Topics

pcb-gcode and Altium

John Dammeyer
 

Hi,

I posted a few days ago asking about pcb-gcode and altium.  Unfortunately no response.  I’m approaching a deadline date where I have to choose to upgrade my Altium for $2800 or switch over to Eagle Professional for $1780.  Although the price looks like a no brainer there’s the significant learning curve for the new cad software which is non-billable consulting.

 

But the pcb-gcode looks like it could be the deciding factor.

 

Anyone on this group who has used both Altium (Protel 99SE) and Eagle and is now using pcb-gcode that can address the differences between the two CAD packages?  Is it worthwhile to change over?

 

Thanks

John Dammeyer.

 

 

"ELS! Nothing else works as well for your Lathe"

Automation Artisans Inc.

http://www.autoartisans.com/ELS/

Ph. 1 250 544 4950

 

 

mlmcnc
 

Hi John,

Let me say first of all I know nothing about Altium but PCB-Gcode is a ULP (User Language Program) for Eagle. It takes the internal representation of the board from Eagle and produces Gcode from it. As it is so closely integrated with Eagle I would be very surprised if it would work with any other software.

Regards
Martin Marriott
mlmSolutions

John Dammeyer
 

Thanks Martin,

I did try importing a pcad ascii format layout into Eagle but the flood fills and other errors were a bit overwhelming.  That and the totally different development environment makes me wonder if it’s worth the time changing over just because pcb-gcode works with it.

OTOH, the instantaneous turn around of PCB milling instead of etching my own boards is very attractive.

John

 

From: pcb-gcode@... [mailto:pcb-gcode@...]
Sent: May-21-14 9:42 AM
To: pcb-gcode@...
Subject: [pcb-gcode] Re: pcb-gcode and Altium

 



Hi John,

Let me say first of all I know nothing about Altium but PCB-Gcode is a ULP (User Language Program) for Eagle. It takes the internal representation of the board from Eagle and produces Gcode from it. As it is so closely integrated with Eagle I would be very surprised if it would work with any other software.

Regards
Martin Marriott
mlmSolutions


mlmcnc
 

I have to say that the ability to design a PCB, cut it on the CNC, assemble it and test it within a few hours (as I have just done today) is a wonderful thing.

However, the UI on Eagle is somewhat "unique" and will take some getting used to, but it is not that hard.

Martin Marriott
mlmSolutions

Paul Kiedrowski
 

I'm not sure how many versions (ie. price points) are there of Altium, but when we evaluated it for our company, it was clearly a more powerful package than Eagle.
However, while their price is reasonable today, I've seen too many CAD tools that suck you in then milk you forever for upgrades. Altium is really geared for stealing market share from Mentor Graphics PADS users.
 
Eagle has a clunky user interface and very limited tools. If you want to mill boards from Altium, you might try generating milling paths from Gerbers.
There is CopperCam (~$100) and I think something called Power Tools on the Cadsoft downloads that might take Gerbers but I'm not sure.
Also if you don't already have a CNC then you need to consider that cost too. You might be better off just buying proto boards from China or AP Circuits for example, at least you can easily do fine pitch and with real vias.
 
-Paul

From: "'John Dammeyer' johnd@... [pcb-gcode]"
To: pcb-gcode@...
Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 10:57 AM
Subject: [pcb-gcode] pcb-gcode and Altium

 
Hi,
I posted a few days ago asking about pcb-gcode and altium.  Unfortunately no response.  I’m approaching a deadline date where I have to choose to upgrade my Altium for $2800 or switch over to Eagle Professional for $1780.  Although the price looks like a no brainer there’s the significant learning curve for the new cad software which is non-billable consulting.
 
But the pcb-gcode looks like it could be the deciding factor.
 
Anyone on this group who has used both Altium (Protel 99SE) and Eagle and is now using pcb-gcode that can address the differences between the two CAD packages?  Is it worthwhile to change over?
 
Thanks
John Dammeyer.
 
 
"ELS! Nothing else works as well for your Lathe"
Automation Artisans Inc.
Ph. 1 250 544 4950
 
 


John Dammeyer
 

Thanks Paul,

CopperCam appears to be what I was looking for.  I already have the CNC although it requires some work to make it a bit more precise.

John

 

From: pcb-gcode@... [mailto:pcb-gcode@...]
Sent: May-22-14 7:39 PM
To: pcb-gcode@...
Subject: Re: [pcb-gcode] pcb-gcode and Altium

 




I'm not sure how many versions (ie. price points) are there of Altium, but when we evaluated it for our company, it was clearly a more powerful package than Eagle.

However, while their price is reasonable today, I've seen too many CAD tools that suck you in then milk you forever for upgrades. Altium is really geared for stealing market share from Mentor Graphics PADS users.

 

Eagle has a clunky user interface and very limited tools. If you want to mill boards from Altium, you might try generating milling paths from Gerbers.

There is CopperCam (~$100) and I think something called Power Tools on the Cadsoft downloads that might take Gerbers but I'm not sure.

Also if you don't already have a CNC then you need to consider that cost too. You might be better off just buying proto boards from China or AP Circuits for example, at least you can easily do fine pitch and with real vias.

 

-Paul

 

From: "'John Dammeyer' johnd@... [pcb-gcode]"
To: pcb-gcode@...
Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 10:57 AM
Subject: [pcb-gcode] pcb-gcode and Altium

 

 

Hi,

I posted a few days ago asking about pcb-gcode and altium.  Unfortunately no response.  I’m approaching a deadline date where I have to choose to upgrade my Altium for $2800 or switch over to Eagle Professional for $1780.  Although the price looks like a no brainer there’s the significant learning curve for the new cad software which is non-billable consulting.

 

But the pcb-gcode looks like it could be the deciding factor.

