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Fixture for PCB Routing

April 17, 2012 4 comments

I hope my neighbors don’t mind me milling things late at night. The vacuum is the loudest over the router and stepper motors, so they’ll probably just think I like my house really clean. To kick off my CNC adventures, I’m making a fixture to hold PCBs for isolation routing.

SketchUp model of fixture.

It’s nothing fancy, it mainly helped me understand the CAM portion making stuff. I ended up not using the Sketchup model because of added learning involved to use a script or something, but it can be done. Instead I used CAD to draw the square with the rounded out corner reliefs, then used the CAM software CamBam to setup the stock size and generate G-code.¬† My worst problem was trying to make the coordinate systems jive between the CamBam and my machine. In standard drawing coordinates, the +x goes to the right, while my machine’s +x moves left. This was corrected with an option to set a separate¬† machining origin, and also using offsets in the machines software.

The raw PCB fits nice!

I made the pocket for the PCB slightly larger than the width and length of the raw stock and to a depth of .060″ to match the thickness. The corners were over cut to allow the PCB’s square corners to fit. Next I’ll be drawing up some various clamps to go over the edges to press down. By using some double sided tape underneath, the PCB should be a little higher to give the clamps something to press into. I’m also going to add two locator pins so the fixture can be taken off and put back on in the same place. Built into G-code are places to store fixture locations and makes having multiple fixtures even easier. I milled the main pocket and corners separate and both programs aligned perfectly, Yay!

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Categories: CNC Machine Tags: ,