Noob needing help please

Hi all complete noob here, so if I am asking stupid questions please forgive me.
Could someone tell me how to get Lightburn to talk to my Tronxy XY3 SE 3D printer and engraver please? I have tried connecting automatically and manually, but nothing seems to work they just won’t communicate to each other. Can someone give me a step by step idiots guide to connecting them please?

Many thanks, Martin.

Check a few things:

  1. Make sure your device is being detected by Windows in Device Manager and is providing a port. Make note of the port. If no such device is detected you probably need to install a driver. This is normally not necessary with Windows 10+
  2. Marlin devices are typically a little finnicky with connection settings. Go to Edit->Device Settings and experiment with these settings:
    2a. Enable DTR Signal
    2b. Baud rate
    2c. Transfer Mode → Synchronous
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Nope, still nothing. Just the error message “There was a problem sending data to the laser. The machine may be busy or paused.” The The machine is neither busy or paused, it simply isn’t responding to Lightburn at all. Is Lightburn actually compatible with my Tronxy device?

What specifically did you try?

LightBurn isn’t really compatible with specific devices. It’s designed to work against certain controller types. Based on your profile I assume the Tronxy is Marlin based and is supported in principle. However, due to the wide variation in Marlin or Marlin-derived firmware it seems to pose some of the most challenges with getting a connection.

After much random fiddling, it seems I am making some progress. I can get the laser to track and trace the pattern, but there is no burning. It looks as though the laser power is too low, is there any way I can increase it?

What made the difference on the connection issue?

The Cut/Layer Settings window is used to define the various layers of your design. All objects get associated to a layer. Double-click the layer to change the settings for that layer including the critical speed and power settings. If after increasing power to 80% and you’re still not getting a burn then reduce speed until you get the burn you’re looking for.

Hmm, ok. This software is more complicated than I was hoping, may have to try something simpler. It has decided to stop talking to my printer again. I am glad I am still on my trial.

Ok, I am getting incredibly frustrated now. All I am getting is the machine may be paused or busy error whenever I try to do something. This software does not seem to be very newbie friendly.

Hi berainlb,I don’t know what made the difference, which is really frustrating as I am having the same problem again. Constant error message that the machine may be paused or busy.

Can you post a screenshot of Edit->Device Settings?

Have you tried rebooting your computer as well as power cycling the laser?

Others with Marlin related connectivity issues were able to work around it by first opening another program that would connect to the controller, then closing, then opening LightBurn. See if that works. If so, configuration changes may be able to get it to work.

As far as friendliness I can pretty much guarantee that as far as dedicated laser engraving programs LightBurn has the highest power to frustration ratio in the business. With that power there are some concepts that need to be learned but the alternative is not having that capability. There are certainly simpler programs if that’s what you’re looking for but that comes at a cost of less capability or inconvenience. Whether or not it’s worth it to you will be based on the type of work that you do and the value you place on the things that LightBurn does well.

My personal highlights of things that I think make LightBurn stand out:

  1. fast and lightweight. The program itself is quite small for what it does and runs on low powered machines. Starting a burn is instantaneous and dynamic even though there is no apparent code generation
  2. provides an end-to-end workflow from design to burn. This allows for very rapid iterations of designs or cut settings. This is really valuable when you’re working with new materials or trying a new effect.
  3. cross platform - You can seamlessly move from Windows <> Mac <> Linux.
  4. responsive, rapid, and steady development - The amount of change seen in the product over the years is very impressive.
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This is a screenshot of my device settings. These settings sort of worked once or twice but again the software is not talking to the device.

I am unable to open any other laser software that will connect to the printer/engraver as I have been unable to find any such software. I would be happy with simpler software if I could find any. All I want is to be able to convert an image into a vector file and then engrave it.

Try changing baud rate to 115,200.

Is there a reason you want to convert to vector? That function alone increases the complexity so want to make sure there’s a specific purpose for it. Most simple programs will take a raster, generate a laser path, and burn without converting to vector.

Any serial communications application, cam software, or 3d printing software I would assume would be able to communicate to it.

You could try connecting with LaserGRBL. It’s free and may serve your purpose. It’s well done but relatively light feature wise compared to LightBurn. I’ve never used it for Marlin controllers but it has experimental support for it.

Others I know have used Pronterface to connect but that doesn’t so laser engraving as far as I know. It may be able to execute gcode generated by LightBurn but I’ve never tried it. LaserGRBL is certainly able to run LightBurn generated gcode.

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I have finally got them communicating reliably for now. The reason I use vectoring is because that is what I am used to. I am used to CNC milling and machining, which uses vectors. I have no idea what a raster is or how to generate a laser path from one. Is there an idiots guide available? I have tried to use LaserGRBL but I had even less success with connecting to my printer with it than with Lightburn. Still, I have made some progress and I am going to spend a few hours fiddling with it to see if I can get some good results. No doubt I will be back with more questions, thank you for all your help so far.

What did you change to accomplish this?

A raster is simply an image made of dots on a grid. Basically every image you’ve ever seen. LightBurn and all other laser control software generates the laser path for you. In LightBurn you can see the generated path in Preview.

Depending on the job a raster could be more appropriate or a vector could be more appropriate.

LightBurn documentation I find quite good although it’s very dense. Every word has meaning and glossing over something could make you lose it’s full meaning. LightBurn also host a bunch of videos that walk you through getting started as well as highlighting specific features.

I also have tron xy 3d printers and from what I know is that they use an STM 32 controller which is more then likely not compatible with the light burn software as the protocols are closed source, now I use lightburn with my GRBL cnc machine with laser mounted on spindle holder and Arduino uno controller ,I have had no trouble at all ,it just works,now here is a word of caution : using a diode laser to cut or burn or engrave is asking for trouble as you can set the entire machine on fire as the laser can melt ,burn through the plexiglass ,wires,ect. it can also direct reflect off the steel guiderods and leadscrews what I am saying is “IF YOU HAVE NO PROIR LASER EXPERIENCE PUT THE LASER IN A BOX AND LEAVE IT THERE”. Save up some money and purchase a complete set ,enclosure included but PLEASE do not put this laser device on any 3d printer as a 3d printer prints and a laser cuts -makes lots of smoke too that you do not want to breath. Walter Hynson

Also what type of exauste system do you plan to use.

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