Status of Lightburn Bridge

Hi all

I just downloaded Lightburn Bridge to be used on a rpi3b. I wondered first when the file linkede to from Advanced LightBurn Bridge Setup - LightBurn Software Documentation showed this was version 1.0rc4, so I downloaded it and mounted the image file and found it was raspberry pi os buster and seemingly last touched back in september 2021.

So - I’m curious - is this project viable? Is it usable? Is it still supported? We might need it at our makerspace.

So - what’s the current status?

Still active and supported, yes. :slight_smile:

To clarify a little more:
Yes, it’s still supported but we aren’t currently working on adding new features to it, mainly because you really can’t get Raspberry Pi’s at the moment.
We probably should change the version on it to just v1.0.0 and drop the rc4. We released it, it worked, and then we got busy with other things and Pi’s became unobtainium around the same time.

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Well, I have a few lying around. Does this require a lot of CPU or memory? og may an old pi zero w work as well? pi zero w lacks ethernet, so please forget about this.

Also, since raspberry pi is “unobtanium” now, as you say, is there a separate version that can be installed on Linux ARM (32 or 64bit) separately? It’s still quite easy to find things like Orange pi or Banana pi, which should suffice.

Btw, I was just wondering about the versioning here. The docs on Advanced LightBurn Bridge Setup - LightBurn Software Documentation show the installer with the 1.0 image, which apparently doesn’t exist :wink:

Yeah, we’ll change the image name.
And no - we only support the Pi at this time.

I looked into the current setup a bit and I have a few questions…

  • The current setup doesn’t seem to allow for the machine running the bridge to be connected to the internet. This leaves a few questions, as in how can I, working on a laser from a laptop, use my cloud storage or the internet in general to get my projects or to debug those I’m working on? It will also make things a bit harder for especially new users that have an internet connection to our wifi at the makerspace, but still will have to switch to a separate network to access the laser.

  • Since this is written in python, and the codebase doesn’t seem to be that big, releasing it as a separate package seems like a better idea than just blackboxing it. This will also make it easier to update the OS on the pi (or whatever computer is running it), as all software need updates from time to time, and sometimes rather urgent.

  • Forcing the user to switch access point to something closed, is counterintuituve and most of us want to or need to stay online while using systems like this. If there would be security issues with external connections, there is iptables or nftables to help out on the way and really, this shouldn’t be critical and left to the application alone.

This is not true. The Bridge Pi will connect to your local WiFi access point. You can then connect to it over that network, with full regular internet access. You are not connecting directly to the Bridge Pi other than to do initial setup and connect it to your local WiFi.

At this time, we see Bridge as an appliance device, like any other you might purchase. The user is never intended to modify any of the software on the Pi.

Please see my first response. None of this is true. It will connect to your regular WiFi network like any other.

Thanks for the reply

I’ll keep on looking into this, but I still do not understand why you can’t just make this a package installable to any machine running Linux (or whatever runs Python). As a sysadmin, I’d rather like to just install this on a computer and know what’s going on and keeping the system updated with the usual tools, like ansible or whatever’s your taste.

Btw, any news on Topwisdom support for Lightburn?

Not trying to be harsh here, but this was not our plan. We created the bridge product as an appliance to help our customers who were having communication issues with Ruida controllers. The feedback provided by these customers has been overwhelmingly positive and has solved many of the issues they experienced. We made design and distribution choices based on this goal. As for future opportunities which utilize these initial ‘Bridge’ efforts, we continue to evaluate resources, interest, and existing priorities, with no specific plans to share externally at this time.

Thank you for your contributions to our thinking.

As for TopWisdom support, is there something in particular you are asking for?

Support for TopWisdom motion control systems was originally announced March 14, 2020, with the release of 0.9.10.

TopWisdom controller support

It’s still in progress, but the majority of features are working and stable, so we’re calling TopWisdom support ‘official’. We still have to add rotary support and machine settings, but those are in progress and should be included in the next release.

Honest answer: because at this point in time we don’t want to. It was designed as an appliance to make it easier for people who aren’t linux experts. This was primarily designed for Mac users with Ruida machines who had trouble connecting over the network. That was the main thing it was designed to fix. It was 100% designed for people with absolutely zero Linux experience. Flash the SD card, put it in the Pi, connect to WiFi, and off you go. The number of people who need this and would be inclined to do a completely manual install is exceedingly small. So, it’s currently not worth our time to make it anything more than it is at this particular moment.

