HowTo: LightBurn GCode to SD card for use in xTool D1 for computer free laser operation.

Including steps below to enable operation of the xTool D1 using LightBurn GCode files.

Purchased a Makeblock xTool D1 10W over Thanksgiving 2021 as a start into laser burning/cutting. Overall it’s been a good machine hardware wise and very stable.

Their YouTube live stream announcements and continuous improvements to the D1 are always fun to watch and one of the best ways to get a good deal on additions the machine. Never a dull moment in a live stream, since they do the unboxing of what will be included and sometime stumble assembling or getting things to work LIVE. They may be trusted at times during the live streams, but I see it as a positive, it means they will perfect the enhancement before it ships and always have!

During the live product announcements they open the chat up to questions. For example, during the live streams people pushed for air assist, xTool delivered an add-on kit that bolts right on and during the live demo they didn’t feature it with a light shield. When it shipped, it included a light shield that worked with the nozzle. The 20W laser demo, people asked in the comments if it be able to work with Air Assist.. sure enough it arrived this week with the Air Assist nozzle remounted and ready to go.

So, one of the early live streams I attended, people were pushing for LightBurn support.. which they delivered. At the time, I didn’t know much about software or capabilities. After using LightBurn for a bit, realized it’s a very complete piece of software that greatly compliments the xTool D1.

So, where am I going with this article? LightBurn support with the xTool D1 only supports using the laser while connected via USB. I figured out a way to use the GCode export so that the computer doesn’t need to be anywhere near the laser (dust, bugs, power, etc).

The factory software that comes with the D1 is xTool Laserbox basic, which is powerful enough for most beginners. One of the cool features of the xTool D1 is that Laserbox basic can send jobs to the printer over Wi-Fi and store the job on the SD card. Really hoping xTool and LightBurn can get together and enable the ability to send jobs over Wi-Fi to the laser. But that’s a different subject.

Here is how to format, export and use an SD card from LightBurn and have it operate the xTool D1 without being connected to it.

TLDR; Card must be formatted as FAT32, a single file named “tmp.gcode” must be used, LightBurn must be modified to include the Start GCode “M17” as the first line of Start GCode under Device Settings, and the D1 must be power cycled anytime the SD card is inserted.

If you’re on MacOS and want a little more step by step, here you go! These steps assume you’ve already imported the xTool D1 LightBurn device profile into LightBurn. Profile and steps available from xTool website, here is a direct link to the page from xTool.

#1 – Card format
If you’re using a fresh card. The card must be formatted as FAT32. If I had to guess, the machine probably does not support larger SD cards. 4GB is more than enough for even the largest of jobs.

#2 – Modify LightBurn Start GCode setting to include “M17”
In the MacOS version of LightBurn click on the LightBurn top menu > Edit > Device Settings > GCode (tab). Add “M17” to the Start GCode.

#3 – Getting GCode from LightBurn and rename file.
Export job as GCode from LightBurn and rename the file to “tmp.gcode” on the SD card. Once you’ve saved, renamed the “.gc” file that LightBurn exported to “tmp.gcode”, be sure to use the MacOS or Windows eject button to ensure all the writing is safely completed before removing the SD card.

#4 – Insert SD card into xTool D1
If the machine is ON when you insert the SD card, you will need to power cycle it for the card to be read.
I highly suggest turning the xTool D1 off before removing the SD card and powering it ON after inserting the SD card each time. SD cards generally are meant to be ejected/inserted into devices when powered on, but the xTool D1 firmware doesn’t recognize the new card until it’s power cycled.

There you have it! If you have any thoughts or improvements to this, reach out to me on Reddit.
– Robsters 🙂

Categories: Laser.