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Milling PCBs on a cnc router? Answered

In the research environment I work in I rarely need more than one board and only need it once, so I usually build it up on a proto-board. However sometimes a PCB works better (as you pointed out). Can you reconed softwae that will take the gerber files and convert them to something I can use on The CNC router (g-code)? Great course learned alot. - Joe C


I use Eagle script and Mach3 software to route my pcb´s.

You can use a cnc router for creation of PCB's. There are even little mills that are tailored to that - such as the Othermill. We use it all the time to create our PCBs, using Fritzing or OrCad as our PCB design software. They both provide the gerber file we use also. On our mill we do a number of passes, with 1/100th, 1/64, and 1/32 bits. This takes more time due to changing out the bits, but the result is a much cleaner edge. Changing the spindle speed helps but a good quality bare circuit board is very important as the copper will lift if the speed is too high and the amount of heat generated weakens the bond between the CU and the board material. Wire traces need to remain a little bigger and wire distances need to be maintained away from any pads, lands, or vias that you create as the tight spaces might not get milled. Many times if we don't verify our mill pattern prior to cutting, we have to go under a microscope and cut between lines with a razor knife.