FlatCAM pratical tutorial: contour – Part 5

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A feature that you can use every time is the final cut of the border to get your PCB.

In the previous version of FlatCAM you could not follow a specified profile, but in this new version this problem is avoided and you can cut a non linear border, like an Arduino shield.

Milled Arduino Shield LoRa EBYTE E32 copper clad
Milled Arduino Shield LoRa EBYTE E32 copper clad

Cut a normal border

In this PCB we have a normal border and you only must go to select a PCB_PCF8574_03_contour.gm1 and click on Cutout Tool.

You arrive in a panel with a lot of parameter

FlatCAM Cutout PCB panel
FlatCAM Cutout PCB panel

You can set the diameter of your tool, to cut I use this type of bit, and I get a very clean cut.

Double flute bits
Double flute bits

You can find It here

Now you must define how to cut this border (blue arrow):

  • Cut Z: is the same parameter of other panel, here you specify how deep you want to go.
  • Multi-Depth: this parameter is important here, and it is important whenever you need to remove a lot of material, here you specify how many material you want remove per pass, if you insert 2mm of Cut Z and 0,5mm of Multi-Depth FlatCAM generate 4 passes of 0,5mm.

A problem when you remove a border is that at the end of cut the material can hit the bit and be damaged, you can prevent this problem with Gaps and Gap size.

With that parameter you specify that you want mantain a little part of material to block the piece.

  • Gap size: it’s the amount of material you want to preserve;
  • Gaps: specify where you want preserve the material.
    • None: no preserve material;
    • LR: left and right;
    • TP: top and down;
    • 4: 4 pieces of materia left, right, top and down;
    • 2 LR: 2 pieces left and 2 pieces right;
    • 2 TB: 2 pieces top and 2 pieces down;
    • 8: 2 pieces on each side.

Now if you set 2 LR and 1.5mm of Gap size and than click on Generate Rectangular Geometry (if you click Generate Freeform Geometry the result is the same because border is rectangular), you obtain this geometry.

FlatCAM CutOut result
FlatCAM CutOut result

Non linear border

But.. if you need to create a mushroom PCB? The rectangular border is to reductive.

You can create you PCB with you IDE and by IDE create a particular border form, or you can import an image that will become your border.

So we are going to take this fantastic mushroom.

image/svg+xml

So we are going (as we already seen in the second part of this tutorial) to import the image File --> Import --> SVG as Gerber Object.., than move It over PCB.

Than select the mushroom.svg and click on button Cutout Tool.

Check that on Object to be cutout combo mushroom.svg is selected and set you preferred parameter at the end click on Generate Freeform Geometry.

FlatCAM Cutout PCB Panel mushroom freeform
FlatCAM Cutout PCB Panel mushroom freeform

The result is this fantastic mushroom PCB.

FlatCAM Cutout mushroom result
FlatCAM Cutout mushroom result

Manual Add Bridge Gaps

In this panel there is another features that can be very usefully: Manual Add Bridge Gaps.

This tool created to do a break of border is very usefully, if you select on Object to be cutout a generic geometry you can use Manual Add Bridge Gaps as a rubber to delete some piece of Geometry.

You can define the size of our “rubber” by set Gap size than you can click and delete all types of geometry not only the contour.

Result of rectangular contour

FlatCAM PCB pcf8574 contour
FlatCAM PCB pcf8574 contour

Thanks

  1. FlatCAM pratical tutorial: introduction, installation and import
  2. FlatCAM pratical tutorial: copper traces geometry
  3. FlatCAM pratical tutorial: clean non copper area
  4. FlatCAM pratical tutorial: silkscreen geometry
  5. FlatCAM pratical tutorial: contour
  6. FlatCAM pratical tutorial: gcode and PCB milling

You can find Gerber, fritzing, images and FlatCAM project files here.


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