How to Mill PCBs part 1

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So you’ve see my milling examples in previous posts.  I’ve been working on getting the toolchain right, getting the hardware right, etc, etc.  I’m going to walk you through the steps on milling a PCB.  For his example, I downloaded a RBBB arduino from this instructable. You can see the board pulled up in my Eagle window.

The next step is to run the pcb2gcode ulp program. I’ll leave it up to you to google on how to install and configure it.  Needless to say, the configuration requires a lot of customization for your setup.  Once we run it, it generates a negative image of the cut path.  There are two images below, one for etching and the second for milling.  I’m not sure why drilling doesn’t show up.

These aren’t particularly riveting images.  They do allow you to check that the paths look right and the right files are generated.  The output of pcb2gcode is a series of ngc files.  Next, you load these up into emc2.  Emc is the cnc controller that I use.  When you load them up, they look like the following:

What I typically do is run the emc2 software in a emulator to simulate the run before running it in the actual mill.  I like to make sure that the tolerances are correct and that the gcode doesn’t make the machine do something strange.  I’ll add the actually milling in part 2.

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