Shapeoko 2: PCB via plotter/sharpie method

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firefox2026
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 6:21 pm

Shapeoko 2: PCB via plotter/sharpie method

Post by firefox2026 » Mon May 26, 2014 7:42 pm

OK so I got my new shapoko 2 recently and was doing the hello world plotter step. I decided that it might be nice just to sharpie plot out and etch a PCB rather than milling it out for my first go around. At least if I screw up the plot its easy to clean and start over etc. However it seems like it has been a real pain to find any software that doesn't want to mill out the PCB rather than just follow the traces. I guess I would have thought this would been done before and be easier than it ended up so far. One thing is I was using diptrace as a layout tool which only exports dxf or gerber files (of that I figure would be pertinent. it does export other files). I tried inkscape and it seems to not do anything when I try to import the dxf file. I ended up having to use turbocad (which I happen to have) and use it to convert the dxf file to svg. Well when I tried that but when I tried to use the gcodetools extension it seems to hang up in processing. I went to makercam and same deal it takes forever "cleaning" the file and ends up doing nothing. Well I tired just about every free tool I could find like pycam and seems like they were all geared for milling out only or they would hang or crash as well.

In the end well I found best promise this unicorn inkscape extension which was intended to use a servo for the pen up down movement on a different machine.. I ended up hacking it's output to change the pen moments to Z movements for the Shapeoko 2. Also, at the end of the day I ended up importing into inkscape a a pdf print out of my diptrace layout because the SVG file way was trying to draw 50 little radial lines to build a circle, which is probably why it was crashing the other software I tried in hindsight. So after a lot of hair pulling and hacking presto I got close to what I wanted with a test board. I still can't get it to totally fill in SMT rectangles and part of the circles, and the pitch of this example layout is a bit of a challenge for the pen, but I was impressed with how well it worked the first time. This will be sufficient for the circuit I want to make, but will probably require some manual filling in and/or more hacking. I am not sure yet if it is the way the PDF is being generated or if Unicorn script is processing the file that way. It also prints the circles/squares three times for some reason I am also not sure if that is the way the pdf file is being processed or something that was done intentionally in the script yet.

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So is there any better way to get something like this to work easier and that doesn't cost a ton or at least has a trial period so I know its going to work? I sure haven't had much luck so far other than the hacker method.. I tried things like pyCam, NCplot, NC corrector, Flatcam, probably more I can't remember... lol I just couldn't find anything that would do a simple plotter type operation that was obvious or that wouldn't crash or hang etc.

ThinkItShapeIt
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:43 pm

Re: Shapeoko 2: PCB via plotter/sharpie method

Post by ThinkItShapeIt » Mon May 26, 2014 8:24 pm

I had luck with Cadsoft Eagle and Pcb2gcode plugin script. I recommend giving it a shot.

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firefox2026
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 6:21 pm

Re: Shapeoko 2: PCB via plotter/sharpie method

Post by firefox2026 » Mon May 26, 2014 9:02 pm

Yeah thanks I forgot to mention I wasn't very excited about Eagle the last time I tried it, which was a few years ago.. but maybe I be forced that way..

SuperSwinka45
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:38 pm

Re:

Post by SuperSwinka45 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:13 pm

Thank you very much for that topic. It is very informative and useful for me. BTW. Hello to everyone I am new here and it is my first post.

Oud
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 5:54 am

Re: Shapeoko 2: PCB via plotter/sharpie method

Post by Oud » Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:25 pm

That looks rally nice but it seems like some of the traces are contacting other pins towards the top. Have you tried etching yet with the sharpie as your resist?
Stock Shapeoko2, First pre-order batch.

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