Using lightburn for a plotting machine

I recently bought lightburn after being blown away by the free trial. I bought it to use on my homemade CNC machine that I built for a school project.
I’m exploring different attachments for the machine, and one of the things I want to try is using it as a plotter, with a pen attached to the head.
Naturally, to draw complex shapes I need the ability to lift the pen during travel moves.
I can’t seem to find anything in the documentation about enabling a Z axis, except for a brief mention of “Enable Z axis” slider.
Any help greatly appreciated.

How is the Z-lift handled on the machine you have? I ask because there are two variants I’m familiar with:

  1. Uses the Sxxx (spindle) value in the GCode to specify the pen height, and this makes it relatively trivial to use, since the GCode from LightBurn uses the Sxxx values for laser power. Set the output power to the lift height you want and you’re pretty much done.

  2. Uses the actual Z axis movement commands. For this, you’d likely want to specify a ‘Material (mm)’ value that was your “safe” height, and then use a Z offset on the cut layer to lower the pen. Rasters won’t work with this method because LightBurn doesn’t lift the Z when the laser is off (it’d be incredibly slow).

I actually have a plotting device that has a laser attachment called the X-Plotter. The pen up/down is roughly mapped to the laser on/off signal. The pen is of course boolean while the laser has variable power settings which can be ignored. It should not be very hard to attach a linear actuator for your pen and just set a threshold to switch the up/down action of the pen using the laser on/off voltage transitions.

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