Saturday, June 19, 2010

PCB isolation routing - first attempt

Last night I downloaded CADsoft Eagle schematic drawing and PCB design software. Learned just enough to make a basic board. Used an Eagle to Gcode converter and created the gcode.

Tie-wrapped a rollerball pen in place of my router, added a flat (MDF) auxiliary table on the Router base, got the paper flat.

Started the EMC software, opened the gcode file. It looked perfect with a "rats nest" of jogs. I set X and Y to home, set the touchoff, and hit 'go'. Board is about 2.5 by 2.0 inches.

Son-uv-a-gun. It did pretty damn good. I am pretty sure I had some of the feed rates too high, and I think I skipped a step or two. Nevertheless, I was blown away. It takes a L O N G time to route. One key learning: keep as much copper on the PCB as you can!

Here is a close-of the bottom left of the PCB. The holes are marked quite well in the pad centers. This was not the case everywhere, though. Next time, I will slow down the steppers.

This will make prototyping PCBs fun, clean and fast (faster than the chemical options!).

I will document my complete setup and experience.

Here is a 73 second video of the CNC machine drawing with the roller-ball pen. You can see the pen flex and the paper move - these are, no doubt, large contributors to the inaccuracy. video


  1. Thank you so much for taking time to share your great experience and knowledge through video posting..pcb assembly

  2. Hi I am interested in building your router mount. Do you have any links of pics you could email on how did you build it?

  3. I designed the mount such that I could quickly (4 bolts, 10 minutes) switch from my 1/4" Craftsman wood router to my high-speed, 1/8" die grinder for doing PCBs. Drop me your email address and I'll send you some photos and drawings.

    WoodWorker B at Gmail dot com