Full Lightburn Control Guide

So… After a lot of testing…

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a guide, and this one was a long time coming. This guide will allow you to do your entire project in Lightburn, and (if connected via USB) run it directly from Lightburn. Letting you skip Luban or using the USB drive entirely.

A quick note, this guide, like most of mine, will assume you have some experience with the machine. As always, feel free to ask questions and I’ll try filling in any gaps you find. I’ll be posting the setup I use for my A350 with the original 1.6W laser. However, I’ll also be putting notes that SHOULD work (EDIT: spoiler, it does) with the 10W, which I have, I just haven’t tested yet. It should be the same pretty much, just it can measure your material itself. :slight_smile:

To start! This does rely on the inline control that’s been incorporated in the public github version of the firmware. This is NOT in the private releases (the ones supplied by Snapmaker directly) so you WILL have to load a ‘custom’ firmware. So here is the warning, I’m not liable for any damage to your machine, material, fire, or loss of sanity.

Snapmaker_V4.4.19_20220919.bin.zip (146.8 KB)

The above is the latest (as of writing this guide) version of snapmaker firmware. This is modified and compiled by me and is what I use on both of my machines, an F350 with 10W laser, and A350 with 1.6W laser. Make sure to update your machine and modules to the latest official firmware, then unzip my firmware to your USB drive and flash it. This enables inline features to the Marlin firmware, allowing you to use dithering without the stop/go stutter that stock does, as well as true grayscale, which varies the power of the laser to create gradients. This requires Lightburn, however, and is not currently a feature of Luban.

I know, I know, enough of the fluff, get to the guide! It’s rather simple, so this guide is not going to be in the standard tier system of my other guides, mostly infographic style with a few pictures.

To start, you require… LIGHTBURN imagine that, a guide that specifically states a software, you need it.
Now here’s the special part, you need to setup your machine type as GRBL-M3 instead of Snapmaker or Marlin. If you already have your snapmaker setup in Lightburn, you can click devices > select your machine > edit. If not, add the machine new.

GRBL

Afterwards, it’s mostly normal, except uncheck the “auto home” during device setup. Selecting GRBL-M3 solves a few problems with using Marlin as the machine type (mostly how it turns the laser on/off, and had required some minor gcode edits before being ran).

Now after setting your machine as the type it certainly is not, open the device settings, there’s a few specific things we need to do. In the Basic Settings tab, tick Enable Z axis but untick Relative Z moves only. The other settings you can change as you need, but ensure S-value max is set to 255.

Next step in the GCode tab is one of the more important parts. The real magic happens here along with the custom firmware. It WILL require you to find your true origin and note your laser height. To find your true origin you can follow my guide:

In this tab, we’re setting up all the parameters that Lightburn doesn’t know and can’t pull from the machine like Luban does. Such as laser focus, origin offsets, and a few safety lines. Keep in mind these are the settings for MY MACHINE while it may match yours fine, I encourage you to do your own tests for proper settings. I’ll paste my settings with notes on things you need to change.

Header;

M106 P0 S255 ; This line is spit out by Luban and Snapmaker settings in Lightburn, so I include it.
G28 ; Safety home, incase you forgot after power on.
G53 ; Changes to Machine Coords.
G0 Z23 F6000 ; IMPORTANT, the Z value here is your LASER HEIGHT on the touchscreen.
G54 ; Changes back to Work Coords
G92 Z0 ; This sets Z Work Origin to 0, making your laser height as 0.
G0 Z300 ; Moves the toolhead back up out of the way.
G53 ; Back to machine coords!
G0 X2 Y0 F6000 ; IMPORTANT, this is the offset you found following my laser guide!
G54 ; Oops, we're back in work coords.
G92 X0 Y0 ; Yep, we gotta set 0,0 on X,Y as well!
M3 S0 ; This is a safety line, it brings the laser online at 0 power, basically a ready state.

Footer;

M5 ; Safety line, ensures the laser is offline and actually off.
G0 Z330 F6000 ; Custom line to rapid toss the toolhead up out of the way.
G0 Y350 ; Custom line to rapid the bed forward.
G28 ; Safety home, I've noticed sometimes my machine is offset if I don't home every now and then.

Now with these settings and custom GCode in place, you’re ready to setup a project! The last, very important note, is you now have a Material option in Lightburn. It only shows up after you place your first image, svg, shape, whatever.

Screenshot 2022-10-22 200843

This is where you put your material thickness. This is where the difference between the 1.6W and 10W comes in! As long as you’ve homed your machine, you can point any browser at the web API and initiate the thickness measurement on the 10W laser. This will give you the value to slap into the material box, instead of having to measure with calipers.
Replace the XXX with the IP of your snapmaker and adjust the x and y values to move the toolhead around the bed. It’s a little offset, so you might have to play with it to get it where you want. This is what I use for a general measure on objects around 150mm.
http://XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX:8080/api/request_Laser_Material_Thickness?x=150&y=75&feedRate=6000

EDIT: Tested with my F350 + 10W Laser + Enclosure, works just as well as the A350 + 1.6W. The 10W can just find the thickness as described above, but you still have to plug that number into Lightburn, it cannot do that automatically.

Lastly, here’s a video of how the process looks after setting up your project. A single click and go!

Sorry about the focus, despite tapping on the screen, my phone couldn’t decide what to focus on. A bit long winded for a ‘short’ guide, but I tried to cover everything. If you have any problems, comment and I’ll try to help the best I can. To round out, the last thing that I tested, combining SVG outline, fill, and a dithered image… (don’t ask why)

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I installed lightburn, but couldn’t use it. I thought it was freeware, but it seems you have to pay…or am I wrong?

