Does your laser miss out on some random parts of the cut or does it cut a dotted path instead of a continuous one?
While it can be annoying, this problem can be resolved by correcting a few quick settings in Lightburn Software.
I'm Unni, and I'm a laser engraving expert. In this guide, I will explain the possible reasons why your laser misses out on some parts of the cut and how you can fix it.
1. Perforated Mode Setting
If your laser is running in a continuous on/off pattern and producing a dotted cut line with equidistant skip marks, then the issue is probably the perforated mode setting.
Turning on the perforated mode for a layer turns all the cut paths in that layer into a perforated cut path, and you can even adjust the cut and skip length that the laser should follow during the path.
The cuts made using the perforated mode resemble the dotted cuts that are often present on cardboard packaging boxes for easy tearing.
Turn Off the Perforated Cut Setting
To turn off the perforated cut setting, identify the layer that is producing the perforated cut.
Then double click on that layer to access the "Cut Settings Editor" tab.
Under this tab, look for the "Perforation mode" setting and toggle it off.
Note: Perforated mode is useful when you want to crease cardboard or create an easily tearable edge for a packaging box.
2. Tabs and Bridges Setting
Now, if the skip marks are random or there are an equal number of skip marks in each design element, then the possible reason is the use of Tabs/Bridges in the design.
You can either add tabs and bridges manually to the design wherever needed, or you can allow Lightburn to automatically add Tabs based on pre-defined criteria, such as the distance between each tab or the number of tabs in each design element.
When using the automatic tabs with the even spacing option, the skip marks can resemble that of a perforated mode, making it important to always check both options to identify the culprit.
Apart from skip marks, the tabs/bridges setting also provides an option to set a lower laser power along the tabs.
As a result, the laser will make a shallow engraving mark at those regions without producing a through cut.
Turning Off the Tabs/Bridges Mode
To turn off Tabs/Bridges, identify the layer that has skip marks in the cut.
Then double-click on that layer under the "Cut/Layers" tab to access the "Cut Settings Editor" tab.
Under this tab, look for the "Tabs/Bridges" setting and toggle it off.
Note: Tabs/Bridges can be extremely useful when working on complex projects where you want the design elements to stay intact even after performing the required cut.
3. Faulty Laser Connection- Worst Case Scenario
If you have made the above checks to ensure that the perforated mode and tab/bridges are turned off, and the laser still misses the cuts, then it might be possible that you have a faulty laser connection.
This means the cable that connects the laser module to the controller can either be loose or damaged, which causes intermittent disconnection and produces skip marks.
Unlike a faulty USB cable that halts your laser, a faulty laser connection cable stops the laser from firing while the laser traces the design.
To resolve this, first check if the connector is plugged in properly. A loosely connected cable can also produce a similar issue.
However, if the connection is secure, then it is likely that the cable itself is damaged, and you will have to replace the cable.
Note: To make sure the issue is not caused by any software setting, check the preview mode before executing the cut. The skip marks made using the perforated mode or tabs/bridges are graphically represented in the preview mode of Lightburn Software.