PCB Milling from Gerber files

Has anyone experience milling prototype PCBs using gerber files as input.
I'm turning a working prototype breadboard into actual pcb (as oposed to a
lash up!) and would like to try milling it on my small cnc mill (ironically
the board is the mill controller!)
Presumably I need a Gerber to G-code converter utility - if anyone has been
down this path I'd like to hear their experiences.
Andrew Mawson
Reply to
Andrew Mawson
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Andrew -
I have tried this using DeskCNC - it will take Gerber & Excellon drill files and convert to G-code. You can download a time-limited version to evaluate.
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You will find that milling fine tracks is a non-starter - you may decide you're better off with the photo etch route.
Regards, Tony
Reply to
Tony Jeffree
Why is that, Tony? Just curious, it's something I may want to try some day.
Cheers Tim
Tim Leech Dutton Dry-Dock
Traditional & Modern canal craft repairs
Reply to
timleech
There's a limit to how fine a width you can mill with a tungsten router cutter, allowing for rough edges etc, while the photo-etch system which most PCB houses use (including us) will get you down past 5thou if the front end plotting is done with a laser and you expose the master with a decent focussed light onto the photo-resist.
Even with screen-printed photo-resist you can get close, but you are restricted by the mesh of the screen.
Peter
-- Peter & Rita Forbes snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk Engine pages for preservation info:
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Reply to
Peter A Forbes
Tony / Peter / Tim,
Thanks for the contributions - yes I suspect that I'll have to go down the optical route - or more probably see if I can find a company that can make them from my Gerber files - though I expect that's a very expensive option.
Regards,
Andrew Mawson
Reply to
Andrew Mawson
Considered Laser engraving Andrew? I don't know if it will work having never tried it on my Laser kit but could be worth looking at and is usually very inexpensive at most online traders.
cheers D
ps:The stencil cutter worked out fantastic. thanks :)
Reply to
Dalton
If you have the Gerber files, you should have two:
1) Tooling File (XXXXXXXX.tol 2) Plot File (XXXXXXXX.plt)
The file extensions are variable between programmes, but you can normally work out which is what. Both are normally plain ASCII with the first having the tool sizes against a table of T0 to TX
Second is a mass of X-Y plots and vectors. I can send you a few examples if you want.
You'll also need a drill file unless you are going to do that yourself.
Peter -- Peter & Rita Forbes snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk Engine pages for preservation info:
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Reply to
Peter A Forbes
In article , Andrew Mawson writes
You could try
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. They are pretty competitive on low quantities - they do a system where they automatically add your boards to those of other customers onto a single panel, which is cheaper for them to make than using a whole panel for your order. You pay just by area of your boards.
I've had some good results with them, but they aren't suitable for next day turnaround :-)
Matt
Reply to
Matthew Haigh
Similarly:-
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used a lot by people on the PIClist - not tried them myself.
I have had a couple of jobs done by RAK in the uk.
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Fairly small, single sided boards. Worked out at about £20 per panel - i.e. about £4.00 per board. Fill in the form on their web page and you get a quote back by email.
For one-offs (single sided) I use a laser printer on to magazine paper, then iron on to the fr4 and etch... Geo
Reply to
Geo
Professional PCB CNC machines: '
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Nice software for gerber & excellon to G code:
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Reply to
JeffTl
According to me, what you are offering is more private case than general solution. You know that it can be used only in case of usage of Eagle. Important issue is that there is no rubout (only insulation), no cloning and many other useful features are missing.
Reply to
JeffTl
Works fine for me ... from EasyPC ... I've spent enough money on all these 'power tools' over the years. And even EasyPC is going down the same path so I'll be dumping that soon. OH for KiCAD supporting gcode output ;)
Reply to
Lester Caine
Another refuge from rcgroups with only three posts to his name , all pushing software. Join Date: May 27, 2010.
Does big ears, sproutie whiskers and bridge spring to mind ?
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Reply to
John S

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