LightBurn's Material Library provides a way to store and organize presets for different operations on different materials, and have a way to quickly apply them. To add settings to the material library, you set up a cut layer however you like and save it to a library. You set a material type, thickness (if appropriate), and a short description.
Any library setting can be applied to a layer by selecting the library entry and assigning it to the layer. Settings are copied, so if you need to make edits to the setting you won't hurt the copy in your library - you can edit those independently.
Understanding Material Library¶
Material Library is a simple yet powerful component of Lightburn intended to assist in the management of the laser cutting process.
The first time you launch LightBurn, an empty Material Library is automatically set up and ready for new entries. You can easily add to, edit and manage cut settings in this library. Saved libraries can be loaded and shared from local or network accessed and even cloud based storage for convenience. To get started, make sure you can see the Material Library window.
In the top menu, select "Window" to ensure that "Library" is checked on. If not, select it to turn the window on. This will display the Material Library window in the lower-right of the display next to a box called "Laser".
Assign to layer¶
LightBurn allows you to directly have a layer's settings linked to that of a material library, so that any changes made to your library reflect across your designs without much additional work.
To use this, select an object with the layer you intend to link to, and the material you'd like to link to it in the Material Library, and click "assign to layer".
At the bottom of the Quick Edit area of the Cuts / Layers window, you'll now see an "unlink" button, as well as the location of it within your material library.
If your current selected object has Sub-Layers in any capacity, using "Assign To Layer" will cause the color of selected object to reflect the layer properties (including Sub-Layers) of the linked material.
Assign vs Link¶
When applying settings from a material library to a layer, you have the option to "Assign" or to "Link".
Assigning a library setting to a layer is the equivalent of manually copying settings written in a notebook into the layer settings. Changes to the library will not affect the layer.
Linking a library setting to a layer will make a connection so that if the material setting is changed in the library, the cut settings will also be updated in the linked layer.
Create new from layer¶
LightBurn makes it easy to build out your library using the current cut settings assigned to any cut layer.
- Select one of your cut layers then click the Create new from layer button in the "Library" window.
- Fill out the details sheet providing a Name, Thickness (if appropriate) and a short Description of the cut layer parameters. Once completed, click the Ok button to save this new entry into your library.
- Now you can use this new entry titled "Birch Ply" anytime in the future and easily assign it to a new cut layer.
There are several helpful ways to facilitate adding to and managing your library covered later in the "Manage existing Library" section below.
If your current selected layer has Sub-Layers in any capacity, using "Create new from layer" will assign all Sublayer details to that object, and render with "Multi" in the Cut Settings Editor.
Save a Library¶
As you fill out the Library with your favorite materials, it is always a good idea to periodically save your additions. To do this, click the Save button.
Assign Library settings to layer¶
Now that you have some entries added to your library, you can use them to quickly and easily apply these settings to your work. Settings are copied, so if you need to make edits to the setting you have applied you won't hurt the originals in your library.
Depending on your workflow, you may find it desirable to have several libraries to work from. You can start a new Material Library anytime by clicking the New button at the lower-right corner of the "Library" window. Now you are presented with a new, blank library ready to fill out and save.
Load a Library¶
Selecting Load provides access to your previously saved Libraries. Once clicked, a file finding window will open allowing you to point to a saved library. Select library of choice and click the Open button. Your chosen file will then become the active library for use.
Manage existing Library¶
Existing Library entries can be managed in several helpful ways. Changing existing cut settings and discriptions, quickly duplicating entries, removing unwanted entries or producing copies of the entire library can be done in a snap.
Note: These items are only selectable when "Description" is selected.
Click Edit Cut to open the "Cut Settings Editor". This allows you to change any of the cut settings as you would normally and saves them back to the library.
Click Edit Description to modify the Name, Thickness and Description for the highlighted entry.
Click Duplicate to create a copy of the highlighted entry. This can be helpful in quickly adding to your library.
Hint: Combined with Edit Description and Edit Cut you can keep the same "Material Name" and "Thickness" to create 'nested' entries (e.g. 3mm cut, scan and image). Keeping just the "Name" while changing the "Thickness" allows nesting of different thicknesses of the same material.
Click Delete to remove a single cut setting entry from the library.
Click Save As to create a complete copy of your active library and saves it under a new name of your choice.
Multiple machines/users access to shared Library¶
Multiple machines can access a single Material Library file hosted on a network drive or from cloud service storage (e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive, etc.).
- Create a library on one machine and save it to your network or Google drive, DropBox, etc..
- Point to that saved library file after hitting 'Load' in the 'Library' screen of LB for each machine.
- If you edit that library the changes will be there of both machines as they are pointing to the same file.