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FlatCam as a 'Regular' Plotter

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 12:03:20 GMT

I started using FlatCam for isolation routing, but now use the CNC as a plotter. Using a marker the pcb is drawn on, then chemically etched. I managed to get FlatCam to plot inside the polygons by giving a negative offset - and even though I'm Python ignorant, it was not difficult. The problem is that, depending on track width, the linearring envelope is too wide, and can mean the center of the track is not inked as heavily, causing etching problems. I reckon that if, on the last pass the linearring could be converted to a linestring using def geos_linestring_from_py(ob, update_geom=None, update_ndim=0): maybe that would work. But as is probably clear by now, I don't have much of a clue how to do that, or even if it will work. Any pointers would be very welcome, but I've a feeling that this may not be possible/easy.

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 19:29:38 GMT

Try using a larger overlap: http://flatcam.org/manual/objectreference.html#isolation-routing Or, try "painting" the area instead of doing isolation routing: http://flatcam.org/manual/objectreference.html#paint-area JP

Sat, 12 Nov 2016 02:02:08 GMT

I seem to be after the same thing, plotting gerbers and having the copper drawn on with a laser to cure UV mask, and then etch. I just tried the development version and used follow + paint area on a gerber file and it seems to provide the perfect output. Has support for running a contour + infill. Looking forward to taking the resulting g-code for a test drive! The instructions for the development version was a bit unclear, but I seemed to get it working by using the WinPython-64bit- and drag'n'drop FlatCAM.py onto WinPython Interpreter.exe. (I'm a complete Python noob). If follow makes it to the GUI the next release would be pretty awesome for the new cheap low power laser engravers from Chinese sites.

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 11:24:18 GMT

Just did this board yesterday, only used KiCad and FlatCam. However quite a lot of manual steps in FlatCam that would make the process less suited for a large board. Biggest time consumer was to subtract the drill holes from the copper to make it easier to drill by hand, and the next to subtract the solder mask from the board outline to essentially invert it. Would it be possible to have a subtract geometry to work on an entire layer like the Edit -> Join geometry, that would handle this in one process? After the manual work I just did a paint area with 0.1mm tool and 0.3 overlap. F3000 and about 10-15mW for the photoresist, F2000 and 30mW for the solder mask and 2-3 passes, and results are pretty okay. [2016-11-18 11](//muut.com/u/flatcam/s1/:flatcam:efAH:2016111811.15.46.jpg.jpg)

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 16:44:50 GMT

To plott pcb traces please use negative tool diameter. Try multiple passes and pass overlap to fill properly. I'm using _STAEDTLER permanent laundry_, it is the most resistant from all i tested. In that case, diameter -0.75 and overlap 0.5 works well: [Screenshot_20161216_174323](//muut.com/u/flatcam/s3/:flatcam:VZmo:screenshot_20161216_174323.png.jpg) There is my pen-holder for this one: http://a360.co/2hDibda

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 04:53:48 GMT

There is a way to add drill guides to a gerber. A bit of manual editing but it does work.