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Author Topic: CNC - PCB Mill / drill  (Read 42597 times)
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DTiziano
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« on: December 23, 2008, 02:50:30 14:50 »

PCB drilling and milling with a CNC.

After long search and experiments, function of programs available (to me at least),
I come to a solution that use some different program to generate the Gcode, plus a self written  function to generate the drilling data.
Programs involved:
Camware CAM 350              gerber conversion and drill generation
Circuit CAM 5.0 from LPKF    isolation path (DXF)
Visual Mill 5                       isolation DXF to gcode
Cimco Edit                        gcode prevue

My starting point are 274D gerber files.
On the PCB CAD I generate the Top, Bottom and Border layout, with drill data embedded on the pad stack.
With CAM350 version 9.5, I convert it to 274X format.
The drill data is extracted, sorted by distance and exported in Excellon2 format.
Additional function performed by CAM350 is to change the coordinates origin suitable for my CNC configuration.
The Excellon2 data is converted to gcode by my application.
The 274X file are imported (on the relative layer) in CircuitCam.
CircuitCam calculate the isolation path, and export it to DXF (no gcode support).
My configuration use two different tools: standard 0,6 mm , small 0,25 and isolation set at 0,6 mm. Typically Circuitcam use the 0,6 mm tools to route 95% of the PCB and the 0.25 mm to complete it. This configuration let me get a good isolation in very short time. Different configuration is also possible (till 4 different tools), and also select areas to mill completely (pouring).
Circuircam is really a powerfull application, the only drawback is that It do not generate the Gcode.
From the three base layer: top, buttom and Board I generate till 5 files:
-   Top standard, path for 0,6 mm
-   Top small, path for 0,25 mm
-   Bottom standard, path for 0,6 mm
-   Bottom small, path for 0,25 mm
-   Border

Once configured, CircuitCam perform all these operation by just few mouse clicks. The isolation calculation is very fast and accurate (much faster and better than Coppercam). The results can also be edited.

Visual Mill 5 take care to convert the DXF file to Gcode.
The five layer must be configured as long as the tools to be used.
I use a tricks to speed up the procedure. Once made the first project, a make a copy and then I replace all the layers data with the new one, all other assignment are kept and the generation are greatly speed up.

Cimco edit let you check the gcode generated and simulate the final result. At the beginning it is a must, it let discover errors or mistakes in the Gcode or procedure used to do it.

My CNC mill is driven by MACH3, and once configured for automatic Z axis presetting  after tool change the PCB milling and drilling is now quite simple and easy to do.

The attached picture is a sample double side PCB.

Additional notes
CopperCAM basically perform all these operation, is small and quite easy to operate and cheap.
Unfortunately, some drawback are very annoying and serious if you want to make good PCBs.
The isolation path is not accurate and even worst non optimized, do not support different size tool, editing is poor, drilling depending the way is generated is not sorted or not referenced to the coordinate.

http://rapidshare.com/files/228043958/CAM5.rar     CircuitCam V5

or

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=4QAS4S2C           CircuitCam V5

Password: www.sonsivri.com

For the other software search them in the forum.

 Smiley
« Last Edit: May 01, 2009, 10:56:46 22:56 by DTiziano » Logged
chuckoo
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2009, 03:26:59 15:26 »

Hi,

looks quite good. I have been working with PCB milling also, still doing it for very small boards. I use EAGLE .. outline via dxf ... mastercam ... gcode  ...  mach3. I have similar experience, especially leftover copper whiskers are a big problem. Usable time of the bits i also not tooo good.

Since about a year i use TTF and only drill the boards afterwards with the CNC. This is mostly faster and gives better results. It is cheaper also and you can etch 5 mill isolations , which you cannot mill anyway...

 
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weewee
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2009, 03:43:35 03:43 »

Hi DTiziano,
please advise, How can I export DXF from LPKF CircuitCam since it says -Emtry- in that export command?

thanks
weewee
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DTiziano
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2009, 12:08:53 00:08 »

Seem to be stange, but the inport/export functions is user configurable, and this version is blank.
It is not difficult but, it takes some time to discover.
I am quite busy at the moment, but give me some days and I will tray to post the configuration file.

