The kind of PCB I want to make is simple.  Many complex parts can be bought
on ebay as "breakout boards".   I want to use these breakout boards as if
they were ICs   In other words I want to replace my collection of flying
Dupont wires and mini-size solderless breadboards with 1970 vintage PCBs
 Just like the guy in the video.

Thanks for the lead on pcb2gcode.   From another list I found out about
"flatCAM".   It is open source linux/mac/windows and convert berbers
and excellent files to g-code.   see   I have only
looked at it for about 20 minutes.   I will look at pcb2gcode too.  thanks

I've known about eagle and cicada for a long time.   What happened is KiCAD
picked up funding from CERN and with a paid staff progress was fast.   I've
decided to move from Eagle too even if I am a big user of Fusion 360.

What tools are used? I mean the cutting tools.  Can I use "normal" milling
machine spindle RPMs or is a 20,000 RPM router needed?   The end mill in
the video looks microscopic.

On Sat, Apr 7, 2018 at 11:00 PM, Lawrence Glaister <> wrote:

> Hi Chris,
> For the PCB milling, I used to use eagle and the pcbgcode plugin for the
> longest time. Eagle got kind of funky after autocad bought them and is now
> mostly a subscription service.
> I now use kicad for the schematic and pcb design and an open source
> program called pcb2gcode to convert gerbers to gcode files for linuxcnc. I
> just completed a board I sent off to
> sion.html for production. Smooth as silk and unbeatable prices. (10
> boards 3.8x2.5" for $4.41(March Sale) + shipping).
> I then designed and milled a small board for a calibration jig and used
> the pcb2gcode to convert the bottom copper gerber to linuxcnc gcode files.
> Again, pretty smooth once one gets the isolation and offset parameters
> figured out.
> I think kicad is a much superior package to eagle and has no restrictions
> on boards size or schematic size. As with learning a new cad system, it
> took a couple of youtube videos and a couple of days of practice, but it
> really only took a few days to go from nothing to ordering pcbs. Well worth
> the investment in time. The current kicad V4 release worked the best for
> me.... I tried V5 from git, but it wasnt quite workable yet. The advantage
> of V5 is that it will be able to import eagle project schematic and PCB
> files.
> I have done quite a few PCBs by milling, and there are a few tricks like
> using wider traces and trying to keep most surface mount parts and traces
> on the bottom layer and use the top layer for jumpers and through hole
> parts to avoid 2 sided milling. One sided pcbs are much less critical to
> mill as they are milled, drilled and cutout without changing the mounting.
> This avoids a lot of headaches of trying to get top and bottom layers
> aligned.
> cheers
> Lawrence Glaister VE7IT
> Nanoose Bay BC, Canada
> On 2018-04-07 10:05 PM, Chris Albertson wrote:
>> Is anyone using a CNC mill to make PCBs?  The video linked below shows
>> someone doing this on a small mill with Mach 3.  The PCB is certainly not
>> high tech.  The parts are all through hole with 0.1 inch lead pitch and it
>> is one side only.  Right out of the 1970's but it is exactly what I want
>> to
>> make.   More complex PCBs can go to oshpark
>> Is there a Linux based tool chain?   The part I don't see is how to
>> convert
>> Gerber files to g-code files.
>> Then what tools work best?  I think three are needed tiny end mill to
>> route
>> copper, Tiny spiral mill for cutting the PCB all the way through and a few
>> micro side drill bits for the through holes.
>> BTW it seems like the guy in the video could have saved a lot of time by
>> using a (fake) ground plane that flooded all the empty space.  No need to
>> mill all that copper away.
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Chris Albertson
Redondo Beach, California
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