# PCB Circular Ruler

#### ImWolf

Joined May 26, 2013
108
I don’t know how much machine shops charge. I was contemplating making one for wolf at no charge.
That's a very kind offer MrChips. I was contemplating making this thing myself but my shop does not include the required tooling for all those graduation lines let alone engraving the numbers. Do you have an NC mill at your disposal?

Wolf

#### ImWolf

Joined May 26, 2013
108
Here is a snapshot of the test order specification:
I can provide the gerber files but I'm not responsible for the production outcome, quality, or results.
On the snapshot you posted, I see PCB color of black, and silkscreen color of white..... doesn't this mean white text and markings on a black "board"?

This PCB method of obtaining what I need is so cheap compared to other options that I have to give it a try..... NO, I won't hold you responsible for taking all this time trying to help me.

Please post the gerber file and I'll contact JLC about any getting the order specifics correct.

Thanks,
Wolf

#### eetech00

Joined Jun 8, 2013
2,807
On the snapshot you posted, I see PCB color of black, and silkscreen color of white..... doesn't this mean white text and markings on a black "board"?
Yes. but you need to ask JLC if this can be changed.

A Aluminum PCB is made up of layers called a "stack". Each layer has a purpose in the fabrication process.
Each gerber file aids in the PCB fabrication process, either independently, or in combination with the other files. Each of the gerber files have specific file names. The (layer) stack is shown below (I'm not sure about this).

top silkscreen
top copper
top FR4
(mid) Aluminum
bottom FR4
bottom Copper
bottom silkscreen

You will need to ask what is required for your compass design (you probably won't need them all).

This PCB method of obtaining what I need is so cheap compared to other options that I have to give it a try..... NO, I won't hold you responsible for taking all this time trying to help me.
I think at the <$10 price, you can afford a couple of mistakes. Sometimes I've gone 3 design iterations on a standard PCB before I get it right. Please post the gerber file and I'll contact JLC about any getting the order specifics correct. Thanks, Wolf Remember...if you need holes in the design, let me know the size and location and I will add to the design. Otherwise, I'll post the gerber files later sometime today. Thread Starter #### ImWolf Joined May 26, 2013 108 I wrote to JLC asking them for help with some of the layer specifics, and color options..... I'll let you know when I get a reply. Until I get one of these in my hand and check it out for being sturdy and able to withstand some abuse, I'll leave the hole drilling for later. Thanks again, Wolf #### MrChips Joined Oct 2, 2009 25,011 That's a very kind offer MrChips. I was contemplating making this thing myself but my shop does not include the required tooling for all those graduation lines let alone engraving the numbers. Do you have an NC mill at your disposal? Wolf Yes. I built my own CNC. I can have a go at engraving the ring for you. I am not sure on how well the numbers will turn out. After engraving I will attempt to add black paint to the markings and then do a final polishing. Thread Starter #### ImWolf Joined May 26, 2013 108 Yes. I built my own CNC. I can have a go at engraving the ring for you. I am not sure on how well the numbers will turn out. After engraving I will attempt to add black paint to the markings and then do a final polishing. That's quite a feat.... I'd love to see a few pictures of your home made mill. For a lot of years I ran a Lucas floor mill with an Allen Bradley control.... envelope was 24' x 12' with a fully programmable 98" rotary table on about 7' of W axis slide. Many times my first "cutter" was a felt pen. :b I'm going to proceed with getting some of these "PCB" rulers made just to see how much bang for the buck I end up with. But hey, if you are willing to make one then I will be in your debt. Thank You, Wolf Last edited: #### MrSalts Joined Apr 2, 2020 842 Yes. but you need to ask JLC if this can be changed. A Aluminum PCB is made up of layers called a "stack". Each layer has a purpose in the fabrication process. Each gerber file aids in the PCB fabrication process, either independently, or in combination with the other files. Each of the gerber files have specific file names. The (layer) stack is shown below (I'm not sure about this). top silkscreen top mask top copper top FR4 (mid) Aluminum bottom FR4 bottom Copper bottom mask bottom silkscreen You will need to ask what is required for your compass design (you probably won't need them all). I think at the <$10 price, you can afford a couple of mistakes.

Sometimes I've gone 3 design iterations on a standard PCB before I get it right.

Remember...if you need holes in the design, let me know the size and location and I will add to the design.
Otherwise, I'll post the gerber files later sometime today.
Just put ALL of the files that DesignSpark generates into a .zip file and submit it (load Gerber).
They don't care if you put blank layers into the zip. They combine several orders into a sheet snd let it rip.
Also, depending on the version of DesignSpark you are using, you'll need to add a GERBER layer as you generate "Manufacturing Plots". Name the new layer, OUTLINE and cycle through tthe tabs until you see the list of layers. Change the N to a Y for board outline.
Also, just load it up in JLCPCB so you can use their Gerber viewer to preview to make sure WYSIWYG before you send it to the OP. You'll have to load the Gerbers as one Zip.

