5500mw laser how to work in lightburn

I am a complete newbie when it comes to this and I am trying to gain all the information needed. So I just received my 5500mw cnc 3018 pro that is running GRBL 1.1. I want to mainly use the lasering for engraving. I have been watching the tutorial videos from lightburn which are very informative. I am doing the wifi password test one. Since again I am completely new to this, I am not sure exactly what I am doing. So when I run the machine settings using $$ I get all the codes which are as follows:

Do these need to be changed? I have been trying to contact who I purchased it from but have not been successful as they have not been responding. Anyways with the test of the wifi code engraving and cutting, I have 3 layers. For each of these 3 layers, I do not know what my actual settings should be for the individual layers itself. Like for the speed it has a default i assume of 6000mm/min and max power of 20%, all the layers have those same default settings. So how do I know what those settings need to be for it to work properly? I appreciate all the information given.

We have a FAQ entry for using 3018’s with LightBurn here:

Go through those to start with, and if you’re still having trouble let us know.

Trial and error, honestly. SainSmart might have some numbers posted for their system that work. The 3018’s have a maximum speed limit that’s lower than most, so many of the power / speed numbers you find for diodes will be too quick for you to use directly.

How do I change the settings? just type for example $32=1?

Yes, you can just type the command in the console like that and press enter. You can also use Edit > Machine Settings to make changes, then click ‘Write’ to commit them to the machine. You’re editing the same things in either case, but the Machine Settings is a little more visual.

How do I find out the max speed limit?sorry for all the questions

“With the 3018 CNC systems, many I’ve seen have the maximum speed limited in the firmware to a very low number, like 8.3mm / sec.”

“You can fix this by either reducing your speed to the hardware limit, or increasing that limit in the firmware settings.”

"The settings are here: https://github.com/gnea/grbl/wiki/Grbl-v1.1-Configuration#110-111-and-112--xyz-max-rate-mmmin

You can set them in Edit > Machine Settings in LightBurn."

my $110 & $111 shows 1000 for both. So I need to change that to 500 in your settings directions?

Can you tell us what the $100 / $101 settings are? That will dictate how fast the machine can possibly go.

The $110 and $111 settings are the speed limit, so don’t lower them, it just means that if you tell LightBurn to run a job faster than that, it won’t be able to hit the requested speed, so it’ll lower the power output instead.

Oh ok! So I will leave that alone. The $100/$100 settings are 800 for both.

Thank you for all of your assistance. This is actually helping me learn the machine better.

If your machine uses 800 steps per mm, the fastest you can set the $110 and $111 settings is about 2200 mm/min. GRBL on an 8 bit chip can pulse the steppers at a max of 30000 steps per second. At 800 steps per mm, that’s 37.5 mm/sec, or 2250 mm/minute (37.5 * 60 secs in a minute).

So you should be able to safely set the $110 and $111 settings to 2200, and use that as your fastest speed in LightBurn.

awesome! Thank you so much for your assistance. Now that I have a better understanding with that. What would you suggest be a good starting point for engraving with putting the speed. Right now I have it at 500mm/m speed and 80% power. Is that a good starting point or no?

Also is there a file or anything where i can do like a test engrave with different settings?

The settings will be different for every material, and will depend on what you’re trying to do - just mark the surface, deep engrave, cut, etc. The best thing to do is play with it.

This should help:


Perfect. so when I open the file, I change the layer settings. What is my starting and end point?

I don’t have your machine, so I honestly couldn’t tell you. Start with I would run some tests at 2000mm / min, with different power settings to see how well that works, and go from there.

Going twice as fast is the same as reducing the power by half, and going half as fast is the same as doubling the power, so you can affect the result by changing power, speed, or both.

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Thank you again for all your help. I am going to try the file you sent and go from there. If I have any other questions I will be sure to ask.

Sorry, another question. So for each line I would change the speed and power when doing the scale? I’m not sure if that made sense

I was able to find the power scale tutorial.

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