice close to this



19:04all right so it’s not beautiful but

19:07it’ll get the point across basically

19:09what I’m going to try to do is cut a

19:13line right on the outside edge of that

19:16just to demonstrate how close you can

19:20get with this

19:22so I’m going to run this


19:31and you’re going to take a picture so I

19:34can show you where that ended up

19:37and I’m also going to go back to the

19:41camera control view

19:44jog my laser head out of the way and

19:49click update overlay

19:53turn my light off again because that’s

19:55too bright there we go

19:59if I go back to my cut list

Transcript for The LightBurn Camera Setup (Cont…)

20:02and hide this you can actually see that

20:07line right there it’s a little bit out

20:10of focus but that is that line and if I

20:14turn it back on that’s how close we are

20:24so the accuracy is honestly very good

20:31if I toggle it off and on you can

20:32actually see this line here

20:39and the line in lightburn that matches

20:42it the camera image is actually a little

20:44bit blurrier but in real life it’s very

20:48very close so you could use this to

20:53place anything on the bed of the bed of

20:56the laser and perform a cut so as an

21:02example if I wanted to outline this one

21:06with a box if I draw a box around it

21:10just like this

21:16tell it to cut

21:19make sure that I have removed other line


21:25close my lid and click start I’m going

21:33to hide that and


21:38and if I update the overlay you can

21:41actually see the box that I just cut is

21:44right there and the one in lightburn is

21:49right on top of it

21:52and so this opens up the ability to cut

21:56or mark irregular items strange shapes

21:59fit cuts on to oddly shaped materials

Transcript for The LightBurn Camera Setup (Cont…)

22:03like this and so on and that is the

22:06entire point of using a camera with


22:09thanks for watching I hope you learned


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Last updated April 25, 2024


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