Work Surface Grid

When opening Lightburn, my work surface shows up on the screen. Can I change the position/location of the grid on this screen? I’d like to move it to the left to make room for other window items.

Also, is there a way to engrave this grid on my waste board?



First question answered by the second tuitorial.

No, but you can easily lay out & burn an identical grid. Think of it as a self-paced tutorial in using the Rectangular Array tool.

If you want numbers along the edges, perhaps you can put the Automatic Array text gimmick to good use.

Practice makes perfect! :grin:

I’ve been trying to build a grid per your suggestions and also watching several YouTube videos’. Per one of your other Leaders, I determined the actual, usable workspace is 368 wide X 358 height. So, I decided to design a waste board grid of 350 X 350. I was able to use the grid tool to copy the vertical columns, then duplicated the horizontal rows by rotating. I had a nice grid, But when I started to enter the numbers, I found that I was short 35mm. I set the first vertical line from the border at 5mm, which in the lower left corner should be 0,0. I’ve tried numerous entries in the grid settings window and it doesn’t seem to work. I can’t figure out how to get you a screen shot but here are my settings:

X Column 1, Total width 354.8, X spacing 10.0, Column shift 0
Y Rows 1, Total width 353.96, Y spacing 10.0, Row shift 0
Distances center to center.

I hope you can follow the way I explained.



Here’s my screen print.

Screenshot 2023-09-06 065838

If the first “vertical” line was just slightly tilted, that might account for everything else. When you’re drawing it, hold the Shift key to force the line vertical (or horizontal). After you have the first line, make sure it’s precisely the right length, resizing as needed.

I did this by duplicating one vertical line and one horizontal line, then screwing around with Variable Text options until the right numbers popped out in the arrays:

Waste board pattern - 350x350.lbrn2 (279.7 KB)

Keeping the text inside the grid makes the outline exactly 350×350, so it’s easy to align / center / move around.

It should be close enough to get you started, but you’ll surely want to mess with the text alignment.

If you want to precisely align the laser to the grid:

  • Homing must work perfectly every time
  • The initial offset must put the laser at the lower left corner
  • Never move the laser head by hand

IMO, however, the grid will be good for reasonably accurate alignment, with precise alignment done using a fixture or Print-and-Cut.

Thank you Ed!

Hey Ed,

I’ve been studying a YouTube video by Darren Smith, describing how he merges a .csv file from Excel.

I did not understand the purpose of the “ppp” that you typed to represent grid numbers. I deleted these caracters and typed %0 in the first location (lower left), created a grid 34 columns wide and got the %0 across the grid and merged the numbers as shown in the video. Worked great across the bottom and on the left side. But when I tried to do the same thing across the top and right side, it doesn’t work. I got as far as the grid to extend the %0 across the top and up the right side, selected each “group” hit the preview button and the characters disappeared.



The machine origins are different for our two lasers, so what you see as a “p” is an upside-down “d”. I should have added some unambiguous explanatory text elsewhere that would be obviously inverted; sorry 'bout that.

Those are “d” formatting characters used by the Serial Number part of Variable Text:

The string “ddd” generates three digits for each number, with leading blanks so they justify themselves.

When you run Preview, you should see them fill in with the distances to the grid lines in both directions. They should increment by 10 for each line:

That’s entirely too much work.

After you figure out the Variable Text incantation to produce an incrementing numeric series, you’re done:

Hi Ed,

Not sure what I’ve done wrong, but it’s not working. See screen shot.


I am seeing your text setting needs to be set to Serial Number as @ednisley identifies above.

The screen shot shows Merge/CSV mode, presumably from when you were filling the text field with the formatting characters, but you want Serial Number mode.

The LightBurn work area shows “ddd” for text in Serial Number mode, so if you’re seeing actual numbers there, then something has gone wrong.

The Preview display will show the serial numbers as they will appear on the material, so if you’re seeing “ddd” there, then you most likely didn’t turn on the Serial Number property.

If you’re actually trying to merge a CSV file, all bets are off.

Start with a single text field, get it to behave properly, then use the Array tool to duplicate it as needed.

Getting all this to work does require some fiddling around and careful attention to the obscure details of the UI, but it does work.

You can rearrange the windows, tabs, and toolbars and the workspace will adjust to accommodate. Here we show how this works,

I also share another post about ‘Work Surface Grids’, where we cover many of these topics in great detail. :slight_smile:

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