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That is quite understandable, but I do not agree. I beleive it should be easy to do both things at once and I’m interested in setting this up myself if I have to and even share it. With a more open solution to this, it would be easier to setup with other hardware as well, especially now, as raspberry pi machines are hard to get by.

With TopWisdom support somewhat in place, I guess I’ll just have to test it. We only have rotary on one of the lasercutters (we have two), so testing on the other would probably be a nice start :slight_smile:

I’m trying to understand the use case that the Bridge would be serving in your case. Are your lasers not hard-wired for ethernet as I would expect in a makerspace?

Also, not sure if this was what you were implying but be aware that the Bridge does not work with Top Wisdom controllers, only Ruida.

Seems to me you’d be better served with a common solution for all your lasers if available.

Firstly, I’ll apologize if this seems like a harsh suggestion. I’m just trying to sort out good ways to fix this.

Then, no, we have gotten accustomed to using USB for our lasers, since we didn’t have anything that seemed to work with them over ethernet, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. As with Top Wisdom not supported, it clearly says in what you posted above that they are, somehow. “It’s still in progress, but the majority of features are working and stable, so we’re calling TopWisdom support ‘official’. We still have to add rotary support and machine settings, but those are in progress and should be included in the next release.”

And yes, I guess we might be better off with wiring up those lasers once and for all, but then, if TomWisdom is supported as posted above, why is it not supported now? I’m a big confused.

Lastly - it seems mac clients may fail to work with these machines over ethernet due to UDP traffic and the lack of error correction in the level seven protocol, so I thought perhaps the bridge could help this out.

TopWisdom controllers are supported in LightBurn, but not by LightBurn Bridge specifically. That is why I was pointing this out. I got the vibe that you were thinking of using Bridge for TopWisdom and also that you may not quite understand the use case posed by Bridge.

Also, I may have misguided you in my previous post. I was under the impression that LightBurn support for TopWisdom included IP support but it appears it does not. Looks to support USB Serial and USB only. So wired ethernet may not be an option. My thinking was that you could hard wire all the various controllers to ethernet.

So does this mean that each user connects their own computer to the laser? Or you have a common computer always connected to which they transfer their files to control the laser?

Mac issues with connecting to Ruida controllers are not primaribly about UDP unreliability. It’s specifically with USB to Ruida connectivity issues. UDP unreliability is a general problem with all IP Ruida communication but most users on reliable ethernet do not experience a problem. LightBurn Bridge largely overcomes both the Mac USB issues as well as the UDP reliability issues by running on TCP over WiFi over the air and UDP over ethernet to the controller.

What is the pool of controller types/lasers that you are having to manage?

We have two lasercutters only, both from Red Sail with TopWisdom controllers, and they are used with USB only, either directly from a dedicated machine or sometimes a user’s machine, just by disconnecting the lasercutter from the common machine and reconnecting the user’s machine. The lasercutters are Red Sail lasers, one of them 60W, the other 100W, and they work well (ish, albeit some focus issues). Last time I tried to connect my mac to them with Lightburn, I didn’t manage to do much, but then, that’s some time ago, so I’ll try again before complaining about it :wink:

The reason for this post, was really that I want these machines connected to our wifi to make things easier. If that’s not possible by now, well, I hope it will be some tim in the future.

Again - I’d gladly spend some time to package the basics of this to allow for use across platforms. Getting locked into rpi, when it’s close to impossible to get those, seems like a bad idea.

In this case you may want to explore some virtual USB solutions. They allow you to virtualize a USB port that then can be realized on the other end of a network connection. That may get you a wire-free solution although that does complicate the client side setup as I believe they require special setup/software on the client side.

Linux has something built-in called USB/IP that could be leveraged. There are other more friendly commercial solutions that leverage USB/IP or proprietary implementations.

I think first things first is it to confirm LightBurn functionality with the controllers through USB or USB Serial.

Thanks for the update. I’ll do some more testing, I guess. Just a few more questions:

  • Do you know when you may get IP support for TopWisdom sorted out?
  • If you do get it working, it’d be nice, but then, using dedicated (and vulnearable) hardware for these bridges, doesn’t seem like a good idea if we can just run them in a VM each, allowing for easy management and backups and so on without extra hardware lying around.

While on our list, and some early investigation was started, no time frame has been set for this work.