Results from etching a circuit board – Eagle, PCB-GCODE, micRo CNC router

etched circuit board
I etched my first circuit boards today. I have found that I need better tactics for this to really work. The MDF base that I am using is not working, so I am going to try a poly cutting board, which should have better humidity tolerance. I also believe that taping the circuit board material down will improve the height differences. Using screws on the MDF made the middle of the circuit board material bind causing the router bit to etch more than normal, yet on the edges nothing would be removed.
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A Quick Image to Gcode Tutorial Using EMC2

Start with this document: EMC2 User Manual (PDF) – Check out chapter 22.

micRoWhen I say quick, I mean lightning fast quick. The video accompanying this is about 4 minutes long. I used GIMP in Ubuntu 8.04 to make some lettering. It simply says, “micRo”.  I used sans bold font and made it fit in a 1.5″ x 7″ area. I cropped the image and saved it under a .png file.
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Two micRo CNC Router Videos: Drawing a ruler and EMC Image to GCODE

These are two videos and pictures of today’s experimentation. I tried out Image to GCODE in EMC2, and I tried out a GCODE program that I wrote to draw a ruler. Overall, I think it was a pretty good afternoon. The King Josiah would look better if carved in wood, but I’m not ready for that yet. I used GIMP to put black text on a white background. Then I loaded it into EMC2.
Image to GCODE
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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.
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