LightBurn Tutorial 16 – 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 tutorials, hints and tips as well as the occasional speed comparisons between it and RDWorks. In this session, we learn all about the LightBurn features, tabs and bridges 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 Tutorial: Using Tabs and Bridges

Transcript for LightBurn Tutorial: Tabs and Bridges

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

0:02functionality in the latest version of

0:03light burn

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

0:06this dinosaur puzzle

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

0:09shapes and have them contained

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

0:14cut out from your material

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

0:17that you can do that is with tabs

0:19a tab is basically just a small section

0:22of any path

0:23where the laser skips cutting for a

0:26brief

0:26distance that allows that shape to stay

0:29connected

0:30to the overall sheet that it was cut

0:31from without falling out

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

0:36of the sheet relatively easily

0:38this was something that could be

0:39somewhat simulated with the perforations

0:42options previously

0:43but the new tabs feature is much more

0:45suited to the task

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

0:48to settings and

0:49uncheck beginner mode otherwise the tabs

0:52features will not show up

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

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

0:59the toolbar

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

1:03must select

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

1:06as you can see these are grouped

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

1:10level of grouping

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

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

1:16and then simply hover over a shape look

1:18for that tabs cursor that shows up

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

1:22like to add a tab

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

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

1:27preview

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

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

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

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

1:37this tab is currently only set to 0.5

1:39millimeters in width

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

1:43depend somewhat upon

1:45the material that you’re using the

1:46thickness of that material it’s

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

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

1:50that the parts

1:51pop out without causing any issues

1:56you can also click and immediately

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

Transcript for LightBurn Tutorial: Tabs and Bridges (Cont…)

2:02that it is

2:04currently being moved you can click on

2:06an existing tab and move it

2:08including to other shapes again those

2:11shapes have to be

2:12previously selected by the tabs tool you

2:15can double-click

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

2:19remove a

2:21and another thing to note with manually

2:23adding tabs is that

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

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

2:28instead of the usual tabs cursor

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

2:32cuts and layers window

2:34the blue cut layer is set to fill

2:37note the tabs will only work with line

2:39mode not

2:40fill and not fill inline

2:44now adding all of these manually to the

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

2:48we’ve got you covered there

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

2:53layer

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

2:56generation section it’s default set to

2:58manual and there’s that 0.5 millimeters

3:00that i mentioned earlier

3:02but instead we can click on automatic

3:05and it will automatically populate tabs

3:07across everything within this specific

3:09cut layer

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

3:13millimeters apart

3:14i can change that to whatever i want

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

3:20every 40 millimeters in this case and

3:22that is basically it breaks down each

3:25shape into its

3:26smallest contiguous path and then we’ll

3:29place a tab

3:30every 40 millimeters along that path and

3:33note here

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

3:36automatic tab

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

3:39previously

3:40another option which is sometimes

3:42helpful for designs like this

3:43is instead of even spacing to use tabs

3:47per

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

3:49option it defaults to one but

3:52i think that three will probably work

3:53better for this and yeah that looks

3:55pretty good

3:56those should stay in there without

3:58falling out but be easy enough to pop

3:59out

Transcript for LightBurn Tutorial: Tabs and Bridges (Cont…)

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

4:01show you right now is the skip

4:03inner shapes option now if i click on

4:06that

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

4:09but i did this very intentionally to

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

4:13to cancel out of this

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

4:17the middle disappeared

4:18is that skip inner shapes will look at

4:20an entire cut layer

4:22and any shapes that are completely

4:25contained

4:26by another shape for example this border

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

4:30of

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

4:34have the tabs skipped on it

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

4:38basically just

4:39select this outer border and then move

4:41it to another cut layer

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

4:46the cut settings

4:48we can turn automatic tabs back on

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

4:55i can select skip inner shapes and now

4:58if you’ll notice

4:59this skull section is actually the one

5:01that i wanted to do this for

5:03there are these intersections that it

5:05doesn’t really matter if those parts

5:06fall out as long as the

5:08overall shape stays within that sheet

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

5:13those intersections

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

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

5:20added

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

5:23again well

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

5:26shapes selected

5:29and i don’t like this tab

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

5:34about that breaking something well i can

5:36just click

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

5:39being moved and move it over there onto

5:41the nose of the skull

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

5:45have turned red

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

5:48can have

5:49either automatic or manual tabs but not

5:52both so moving them will automatically

5:54change it you can confirm that

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

5:58it back to manual you can still see

Transcript for LightBurn Tutorial: Tabs and Bridges (Cont…)

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

6:03we switched back to manual mode which

6:04means that they’re just placed wherever

6:06we put them

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

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

6:12remove

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

6:15needs it now another thing to note now

6:17that these are all manual

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

6:21switch them back to automatic

6:23however if there are manual tabs plus it

6:25will warn you

6:26because it’s going to remove any

6:28manually placed tabs and it will go back

6:30to fully automatic mode so you may lose

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

6:33confirming this

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

6:37other option here

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

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

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

6:44tabs

6:45and now you can see i’m still in tab

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

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

6:51tabs feature thanks for watching

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