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CNC'ing PCB's - Aligning board using camera and fiducials.

Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:32 am
by Mahonroy
Hey guys, I have been lurking around a bit, and this is my first post.
After several failed attempts to find the correct information via google, I figured I would come here and ask.

Currently I am using cadsoft eagle to make PCB layouts, pcb-gcode to create the gcode files, and Mach3 to cut the boards.

I want to rig up a camera to the spindle, and have software locate a couple fiducials, and have the alignment corrected (either by having it alter my gcode, adjusting some rotation setting, etc. honestly I don't really know).

So my question is has anyone done anything like this? Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks and any help is greatly appreciated!

Re: CNC'ing PCB's - Aligning board using camera and fiducial

Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 1:16 am
by WillAdams
ISTR there was at least one person who mounted a camera.

http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic ... 5&start=20

Re: CNC'ing PCB's - Aligning board using camera and fiducial

Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:14 pm
by Hans
I've seen fiducials and cameras working in commercial electronics manufacturing and I understand it's industry standard for aligning the various layers of the board, pick-and-place, etc., but is it an ideal solution for just the machining? It seems like getting homing and jogging set up would be easier and accomplish the same task. That is, once you know the board's (0,0) in the machine's coordinate system you can home it after tool change and the drill hole positions will be as accurate as your homing. I haven't milled PCBs, what am I missing?

Re: CNC'ing PCB's - Aligning board using camera and fiducial

Posted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:35 pm
by cvoinescu
For milling the boards, pins or other locating devices work nicely -- you don't really need to bother with a camera (although, of course, machine vision is way cool). For pick and place, you can do either -- if you milled the boards yourself on the same machine and used the same locating pins, the components would be aligned, but if you had the boards made, fiducials would be more precise, because they would not be dependent on the manufacturer aligning everything accurately, nor on you and them using the exact same scale.