Can Lightburn be used to run a CNC plasma cutter as well as a Laser cutter

Hi, All I’m only new to this so please bear with me.
Can I use Lightburn to run a CNC Plasma cutter as well as a laser cutter
I’m trying to streamline the operation and running so my wife and I only have to learn one programe.
I assume you should be able to switch between machines just like having to select between two printers on the same network.

Thanks in advance

I bet it could if you ran the plasma cutter off of a laser controller that it supports. The only thing you would not have is THC possibly. I keep meaning to find myself a a spare Ruida controller to build a LightBurn controlled plasma cutter. I have the plasma cutter, the motion control, the steel, and LightBurn. I just need a controller and time.

The first question to ask is which Controller does your CNC Plasma cutter use? If it’s a GRBL based controller, then, the first order problem is solved and LB can drive your cutter’s Torch On/Off, X,Y, and Speed commands.

@Stroonzo hit on the second order problem and that is control of THC & Z, but there’s also Pierce Delay (a vital parameter in PC) that doesn’t have any direct mapping to LB controls.

As far as I know, there is no published means to modify post processors for LB. If this is true then you’d be hard pressed to tailor a PP to work optimally with your PC.

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Ha! I was going to mention that as well, but I thought… info overload :slight_smile: Oh, and Pierce Delay with Pierce Height / Power specificity.

I have CNC plasma cutting working reliably and fluid with LB.
My CNC system consists of:

See this post for full details: Update on plasma use case success, albeit post processing gcode

I’m happy to answer questions and offer assistance for anyone interested in replicating the process.



Ok, that setup makes sense as it isn’t ‘run’ by LB. LB is simply the ‘CAD/CAM(partial)’ tool.

Where do you set the material parameters (ie, Pierce Delay, etc)?

@TomWS Lead-in, cut starting point, and cut direction are set/managed by LB feature and editing.
Torch Probing, Pierce Height, Pierce Delay, Initial Torch Height, are set in the custom VIM macro.
And because of the THC design/model that I have, I also use a preRetract Delay after the cut; the reason for this delay is to allow time for the THC to switch Z control back to the CNC controller.
I edit the custom VIM macro file for adjusting to different material types and thicknesses. Crude but effective :slight_smile: Most of my cutting involves artsy crafty projects using 18ga - 10ga mild steel, and I’ve found the PH, ITH, and PD to be good enough at a common setting for all. Soon I’ll be cutting some 0.250 mild steel, and I suspect some of that may change a bit.

Notable point: The Proma SD THC has a settable Delay parameter, which I find works best at 3.0 seconds. This means the THC won’t switch the Z control wires to internal for that delay period, which is why the PH to ITH transition works, but this delay also keeps Z from moving in short cuts where the plasma arc voltage can fluctuate somewhat and where the cut material is not likely to have warped yet from the heat.

I suppose one could plasma cut without a THC or the per-cut torch touchoff routine, in which case LB’s Cut-Through feature would suffice as the pierce delay, but there would be no Z moves for transition from PH to ITH.

Thanks for the explanation. Pretty much what I figured. I sent you a PM re the post processor. We can discuss that offline…

Thanks everyone for the input, seems to be a lot to take in and digest. I’ll have a talk to my staff and see whether they want to learn another program or i start to reconfigure what we already have setup on the plasma cutter