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Cut Settings Editor

The Cut Settings window in LightBurn is accessed by double-clicking an entry in either the Cuts / Layers window or the Material Library list. The window you see may vary from the screenshot, as different laser features, LightBurn modes (Beginner) or updates can change its appearance and settings.

In the Cut Settings Editor (CSE) you can create, edit, adjust, and clone layers and sub-layers for your projects. This gives you finer control when operating your laser. Line mode follows the vector lines in your design, fill mode scans back and forth to remove material from the "inside" of a shape, and offset fill removes material on the "inside" of a shape following a spiraling pattern based on the outside shape. You can create sub-layers to combine these modes, which replaces LightBurn's older "Fill + Line" option while also opening up many more options.

For a comparison of Line (left) versus Fill (right) modes, see below.

Operating Modes

There are four different 'modes' in LightBurn that choose how the laser will render your design:

  • Line mode - traces along the outlines
  • Fill mode - fills the design with parallel lines
  • Offset Fill mode - fills the design with lines that follow the original shape
  • Image mode - Works similar to fill, but with specific settings for images

In all variations of the Cut Settings Editor, the most basic settings are displayed at the top of the window (speed, power, output toggle, air assist, and mode). The lesser used, more specialized options follow below, and are split into two panes - Common and Advanced.

We'll go through the different settings used in each mode, and explain their use.

Shared / Basic Settings

All layers have a few settings that are the same, regardless of the type of layer.

Speed: how fast the laser will (ideally) move when tracing your design. Depending on your laser, its firmware settings and limits, and the design, it may or may not actually reach this speed.

The next two require a bit of explanation:

Max Power: The power level to run the laser at

Min Power: The power value used for corners, or when moving at low speed (DSP only)

Note: On GCode based systems, you only get the "Max Power" option. On DSP systems, you have the additional 'Min Power' setting, which is used when traveling at low speed, or when moving through corners.

If you are cutting at a low overall speed (for example, 10 to 20 mm/sec on a CO2 machine) the laser might only ever use the 'Min Power' setting, so in that case it is best to use the same value for both. If you are doing 'surface marking' you ideally want Min Power to be just above the firing threshold of the laser, so corners still produce a burn, but without scorching.

Sub-Layers

Sub-Layers allow you to set multiple cut/engraving settings on the same layer & geometry. This can enable the use of single-setup etching & cleanup passes for galvo lasers, as well as staggered engraving, cutting, and other operations for more complex jobs regardless of machine type. You may have up to 11 sub-layers per layer.

Comparison of Sub-Layers vs Single Layer

With the Sub-layer feature, you can configure count, type of pass, speed, frequency, and more, without duplicating geometry in your design.

To make a new Sub-layer, you can either click the plus icon or the duplicate icon (two overlapping pages) in the tabs area of the Cut Settings Editor. The plus sign will create a new sub-layer with default settings, and the duplicate icon will create a copy of the current sub-layer. The minus sign icon on the far right will delete the currently open sub-layer, so long as it's not the only sub-layer.

Main Window Changes (1.2.00+)

When using sub-layers, your Cuts / Layers window will show the mode as "Multi", as seen below. You can quickly reorganize and edit the tabs as you can within the full Cut Settings Editor in the quick settings, at your convenience.