Yes, you have to pay for Lightburn, it is not freeware. There’s a 30 day free trial, but afterwards you need to purchase it. You can use the program indefinitely after purchase, however you only get a year of updates. You can renew your license for another year of updates at a discounted rate.

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Hi
Should your guide also work on the Snapmaker original (I have two of them, only work with small items )

Lars

I do not have an original, so I cannot say for certain. I might be able to come up with something if I could test on one, but for now the answer is no.

Hey @Skreelink ,
why is the size of your firmare bin you uploaded only 247,5 kb?
The official package is 70 MB in size

The official firmware package contains firmware for the controller, touchscreen, and modules. Mine is only the controller.

That’s why I stated to upgrade first, to make sure everything else is updated as well.

Alright! Thanks for this Information :slight_smile: Maybe you should a a readme or sth like that.
I’ll try. Struggling at the moment to finding my real origin.

What are you having problems with? I really should make a video howto at some point but…


I wondered where to fix my sheet of paper. Afterwards, I needed to activate my laser via gcode because the power control was missing in Luban.
I think I did it correctly. Found my Zero with my 10W module at these coordinates:

X5.9 Y-7.3

I can go now to the outer left point. Seems to be sufficient for my first configuration.

That’s very similar to mine. I was going to say if just pulsing a dot is a bit finicky (seems to be with the latest luban, the old version was better) you could draw a 10x10 square 10mm from the origin and run it. Then you could just measure to the lines. I’ll get an example this afternoon after work.

EDIT: Example box, this is how to set it up in Luban.

The results.

I do have my corner jigs on, but to find your origin, line it up with the front and left edge of the laser bed and do the math. The lines can be easier to measure vs the dot.

EDIT2: Bah, thanks @Slynold since I did this, it got me thinking and now I’m pushing the limits of the snapmaker a bit further. Now I’ve got a method to squeak more space out of the build volume. Theoretically it would add up to ~25mm to the build volume on X, though gantry limitations exist. Overall, however, it’s still significant. Posted max X is 320mm on the 350 series. I currently have a project that’s 330.5mm square going. While I haven’t done an actual measurement, I surmise I can just push 335mm (adding an extra 15mm) to my total useable build volume, which is just over 13". I’ll have to measure to the gantry to get more exact numbers.

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Sounds great!
I’m still a bit confused that your zero is not on the very outer left side. I would think it needs to be there:

I used Lightburn years ago to create a model of my parent’s house as Christmas present. I lasered it with my 1.6 w module after importing Lightburns gcode to Luban.

Afterwards, I just made some coasters on cork and slate. But it was sufficient to do this with Luban, camera positioning and slightly modifying the presets.
Now with the 10w module, want to use Lightburn again and more intensively.
Speaking of this, do you have a material library you are willing to share?

The reason it’s not directly on the corner is my 0,0 origin is X-6,Y10. That’s where machine 0,0 sits. So I modified a corner jig to take up that 10mm on Y, thus Y can always be 0, no fiddling. X only looks offset, it’s actually hanging flush with the side of the bed. I compensate that in my gcode header.

Here’s how it looks without material, bonus is a little 10mm black spacer near the middle as well. This gives me a hard corner instead of having to carefully align on the bed. Just slap it against the jig and boom, it’s at zero. I also made mirror ones to place where needed at the top left on larger pieces to ensure they stay square. It also gives the object something to rest against, so it doesn’t slide or vibrate anywhere, since if you align at the front of the bed, you have nowhere to put any sort of holding.

Bonus content: the extra large thing. I used the mirrored corner to align it on the right side instead, measured the overhang on the left (9.8mm), so knowing my origin is at 6, subtracted it and used X-3.8 as my origin in my header, letting me get that extra space I needed.

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Okay, thank you. I got it :slight_smile:

This guide elevated my engravings on a whole new level :beers:

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Awesome to hear. :slight_smile: Hope you make tons of neat things.

The Snapmaker Original already seems to operate in Inline Power mode. I have one and it’s 4-5 times faster than the SM2 (Factory Stock Firmware) running exactly the same file.

Very interesting information, I wonder if the original is actually running a custom version of grbl! So it might actually work. Mind testing? :slight_smile:

EDIT: That would actually give you a semi-auto focus for the original as well. Like I use on my 3018 machine. Focus the laser on the aluminum plate and look at what the machine Z is, then that’s your ‘laser height’ in the header. Then, any material you can just input the thickness instead of having to adjust every time.

Guess there’s an example of 10W vs 1.6W. It’s particularly noticeable in certain woods. Baltic birch being one of them. Above is with the 10W laser, 2000mm/min, 100% power, 0.18mm interval, stucki. It took about 4 hours as I recall.

Below is with the 1.6W laser, had to slow it down to 800mm/min, same settings otherwise. 10 hours, 50 minutes. Almost 11 hours, eesh. Though to be fair, there’s nowhere near as much whitespace, and the image itself is taller, accounting for more time. … I also kinda didn’t measure the overhang on the left and just used what I found on the other one. Oops, it’s off by about 1.2mm, my bad. Remember kids, actually measure things. :slight_smile:

Also, the difference in lighting is astounding. They’re both 13x13" baltic birch, from the same sheet. However, the first one is under the LED lights in the enclosure, second one is under a CFL in my workshop. The actual sunlight colour is somewhere between the two.

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I have a video of the two machines (SM1, SM2) side by side running the same file at the same time but it’s too big to upload here. It’s in one of my posts in Snapmaker Owners group on the FB. I can post he link if you do the FB.