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
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On Sun, 16 May 2004 09:24:08 +0000 (UTC), "Andrew Mawson"

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. http://www.deskcnc.com /
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
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wrote:

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
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wrote:

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: http://www.oldengine.org/members/diesel
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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
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Andrew Mawson wrote:

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 :)
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On Mon, 17 May 2004 07:36:16 +0000 (UTC), "Andrew Mawson"

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: http://www.oldengine.org/members/diesel
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You could try http://www.pcbpool.com . 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
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Matt,
Thanks for that pointer - it seems a very good contact - much appreciated
Andrew Mawson
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On Mon, 17 May 2004 17:06:55 +0100, Matthew Haigh
Similarly:- http://www.olimex.com/pcb/index.html is 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. http://www.rak.co.uk/not/index.html 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
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Professional PCB CNC machines: 'www.accuratecnc.com' (http://www.accuratecnc.com )
Nice software for gerber & excellon to G code: http://www.accuratecnc.com/PhCNCLS.html
--
JeffTl
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On Sat, 29 May 2010 00:50:02 -0500, JeffTl

...and your relationship with this company is what, exactly?
Regards, Tony
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JeffTl wrote:

Most people are using http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pcb-gcode/ nowadays for generating gcode. Does a nice job without any outlay ;)
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Lester Caine - G8HFL
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Lester Caine Wrote: > JeffTl wrote:

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.
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JeffTl
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JeffTl wrote:

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 ;)
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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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What's a rabbit got to do with a bridge ?
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I think you misunderstood - a dental bridge, to support those big front teeth?
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On Sat, 29 May 2010 17:12:30 -0700 (PDT), John S

Hey, I resemble that remark :-)
Mark Rand RTFM
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On Mon, 31 May 2010 20:39:57 +0100, Mark Rand

Err...whassup doc?
Regards, Tony
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