Second CNC Experiments

by Octapoo

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 at 08:36:00 UTC

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I woke up today with a good idea for how I wanted to add curves to my PCB program, so now I can make a better fuck.

I also wrote some shit to do bed level detection, using the machine's ability to home in on the surface and stop when a wire clipped to the carving bit makes contact with another clipped to the PCB itself. So it can carve full shapes now, kind of.

Now it just has a problem of losing USB connection, and thus stopping part-way through.

I ran a test file like 7 times several different ways. Somehow the problem only occurs when the spindle motor is active and carving into the metal. If the motor is merely turned on and it's going through all of the same motions, just a bit above the surface, there's no problem. I can't figure out why as it happens even when I disconnect the wire from the copper sheet and thus it's fully isolated from everything else, not that it should matter since the carving bit is also electrically isolated.

Anyway, something that strikes me as dumb about other milled PCBs I see on the internet is that their milling paths are simply an ordinary PCB image with outlines around all of the tracks, which makes for a lot of unnecessary bits of copper between tracks. Where two tracks need to be separated, there's often two cuts between them rather than just one.

Here's an example from the internet:

My intention is to just make a single cut between traces and to basically use all of the available copper for the circuit, whether it's needed or not, simply because it's there, so why not?

It's not the easiest thing to see since I carved it into wood but here's an example of what I want to do:

For the moment I'm just drawing the cuts manually on the silkscreen layer in my program, but once I have this shit working well, I have a terrible idea for how to generate this type of cutting path automatically, which should work fine despite the idea being terrible. Basically I just want to create a big image of the board and then slowly add pixels to the edge of all traces until they run into other traces, then have some code trace around the new edges, which are always only where two traces meet, and create a single cut there to separate the two.


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