Arranging parts on balsa wood and setting wood size

Hi there, new user based off of notification to get users to move from FB to the forum.

I have a few jobs that I want to do on my laser cutter. My machine bed size is 500 x 1000. However I will mostly be using balsa wood planks to be cutting parts from which are of common size for the planks.

ie my balsa wood sheets are 180x900. I would like to somehow setup default balsa sheet size, then set my raster files for the parts to be cut on that plank. Ideally I would like to lay out 3 planks and then somehow optimize the layout of the parts on 4 sheets of balsa wood.

Is this something I can setup in Lightburn? I want to show 1-4 sheets of balsa, then simply place my cut list of parts and have the software optimize the parts on the sheets to be cut.

I hope that makes sense.

LightBurn does not currently have a “nesting” feature, which is what I think you are asking for. There are some software packages you can use, deepnest comes to mind, that you can use, then import the file into LightBurn.

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I have seen how to do nesting using deepnest.

However what I think I am asking about is:

  • (a) making a template in Lightburn to show 4 rectangles (sheets of raw material that parts will be cut from).
  • (b) importing parts to be cut for example ribs for building a wing, then auto arranging them to fit as optimized on the template as in (a).

Auto-arranging is nesting, and does not exist in LightBurn at this time. It’s a complex process to write, so it’s planned, but won’t be completed for quite a while.

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Is there a solution out there that does auto arranging to optimize the material being cut for the parts being cut? I was not aware that auto arranging to optimize space was part of nesting. Thank you for clearing that up.

It’s not “part of” nesting - that’s nesting in it’s entirety, by most of the definitions of it that I know of.

SVGNest and DeepNest both do exactly this. You give them a file with the parts and the “container”, and they arrange the parts into the the container. VCarve Pro will do this, and there’s an extension for Corel that will do it as well, called eCut.

Ah brilliant. Then my understanding of nesting was completely incorrect.

So for clarity on this workflow I create my cutting sheets with nested parts externally, then import into lightburn, my laser then starts cutting direct from lightburn?

Yes I am completely new to laser cutting.

Yes, this is a workflow that you could use. This may help you getting started:

Yes, correct. You’d use LightBurn to apply the final settings for speed & power, grouping, etc.

Thank you Rick. I have watched a fair few of the videos already, however there seems no info or video that I have found yet that simply describes the complete workflow.

For example after designing in Fusion360, I export out the DXF, import into Lightburn, setup the job for cutting, then do I export out the GCode to use in GCode sender that is connected to my laser?

Or does the software Lightburn act as the direct feed to the GRBL controller on the machine?

I have only just finished up designing and building my own machine, so the next step is to fire it up and start learning to cut.

LightBurn acts as a GCode sender for GRBL. You connect LightBurn to the machine and hit Start - it will generate the GCode and send it with a single button press.

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(insert noise of jaw hitting floor) - (insert picture of mouth open and amazed)

Thank you very much for the clarification. This is going to make setting up much easier now.

What he said…

And is this “(insert picture of mouth open and amazed)” what you are looking for? :exploding_head: