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Path optimizer

ct1fgw
 

Hi guys,

 

I have been using pcb-gcode for some time but I normally do small boards. I have now a far more complex board to do and I am facing a lonnnng etching time. Is there a path optimizer I can use to fix the headless chicken logic my machine uses to etch?

I think Eagle maintains the order of the track routing and since I do hand routing and much editing, the CNC does a little here, then moves to the other extreme of the board does a little more and moves again somewhere else, on and on. Since my machine is not the fastest in the world, it can take quite a while.

I looked for optimizer in the messages section, but I think you were talking about something else.

I am using Eagle 6.2 , Turbo CNC and the latest version of pcb-gcode.

 

Since I am using the vacuum table to hold the boards, I stopped drilling in the CNC. I just do spotting and drill by hand, but this board has a lot to drill. What do you guys do to protect the vacuum table?

My vacuum pump is high vacuum but low volume, so I cannot afford a lot of leakage.

 

Any comments would be appreciated.

 

João


Art Eckstein
 

João,
Can't help you on the optimizing, but I also use
a vacuum chuck. In my case, because of the low
volume pump and because my board stock is
sometimes warped, I seal the edges down with tape
to my fixture which has a slight recess in it.
This also helps maintain the board in position
when I start drilling in my derlin fixture! So
what if I end up with a bunch of pock marks in
the fixture and the tape helps hold the board and
at this point, there is only down force on the
board. Drilling is the last step in my operation as all etching is done first!

Art
Country Bubba

At 10:31 AM 5/17/2014, you wrote:


Hi guys,



I have been using pcb-gcode for some time but I
normally do small boards. I have now a far more
complex board to do and I am facing a lonnnng
etching time. Is there a path optimizer I can
use to fix the headless chicken logic my machine uses to etch?

I think Eagle maintains the order of the track
routing and since I do hand routing and much
editing, the CNC does a little here, then moves
to the other extreme of the board does a little
more and moves again somewhere else, on and on.
Since my machine is not the fastest in the world, it can take quite a while.

I looked for optimizer in the messages section,
but I think you were talking about something else.

I am using Eagle 6.2 , Turbo CNC and the latest version of pcb-gcode.



Since I am using the vacuum table to hold the
boards, I stopped drilling in the CNC. I just do
spotting and drill by hand, but this board has a
lot to drill. What do you guys do to protect the vacuum table?

My vacuum pump is high vacuum but low volume, so
I cannot afford a lot of leakage.



Any comments would be appreciated.



João

mlmcnc
 

Hi João

I'm a little puzzled about your request for an optimiser as you say you have the latest version. The latest version is 3.6.2.x and has inbuilt optimisation as standard. The etch files and drill files are optimised but not the mill files.

As for the vacuum chuck it is certainly tricky with LVHP pumps. HVLP would be more appropriate. However, I have had some success by using a rubber sheet (about 3mm thick) between the chuck and board. This has holes in a matrix to match the chuck and as long as you don't drill too far into it it can be used quite a few times before it needs replacing. It also increases the friction which helps greatly to increase the horizontal forces you can achieve (not particularly relevant for board etching though).

Regards
Martin Marriott
mlmSolutions


ct1fgw
 

Hi,

Thank you Art and Martin for the reply.

 

First, regarding the optimizer. I am sorry, the new version of software is really better. I used the wrong computer and so I was still using the old software. But it was not my fault, it was Murphy.

 

Regarding the drilling, probably the rubber mat with holes is the better solution for me. I like a hard strait surface for etching as it straitens out the board, even if it is a bit warped. I don’t use a leveler and I have been successful so far. The high vacuum really pulls the board down. Since for drilling the leveling is not so critical, I can then use the thicker rubber (but it is going to be a lot of holes to be punched!).

My vacuum table has an edge I butt the board against and a position pin (drilled at 0,0) so that I can flip the board if it is a double sided. I can use the same system to be able to register the board for drilling, after fitting the drilling rubber.

 

A new issue for me, has to do with the text. I seldom do text (because I am lazy) but the board I am doing at the moment has a two line text. One line NAME second line DATE, one below the other. The two lines come up one on top of the other. I side stepped this by doing two messages, one with the NAME and the other with the DATE.

 

I am not complaining, (the price is right :-)), just to let you guys know, if this is news at all.

 

Thanks again

João

 

P.S. is there a new viewer?