Last edited:

#### eetech00

Joined Jun 8, 2013
2,807
Just put ALL of the files that DesignSpark generates into a .zip file and submit it (load Gerber).
They don't care if you put blank layers into the zip. They combine several orders into a sheet snd let it rip.
Also, depending on the version of DesignSpark you are using, you'll need to add a GERBER layer as you generate "Manufacturing Plots". Name the new layer, OUTLINE and cycle through tthe tabs until you see the list of layers. Change the N to a Y for board outline.
Also, just load it up in JLCPCB so you can use their Gerber viewer to preview to make sure WYSIWYG before you send it to the OP. You'll have to load the Gerbers as one Zip.
Yes...I've done this many times with JLC....thanks.

I'll let the op do the upload since he will need the experience working with JLC to complete his order.

#### eetech00

Joined Jun 8, 2013
2,807
On the snapshot you posted, I see PCB color of black, and silkscreen color of white..... doesn't this mean white text and markings on a black "board"?

This PCB method of obtaining what I need is so cheap compared to other options that I have to give it a try..... NO, I won't hold you responsible for taking all this time trying to help me.

Please post the gerber file and I'll contact JLC about any getting the order specifics correct.

Thanks,
Wolf
Hi

Here are the gerber files I have renamed them to JLC'c standard naming convention.

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#### ImWolf

Joined May 26, 2013
108
Hi

Here are the gerber files I have renamed them to JLC'c standard naming convention.
The e-mail response I got from JLC was useless to me. I submitted the gerber file and chose the appropriate options, then added the order to a cart.

The only visual depiction of my order is a small image on the cart order... and it doesn't look like black on white. Is there a way to see exactly what they plan on producing?

Thanks,
Wolf

#### ImWolf

Joined May 26, 2013
108
Next Q: Is there any open source (free) software out there than I can use to generate or edit a PCB design and the associated Gerber files?

Thanks,
Wolf

#### djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
8,074
I have a free copy of DipTrace that I use to design my PCBs. It has an option to output Gerber files. So the process is create/edit my PCB in DipTrace and when I am satisfied, I export it to a zip of all the Gerber files. This is what I send to the PCB mfg company. I’ve used it to generate complex files, with unusual shapes and internal cutouts. You just need to edit the board outline, which is one Gerber file generated.

#### eetech00

Joined Jun 8, 2013
2,807
The e-mail response I got from JLC was useless to me. I submitted the gerber file and chose the appropriate options, then added the order to a cart.

The only visual depiction of my order is a small image on the cart order... and it doesn't look like black on white. Is there a way to see exactly what they plan on producing?

View attachment 246388

Thanks,
Wolf
WYSIWYG "What you see is what you will get"

Can you post the technical info from your order so we can review (no personal information please!)?

You can send a message to customer service within the JLC site. Ask them if you can change the solder mask color to white and keep the black silkscreen. Usually they permit you to review the image and authorize production.

#### ImWolf

Joined May 26, 2013
108
I have a free copy of DipTrace
Thank You..... I D/L and installed this..... now comes a lot of time to play with it. :b

Wolf

#### eetech00

Joined Jun 8, 2013
2,807
Next Q: Is there any open source (free) software out there than I can use to generate or edit a PCB design and the associated Gerber files?

Thanks,
Wolf
PCB design software uses proprietary file formats and so can only be edited by the source program.
Gerber editors exist but are a PITA to use and so I don't recommend them.

There are special customization programs you can use with Autocad for PCB design and gerber file output.
The one I remember back in the day was called "AutoBaoard". But really all you need is a DXF to GBR program.

#### djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
8,074
PCB design software uses proprietary file formats and so can only be edited by the source program.
Gerber editors exist but are a PITA to use and so I don't recommend them.

There are special customization programs you can use with Autocad for PCB design and gerber file output.
The one I remember back in the day was called "AutoBaoard". But really all you need is a DXF to GBR program.
Not true. Many PCB design programs will export the Gerber files, from their proprietary format. If the have this export feature, then ease of use becomes the primary decision point.

#### eetech00

Joined Jun 8, 2013
2,807
Thank You..... I D/L and installed this..... now comes a lot of time to play with it. :b

Wolf
I will be very surprised if any PCB design program will provide the tools you need to create the compass graphic.
Just sayin....

#### eetech00

Joined Jun 8, 2013
2,807
Not true. Many PCB design programs will export the Gerber files, from their proprietary format. If the have this export feature, then ease of use becomes the primary decision point.
What statement is not true?

#### djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
8,074
I will be very surprised if any PCB design program will provide the tools you need to create the compass graphic.
Just sayin....
Then, prepare to be surprised!