Smiley
« Last Edit: January 12, 2009, 06:48:43 18:48 by DTiziano » Logged
weewee
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2009, 02:56:12 14:56 »

Hi DTiziano,

Yes, it  is user configurable and I did it, able to replace -empty- to DXF


but the DXF file that I got from CircuitCam5 was not recognize by other cad/cam programs

below is the header of this dxf file

BE == Binary EDIF File ....circle jobInteger curve closedCurve R0 transform jobIdentifier polygon ROUND configItemHeader flashAttribute configItem shapeType shapeParameter jobReal jobForm jobTask cornerType drawAttribute endType pathWidth captureInterval jobString designLevel displayAttributes color order configRef configItemRef minDrawLength overlap configHeader flash path ScScale configLpkfMillDrill e jobOutput jobHeader....

weewee
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tAhm1D
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2009, 06:51:56 18:51 »

Hi DTiziano,
The PCB Board shown in your attachment which I think is made with your CNC Mill is really impressive. I am thinking of  collecting one CNC Milling and Drilling Machine for small scale PCB making in house.I have collected some information. But I want to get some Practical suggestion from you as you are a user. Please suggest me regarding Company, Price, Quality and any other information you deem required for the CNC Milling and Drilling Machine you suggest - if possible on your part.  Your kind cooperation will be accepted with gratitude.
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DTiziano
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2009, 11:54:32 23:54 »

Weewee

Annex to the post there is my configuration and DXF sample generated by CircuitCAM.
In the .rar I put the different files between a fresh installation and my working one.
Some months ago I used this trick to move the configuration to another computer.
Make a backup and ADD/OR replace the files, preserving the proper directory destination.
My configuration work properly, tray it please.

tAhm1D

Very shortly
The sample you see is my sixth sample made. All was double sided PCB.
My CNC is an home made one. The mill is an “OPTIMUM BF20 L VARIO”, I updated it with ball screws axes (to keep backslash controlled) and stepper motors. The controller is a XP computer running Mach3. The machine is dedicated to generic mechanical jobs.
To do PCBs, I made a support to hold, on the Z axes, a small high speed Proxon drill (20K rpm) and a base plate to hold the PCB.
The standard motor, running at 3000 rpm is not enough for small drill/mill.
To hold the PCB during process I use a double-sided tape (really works, cheap , strong and good planarity).
The engraving job are made by carbide cylindrical end mills. This configuration is less critical (for me) versus the V shape one regarding the PCB planarity.
I found this tools from “http://www.ham-tools.com/” mill at 4.2 €, drills at 1,5 €  each.
If you need to make only PCBs the CNC price maybe too high, but for sure I can make it now in a very short time (not counting the master design).
For some information check here: http://www.damencnc.com/

Ask if need other information.

« Last Edit: March 20, 2012, 10:04:55 22:04 by DTiziano » Logged
weewee
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2009, 04:58:45 04:58 »

Hi DTiziano,

last night, I uninstalled the CircuitCam5 already, this morning I've come back to see the reply.

I reinstall the software back again and simply put your configuration into c:\LPKF50 by keeping all directory structure.

Bingo!

I can export DXF file easily. I don't how hard for you to figure out the configuration. But you've got me a big THANK

weewee Wink
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DTiziano
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2009, 10:58:11 22:58 »

Updated plus a megaupload link

 Wink
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mcr
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2009, 06:05:46 18:05 »

http://rapidshare.com/files/228043958/CAM5.rar     CircuitCam V5

or

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=4QAS4S2C           CircuitCam V5

Password: www.sonsivri.com

I installed Circuitcam5 but the crack is not working when the software open it say that is a Demo.
When i run the crack show that it is patch

Maybe i am doing samething wrong.
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mcr
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« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2009, 01:46:47 01:46 »

PCB drilling and milling with a CNC.

