Score and Cut lines on same file

Good afternoon. I apologize for the stupid question but I have scoured You tube and other forums for 3 days with no luck on the exact answer.

I am attempting to make layered SVG files for some friends and have been hitting my head against the wall as it must be easier than I am making it.

I am using a combination of Lightburn, Inkscape and Paint 3 to piece the SVG layers together, however I can not figure out how to define what I want cut and what I want to score and then export the files in that manner.

As an example the Mesas at the top of this cactus, I know it’s rudimentary but we’re old dogs trying to learn new tricks :). On the mesas I would love to add some lines coming down to give it depth but they would only be for scoring not cutting.

I apologize for the ramble but I am so close to running out into traffic from frustration :slight_smile:

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Cactus-7 (1)

This isn’t really a trivial thing to explain but I’ll try to provide some basic guidance.

LightBurn supports basically 2 types of graphics.

Raster graphics and vector graphics. Raster graphics are made up of a set number of discrete pixels that define a color along a set grid. Think in terms of X by Y pixels. This is how photographs are represented. These can not be scaled up or down without loss of fidelity. I’m not familiar but I assume Paint 3 works in raster graphics. While possible, you realistically wouldn’t use raster images for any cutting operation, only engraving.

Vector graphics are made up of curves defined through mathematical formulas. They have the advantage of being able to scale up and down without quality loss. SVG is primarily a vector file format that can also embed raster images. For laser cutting, vector graphics are the primary means by which you would define cut paths. LightBurn can also engrave the insides of vector shapes using the Fill cut operation. This is in contrast to the Line operation used for cutting. So basically, any layer defined as Line will cut. Any layer defined as Fill will engrave.

Some of the key things to understand about how vector graphics works:

  1. There is the concept of open vs closed shapes. Closed shapes means that there are continuous uninterrupted line segments forming a complete loop where the ends of the shape are connected. Simply positioning individual lines next to each other is not sufficient to make them be a part of the same shape. They need to be semantically joined.
  2. Only closed shapes can be Filled. If you ever experience a situation where you expect a shape to appear to be filled but it is not that means it’s not closed
  3. In LightBurn, a single filled shape will appear solid. Stacking another filled shape on top of the first will negate the overlapping portion (e.g. think donut hole). Adding another shape will return to positive. In short, a stack of an odd number of shapes will be solid, even number will be negative. Experiment by creating 3 concentric circles. Observe what areas are positive vs negative. Move the individual pieces around and observe how that changes things. Do this until it becomes intuitive.
  4. In LightBurn you have 2 major mechanisms by which you can semantically join shapes togrether.
    4a. Using the Boolean Operations under the Tool menu. Boolean will only operate on two closed sets of shapes at a time. Two and only two. Never forget this.
    4b. Edit Nodes tool. While in this mode you can modify individual nodes of the shape, drag one node to another to join those nodes, delete nodes, add nodes, delete lines, etc. This is the most broadly flexible way of modifying and joining shapes

In your cactus example, you likely want to use either boolean operations or edit nodes to extend the areas that you want.

Thank you so very much for taking the time to spell that out for me. I greatly appreciate your time and efforts. We will try our best to build upon that foundation. It’s driving us insane as there are 100’s of people on etsy selling layered wood and cut paper svg files that have cut and score lines in the same files so there must be a fairly simple way but it is very much eluding us :).

Thank you again so much.

SVG files could have shapes that are intended for cutting or scoring but they do not contain any actual cut setting information. The contents of the SVG need to be interpreted by LightBurn and you to get the outcome that you want.

If you have an example file for what you’re looking to do then upload here and someone can break-down an analysis of how it’s behaving.

The difference between a “cut” and a “score” line is the laser behavior along each path:

  • A “cut” uses higher power and lower speed to burn through the material
  • A “score” uses lower power and higher speed to leave a mark on the surface, perhaps with perforations or dots.

The SVG file contains the geometry, but, as @berainlb points out, none of the laser settings.

You must put the “cut” and “score” lines on different layers, then set up the laser parameters for each layer to get the results you want.

If the geometry starts out with the two types of lines joined in the same figure, you must separate the lines in order to put them on the proper layers.

This is a manual process, but if the SVG file distinguishes the lines by color, LightBurn may have done most of the work for you by putting the colors on different layers:

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