LightBurn on pi4 running linux

I hate opening a new post on a topic already discussed but i search for lightburn/pi4/linux and could not find much info. I bet this was asked before and i found here and there lightburn that runs on windows installed on pi3/4 but i just wanted to ask, and this comes after two weeks working with lightburn on my home pc, that this is very limiting cause i need lightburn side by side to my laser cutter and i can’t afford another PC for that purpose. I was thinking that since i already have two pi’s for my 3d printers which i trust - they work just great - what are the chances of me using one of these new pi4/4Gb running linux and lightburn - will that work?

I am basically looking for a low cost “controller” to be located near my cutter and windows based pc’s are expensive for hobbyists like myself. i am not making any money from this hobby.

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LB does run on Linux. I’d guess if you can install Ubuntu on there, that would be your best bet. You might be able to customize a linux distro with the appropriate drivers and such to run LB as well, but I don’t know where to begin with any of that.

I see there is a pre-release version of Ubuntu for Pi4.

I need to know what are the chances of running LB on this setup. if there is a high chance that this will work I will purchase a Pi4 and give it a shot. worst case I will use it as my home cinema streamer. I sure hope that this will work and this setup includes the environment that LB needs to run. i don’t see why not and if you ask me - that’s the best combination for the buck

Oz might be able to help you further. Another user… @chaoticmind I think, is rather knowledgeable when it comes to linux. I think @adammhaile knows a thing or two, as well.

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The issue is the processor used in the Raspberry Pis. They use a different architecture from the processor used in PCs. It is therefore not possible to run LightBurn on a Pi natively.

Another forum user has reported successfully running LightBurn on Windows 10 on a Raspberry Pi. This only works because Win10 includes a translation layer that converts the instructions from the PC CPU instruction set to the rPi CPU instruction set. This isn’t ideal and typically suffers slow performance.

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Keep an eye out in your local classifieds or Facebook marketplace for old PCs. They sell cheap or you may even find someone giving one away. Throw Ubuntu on it and you can make a cheap “controller” for your laser.

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Yeah, as “the linux dev” for LB these days I can say with authority that @chaoticmind is 100% correct. There’s no way to do it without us providing an official ARM build. I’ve looked into it actually, but we use libraries that don’t provide ARM builds at the moment so there’s no way.

I too would recommend just buying a cheap computer. I actually just bought a couple $100 Intel Atom based PCs from gearbest.com that would probably work fine. No, not RasPi cheap but not bad. Honestly, if you don’t already have a monitor and such to use I’d really suggest just finding a used laptop for < $200 and throwing the latest ubuntu on it. No, won’t run LightBurn fast but it’ll work fine and then you’ve got everything all in one.

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I test LightBurn on an Intel Atom based machine occasionally to gauge performance. The machine overall is slow, but LightBurn runs well enough on it to run modest jobs. LightBurn is almost entirely run on a single thread (with the exception of communications) so it’s not using the full power of a modern system anyway.

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I see.
I was hoping for having LB on Pi but i guess this is not going to happen any time soon, if at all.
I will see if I can put my hands on an Intel compute stick running ubuntu. i can see i can find those under $100 and will factor in KVM & screen and then decide whether to go with an Atom based laptop or a combination or… i will find an old pc as advised and will take it from there.
As i see it, LB is like a streamer of gcode and all the rest of its functionality is not cpu intensive. i really hoped it would work like my Octoprints streaming for days on end without any issue whatsoever. these cheap pi’s are reliable.

If all you want is a streamer, just get a streamer. LightBurn will happily save GCode for you to use elsewhere.

The GUI is optimized for use with a desktop computer, not a Pi, and some of the stuff it does is actually very CPU intensive - antialiased rendering of bezier curves, for example, is not simple. Repainting the full display at 20 to 30 hz, with dashed lines when you have a selection enabled, doing a path plan for a complex file… I have 25 years of video game and rendering programming behind me, and that’s a large part of why LightBurn is fast - I write it to be that way.

To give you an idea, here’s a video I posted recently in response to another user who complained that they didn’t want to pay money for a piece of software that “only sends files to their laser”, when their laser came with RDWorks, and it supposedly “works just as well”. Note that this other software comes with industrial grade laser controllers, and is reasonably popular:

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I’m pretty impressed that RDWorks didn’t crash tbh.

I chose a file that was light enough to let it finish within a couple minutes. :slight_smile:

Now, That’s an important and impressive video.

And just for the record i want to clarify what i meant about streaming gcode:
I am still using LightBurn on my i5, win10/64 machine, but when it’s time to stream and monitor/control the active job i was hoping to do so on a low cost pc sharing projects folders without locking my pc used for 3D design (fusion and such) while it is streaming.

When streaming, LightBurn builds the GCode into a memory buffer, then just feeds that to the device using another thread. If you don’t have something selected (using the dashed-line animated display) the CPU usage is actually very low, so you should be able to safely minimize the display and use fusion without issues. LightBurn bumps the priority of the streaming thread up to keep it from starving, but it also sleeps regularly when waiting for the controller on the other end to catch up, so it plays nice with other applications.

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Can confirm :slight_smile: Unlike other laser control software I constantly am using my laptop while it’s streaming laser jobs. Did so last night for 3 hours straight while using Premiere Pro and Photoshop the entire time. No problems at all.

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If you’re really looking for an inexpensive x86 options check these:


https://www.amazon.com/x5-Z8350-Fanless-Computer-1000Mbps-2-5-Inch/dp/B07XF4SC2J/ref=sr_1_12?keywords=mini-pc

A search for “mini pc” on Amazon pulls up many options, some really expensive others not so much.

  • Joe
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If you already have the Pi4 and the time to play with it you could try this:

thx! all of this is new to me and i like learning and experiencing new stuff, however even though it looks to be a nice solution that will work i think going with Atom/Celeron based pc will make more sense. i really wished for LB to run natively on Arm based architecture - this would have made more sense to go with a pi for controller/streamer only, but with adding more sw layers and licences for x86 support just to get lower performane makes little sense.

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There are a number of ways to do this but it’s not as easy as putting machine running Lightburn next to the laser cutter. Easiest first:

  1. if you have a network enabled controller on the laser cutter and you already can “control” your laser from inside the house…Setup the rPi next to the laser cutter, get it onto the same network as your regular computer and do remote display. If your house PC is running Linux, open a terminal window and type “xhost +” on your rPi, then you can just ssh into it using the house PC using X11 forwarding option( -X ) and then start Lightburn and the display will show up on your rPi.

You an also you remote control software like VNC. Found this link which might help:

  1. if you laser cutter is not on a network and only has USB, then you will need some way to send USB data over WiFi but better would be wired LAN/Ethernet. There are dongles out there which will allow USB over Ethernet. Once you get Lightburn running over the network, follow the topics listed in the first option.

  2. When using remote control software, RDP is possible to control Windows based computers so you could have Linux on the rPi and Windows on the house PC and remote control the display from the rPi. But there’s usually more setup and configuring headaches as Linux was designed as a networked OS from day one.

  3. untested. you might be able to run something like Pronterface on the rPi and send the gcode generated from Lightburn to it and then use Pronterface to send the gcode and control the laser cutter. There might be other GCode sender apps you could use but that’s what I’ve used on my 3D printers. Maybe OctoPrint would work too.