After long search and experiments, function of programs available (to me at least),
I come to a solution that use some different program to generate the Gcode, plus a self written  function to generate the drilling data.
Programs involved:
Camware CAM 350              gerber conversion and drill generation
Circuit CAM 5.0 from LPKF    isolation path (DXF)
Visual Mill 5                       isolation DXF to gcode
Cimco Edit                        gcode prevue

My starting point are 274D gerber files.
On the PCB CAD I generate the Top, Bottom and Border layout, with drill data embedded on the pad stack.
With CAM350 version 9.5, I convert it to 274X format.
The drill data is extracted, sorted by distance and exported in Excellon2 format.
Additional function performed by CAM350 is to change the coordinates origin suitable for my CNC configuration.
The Excellon2 data is converted to gcode by my application.
The 274X file are imported (on the relative layer) in CircuitCam.
CircuitCam calculate the isolation path, and export it to DXF (no gcode support).
My configuration use two different tools: standard 0,6 mm , small 0,25 and isolation set at 0,6 mm. Typically Circuitcam use the 0,6 mm tools to route 95% of the PCB and the 0.25 mm to complete it. This configuration let me get a good isolation in very short time. Different configuration is also possible (till 4 different tools), and also select areas to mill completely (pouring).
Circuircam is really a powerfull application, the only drawback is that It do not generate the Gcode.
From the three base layer: top, buttom and Board I generate till 5 files:
-   Top standard, path for 0,6 mm
-   Top small, path for 0,25 mm
-   Bottom standard, path for 0,6 mm
-   Bottom small, path for 0,25 mm
-   Border

Once configured, CircuitCam perform all these operation by just few mouse clicks. The isolation calculation is very fast and accurate (much faster and better than Coppercam). The results can also be edited.

Visual Mill 5 take care to convert the DXF file to Gcode.
The five layer must be configured as long as the tools to be used.
I use a tricks to speed up the procedure. Once made the first project, a make a copy and then I replace all the layers data with the new one, all other assignment are kept and the generation are greatly speed up.

Cimco edit let you check the gcode generated and simulate the final result. At the beginning it is a must, it let discover errors or mistakes in the Gcode or procedure used to do it.

My CNC mill is driven by MACH3, and once configured for automatic Z axis presetting  after tool change the PCB milling and drilling is now quite simple and easy to do.

The attached picture is a sample double side PCB.

Additional notes
CopperCAM basically perform all these operation, is small and quite easy to operate and cheap.
Unfortunately, some drawback are very annoying and serious if you want to make good PCBs.
The isolation path is not accurate and even worst non optimized, do not support different size tool, editing is poor, drilling depending the way is generated is not sorted or not referenced to the coordinate.

http://rapidshare.com/files/228043958/CAM5.rar     CircuitCam V5

or

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=4QAS4S2C           CircuitCam V5

Password: www.sonsivri.com

For the other software search them in the forum.

 Smiley
Do you have a procedure to export from Visualcam to gcode (mach3)?
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DTiziano
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« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2009, 12:13:56 00:13 »

I made the installation some months ago, and I do not remember exactly the procedure, but looking to the instruction seems that only the serial number is required.
The patch is for the stencil version.

For VisualMill I do not made any procedures, but I annex to this post a project sample with the mach3 post processor configuration.
Copy the  “Mach3.spm” file to  “..\VisualMill 5.0\Posts”  directory .

Tray to load the sample play with it, see the configuration, the tools library ect...
To see the different layer select the “Mops” tab in the browser area.
Then select one of the machine operation like “Border” to see the path, double click to open the configuration, or right click to start simulation or file generation.
You can use it as a base.
"I use a tricks to speed up the procedure. Once made the first project, I make a copy and then  replace all the layers data with the new one, all other assignment are kept and the generation are greatly speed up."

 Smiley

P.S.
A sample tools file is also included.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2009, 12:17:26 00:17 by DTiziano » Logged
eSilviu
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« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2009, 09:28:34 21:28 »

PCB drilling and milling with a CNC.

After long search and experiments, function of programs available (to me at least),
I come to a solution that use some different program to generate the Gcode, plus a self written  function to generate the drilling data.
Programs involved:
Camware CAM 350              gerber conversion and drill generation
Circuit CAM 5.0 from LPKF    isolation path (DXF)
Visual Mill 5                       isolation DXF to gcode
Cimco Edit                        gcode prevue



well, I use :
1. Eagle to design board
2. An ulp (writed by me - gcode1.zip on cadsoft eagle download page) for eagle
3. CNCDUDEZ usb controller

All of them are free, and I can use my notebook to control the CNC.

