Converting an Eagle Board to GCODE

Eagle BoardThe first step in converting a board in Eagle to GCODE is having a board. I have drawn a very simple circuit that is simply an LED board. It’s practically useless, but I’ll use it as a springboard to get us from Eagle to PCB. After you draw your board in Eagle, I recommend saving the file someplace where you can easily access and find it. I always keep my Eagle and NGC files located in C:/mygcode/. The NGC files are the files used by EMC2 to control the router.

There is a way to use the origin on the Eagle board to know where to place your board. I have found that drawing the circuit to the upper left works best for bottom etching and drilling. This works for now. If I run across a better way, I will make sure to tell the world.

Generation tabAfter you open or finish your board, type “run pcb-gcode-setup c:/mygcode” and press enter. c:/mygcode could be anyplace that you want the finished code to go. I try to keep everything in this folder.  The PCB-GCODE screen will open.

In the Generation Options tab, make sure that everything is as you want it to be.  You may need to do some experimenting to find what works best for you.  Fill in the fields that you need. If you select that you want to drill or mill, but you really don’t want to, don’t worry. PCB-GCODE will create separate files for each process. Just select the file that you want after it runs.

PCB-GCODE Machine TabIn the Machine tab, look at the picture and select what is best for your operation. Don’t worry if you make a mistake here. You can edit this file in its raw form and change things later without running PCB-GCODE again.

Everything on this screen is very important, but most important are the Z travel heights and feed rates. A travel height setting that is too low you might get you snagged against a mounting piece or a clamp. Setting the feed rates too fast can also send your tool into the trash bin.

GCODE OptionsThe only thing that you really need to change on the GCode Options tab is the Extension. EMC2 uses the NGC extension. Simply type in “ngc” where the “tap” extension is listed. At this point you are ready to make your board. Click Accept and make my board. The rest is history.

It will show you a preview if your Java is enabled. Otherwise, you may need to use EMC2 with your motor controllers (Syncro AMP in my case) turned off. Run the code as you would normally and see what comes up on the screen.

Eagle/PCB-GCODE ViewerThis is what your router should route. I wish that I could view the drill file, but no one has been able to solve this problem for me as of this writing. Running the drill code with the motor controllers tuned off will be the best way for me to verify that the holes will drill.

Also, knowing a little GCODE can help verify if something is wrong in the drill files. GCODE is something for another day. Robin at Lumenlab has written a few good GCODE articles that sum up the hand coding process very well. I will try to give my personal experience with GCODE at a later date.

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About robbie

I am an electronics enthusiest and a ham radio operator (W1RCP). I like to play with electronics. It's fun and educational. I looked forward to working in the engineering field in the future. I have a BS in Electronics Engineering Technology from DeVry University. I also have an Associate's degree in Marketing Management from Moultrie Tech, and a diploma in Electronics from MTC.

4 thoughts on “Converting an Eagle Board to GCODE

  1. Hey Robbie,

    I need your help. I write DXF as an extension for my file to be read by Kcam, but when I open the file by Kcam I always find that it isn’t read. What can I do? knowing that I can’t work with EMC2 because I don’t use linux and Mach3 doesn’t work on my machine, so Kcam is the only solution.

    I’m waiting for your reply. Thanks