 

Anyone on this group who has used both Altium (Protel 99SE) and Eagle and is now using pcb-gcode that can address the differences between the two CAD packages?  Is it worthwhile to change over?

 

Thanks

John Dammeyer.

 

 

"ELS! Nothing else works as well for your Lathe"

Automation Artisans Inc.

Ph. 1 250 544 4950

 

 

 




Paul Kiedrowski
 

Just a note of caution, CopperCam didn't work well on very complex boards for me.
Maybe my settings weren't right, but it did OK on less intense work.
Maybe there is a demo version you can try out one of your designs on first.

From: "'John Dammeyer' johnd@... [pcb-gcode]"
To: pcb-gcode@...
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2014 10:10 PM
Subject: RE: [pcb-gcode] pcb-gcode and Altium

 
Thanks Paul,
CopperCam appears to be what I was looking for.  I already have the CNC although it requires some work to make it a bit more precise.
John
 
From: pcb-gcode@... [mailto:pcb-gcode@...]
Sent: May-22-14 7:39 PM
To: pcb-gcode@...
Subject: Re: [pcb-gcode] pcb-gcode and Altium
 



I'm not sure how many versions (ie. price points) are there of Altium, but when we evaluated it for our company, it was clearly a more powerful package than Eagle.
However, while their price is reasonable today, I've seen too many CAD tools that suck you in then milk you forever for upgrades. Altium is really geared for stealing market share from Mentor Graphics PADS users.
 
Eagle has a clunky user interface and very limited tools. If you want to mill boards from Altium, you might try generating milling paths from Gerbers.
There is CopperCam (~$100) and I think something called Power Tools on the Cadsoft downloads that might take Gerbers but I'm not sure.
Also if you don't already have a CNC then you need to consider that cost too. You might be better off just buying proto boards from China or AP Circuits for example, at least you can easily do fine pitch and with real vias.
 
-Paul
 
From: "'John Dammeyer' johnd@... [pcb-gcode]"
To: pcb-gcode@...
Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 10:57 AM
Subject: [pcb-gcode] pcb-gcode and Altium
 
 
Hi,
I posted a few days ago asking about pcb-gcode and altium.  Unfortunately no response.  I’m approaching a deadline date where I have to choose to upgrade my Altium for $2800 or switch over to Eagle Professional for $1780.  Although the price looks like a no brainer there’s the significant learning curve for the new cad software which is non-billable consulting.
 
But the pcb-gcode looks like it could be the deciding factor.
 
Anyone on this group who has used both Altium (Protel 99SE) and Eagle and is now using pcb-gcode that can address the differences between the two CAD packages?  Is it worthwhile to change over?
 
Thanks
John Dammeyer.
 
 
"ELS! Nothing else works as well for your Lathe"
Automation Artisans Inc.
Ph. 1 250 544 4950
 
 
 





John Dammeyer
 

There is a demo version.  For the small board I’m trying it seems to import fine.  I’m having issues with metric verses imperial size etc.  The G-Code produced does load into MACH3.  I’m also realizing this is going to take a lot of time. 

Thanks

John

 

 

From: pcb-gcode@... [mailto:pcb-gcode@...]
Sent: May-22-14 9:10 PM
To: pcb-gcode@...
Subject: Re: [pcb-gcode] pcb-gcode and Altium

 




Just a note of caution, CopperCam didn't work well on very complex boards for me.

Maybe my settings weren't right, but it did OK on less intense work.

Maybe there is a demo version you can try out one of your designs on first.

 

From: "'John Dammeyer' johnd@... [pcb-gcode]"
To: pcb-gcode@...
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2014 10:10 PM
Subject: RE: [pcb-gcode] pcb-gcode and Altium

 

 

Thanks Paul,

CopperCam appears to be what I was looking for.  I already have the CNC although it requires some work to make it a bit more precise.

John

 

From: pcb-gcode@... [mailto:pcb-gcode@...]
Sent: May-22-14 7:39 PM
To: pcb-gcode@...
Subject: Re: [pcb-gcode] pcb-gcode and Altium

 



I'm not sure how many versions (ie. price points) are there of Altium, but when we evaluated it for our company, it was clearly a more powerful package than Eagle.

However, while their price is reasonable today, I've seen too many CAD tools that suck you in then milk you forever for upgrades. Altium is really geared for stealing market share from Mentor Graphics PADS users.

 

Eagle has a clunky user interface and very limited tools. If you want to mill boards from Altium, you might try generating milling paths from Gerbers.

There is CopperCam (~$100) and I think something called Power Tools on the Cadsoft downloads that might take Gerbers but I'm not sure.

Also if you don't already have a CNC then you need to consider that cost too. You might be better off just buying proto boards from China or AP Circuits for example, at least you can easily do fine pitch and with real vias.

 

-Paul

 

From: "'John Dammeyer' johnd@... [pcb-gcode]"
To: pcb-gcode@...
Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 10:57 AM
Subject: [pcb-gcode] pcb-gcode and Altium

 

 

Hi,

I posted a few days ago asking about pcb-gcode and altium.  Unfortunately no response.  I’m approaching a deadline date where I have to choose to upgrade my Altium for $2800 or switch over to Eagle Professional for $1780.  Although the price looks like a no brainer there’s the significant learning curve for the new cad software which is non-billable consulting.

 

But the pcb-gcode looks like it could be the deciding factor.

 

Anyone on this group who has used both Altium (Protel 99SE) and Eagle and is now using pcb-gcode that can address the differences between the two CAD packages?  Is it worthwhile to change over?

 

Thanks

John Dammeyer.

 

 

"ELS! Nothing else works as well for your Lathe"

Automation Artisans Inc.

Ph. 1 250 544 4950