My ulp generate mill, drill or cut information from board (or all operations at once). Then I load .gc file in CNCdudez app, and run.
Simple as that. CNC will start and end operation at (0,0) coordinates. So I can easy change tool by hand. Cheesy
Results... attached (0805 resistors in fist image)
« Last Edit: July 16, 2009, 09:31:31 21:31 by eSilviu » Logged
DTiziano
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« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2009, 11:13:51 23:13 »

Nice job eSilviu, very nice.
I do not use Eagle, but PCAD as CAD and my target was to use any cad that produce a gerber output.
Even if the sample I post is a single pass isolation, double side PCB, with CircuitCAM is possible to produce a multi tools (different size) pass, so there is a good control of isolation and if necessary, partial or complete remove of copper. Different tool size let produce complex sample in less time.
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Naste
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« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2009, 10:01:40 10:01 »

Hi eSilviu..

I am research in CNC too, but I'm just posted about motor stepper driver in my blog at nastelroy.wordpress.com
I will post about my CNC as soon as possible.
What CNC machine did you use?

_naste_
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« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2009, 11:45:58 11:45 »

You may make a Videotutorial the entire process by the various programs?

I know a lot of work but it would help us a lot. I was using the coppercam I can not do anything and coppercam not work well plates with two sides.

Sorry  my bad English.
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« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2009, 10:04:03 22:04 »

Wow, that's nice!  I've bought all the tools to do mine on a Minimill, but I have yet to actually mill anything.  Personally, I think all the software available for isolation routing sucks pretty badly.
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« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2009, 11:14:42 23:14 »

There is very little software and very expensive. It's hard to find versions that work.
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« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2009, 03:54:26 03:54 »

try for EMC2 (Enhanced Machine Controller). I use it at Ubuntu RTAI. its look good for mill or drill with g-code
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« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2009, 11:42:07 23:42 »


Cimco edit let you check the gcode generated and simulate the final result. At the beginning it is a must, it let discover errors or mistakes in the Gcode or procedure used to do it.

How do you check and simulate the g-code generated whit this program?

Best regards
 
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DTiziano
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« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2009, 11:49:00 11:49 »

Hi

Cimco edit is a complex application, that perform multiple operations.
I use it also to check mechanical jobs. Fortunately the basic operations are quite simple to set.

For PCB the basic operation are:
- load the Gcode to analyse
- select show simulation windows (where model will be created)
- set the tools used
- set the solid parameter (for PCB I use max Z=0 min Z = -1.6 mm)
- show model

Zoom in, rotate or hide tool path to analyse the job.
Useful for mechanical application is also the setting that stop the simulation when the tool make wrong operation like go through the model at transfer speed.

The annex picture show a simulation sample.



« Last Edit: August 02, 2009, 11:51:21 11:51 by DTiziano » Logged
mcr
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« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2009, 07:46:14 19:46 »

WHICH ONE PROGRAM DO YOU USE TO MAKE DRILLS.
REGARDS.
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DTiziano
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« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2009, 09:04:36 21:04 »

The same mill do it, really I first dill the PCB and then I make the isolation.

The drill data is extracted, sorted by distance and exported in Excellon2 format by CAM350.
Since I did not found any (working) program to convert Excellon2 to Gcode, I did one for my use.

The tools change is manual (of course), but to reduce errors and speed up the operations, I made some VB script for MACH3 to recalibrate the mill at tool chage.
The trick is quite simple, the tools is at ground, while the copper top side (isolated) is connected to the MACH3 probe input. The VB script move the tool since there is an electrical contact (PCB copper gronded), then reset the Z axes and resume operation.

Regards

P.S.
I am leaving for vacation, I will be back beginning of september.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2009, 09:07:25 21:07 by DTiziano » Logged
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« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2009, 09:35:19 21:35 »

 I liked the CIMCO, very interesting. The problem I have is that I can not find a program better than coppercam at an acceptable price.
 The pcb I like the hobby and I can not pay the 1400 euros worth isocam 3.
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« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2009, 08:36:30 08:36 »

hi DTiziano
how can I build the file export dxf in circuitcam 5?
thanks!
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