PCB Circular Ruler

Thread Starter

ImWolf

Joined May 26, 2013
108
I may have spoke too soon about hand writing G-Code for this project.... the graduation lines would be easy enough, but I have never been required to write code for engraving (milling) text of any sort. One would surely need CAM software for that.

Photo or electric etching has been considered and discussed on this forum and another, but for myself that would be as much of a learning curve as this approach is, and more costly from what I've gathered. Now I'm interested in pursuing this aluminum PCB method just to see what the possibilities are.

<Mod: Deleted offensive text.>

Have a nice day.... :b
Wolf
 
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strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,695
I know mods don't have the time or desire (totally understandable especially in this instance) to summarize what was excised in a mod edit but without that context, a thread can become hard to follow and replies might be time wasted. So I hope I'm not crossing any lines by giving the following Cliff's Notes:

"<Mod: Deleted offensive text.>" = TS delivered a politically charged diatribe about their hatred for Bill Gates and Microsoft products, which included slurs against transgender people.

There is no need to further suggest/recommend/discuss any Microsoft products in this thread. TS will absolutely not be swayed.
 

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,647
The tranny comment hit kinda close to home. The fact is if you're transgender the odds of you dying by violence go way up.
 
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jiggermole

Joined Jul 29, 2016
48
well ignoring all the extra back and forth in the thread, I use eaglecad for my pcb design. Its owned by Autodesk now so its integrated with autocad and fusion 360. I know for a fact you can take your board and import it right into fusion 360. I don't use that function, but I've played with it.

As far as the the construction of the thing, I don't think the aluminum pcb is going to hold up for any significant amount of time. The cheapness of being able to have a fab house pump out multiple copies will make up for this though so that works.

I work in a place that uses quite a few lasers for etching on steel and that holds up WAY better than you'd think it should. I've used them for some "government projects" to cut and etch parts for myself and it works well.

The cnc engraved one I think is you're best bet for longevity, something you can bolt on and not have to replace after a while. The engraved partitions filled in with a black epoxy for readability and durability.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
723
The tranny comment hit kinda close to home. The fact is if you're transgender the odds of you dying by violence go way up.
Mod @Wendy -
So, let me get this straight, as long as we out ourselves about why a particular political issue affects us (i.e. 'why a topic "hits close to home" for us'), we are allowed to post political rants? Thanks for clarifying the site's position on politics - albeit on a rather obscure thread for such purposes.
 

Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,647
Nope, I apologize if that's what I did. It was my way of letting me @ImWolf know to be very careful with his rants . His one day ban will expire very soon, and I am now following him.
 
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eetech00

Joined Jun 8, 2013
2,653
@ eetech00

I would like to change some properties of the design you created from my original image. I'd like to make the text larger (.100 high characters) and modify the lengths of the graduation lines. (.100, .200, and .300 from the 3.5 Dia. cutout.)

Not having any luck with Diptrace or Designspark.... can you tell me what software you used to create the board and then generate the gerber files?

Thanks,
Wolf
Hello

1. I created the design in AutoCADLT 2021 from scratch using the image you posted as a guide then generated a DXF file.
2. Imported the DXF file into DesignSpark PCB (DSPCB).
3. After import (I fixed the following in DSPCB):
3.1 There was an issue with the inner and outer circle and I had to recreate them, but that was very easy.
3.2 The text was not in the correct orientation, so I had to reposition them, but again, that was easy.
It took me about 30 minutes total in DSPCB to correct 3.1 and 3.2.
I probably could have avoided 3.2 (and 3.1) if I had coordinated the Text justification and styles between AutoCAD and DSPCB for smoother transfer results, but I was in a hurry.

The whole thing took about 4 hrs for me to complete, but that incudes "re-learning AutoCAD", since I hadn't used it for about 15 years.

I recommend fixing the AutoCAD drawing in line with item 3 above before DXF import. I can try to correct mine and post if you like.
 

ericgibbs

Joined Jan 29, 2010
14,183
hi Salts,
So that it is clearly understood, this clip highlights the Terms and rules, which members agreed to abide by, when registering as a AAC member.

Moderation.

Terms and rules, clip

You agree to not use the Service to submit or link to any Content which is defamatory, abusive, hateful, threatening, spam or spam-like, likely to offend, contains adult or objectionable content, contains personal information of others, risks copyright infringement, encourages unlawful activity, or otherwise violates any laws.

We reserve the rights to remove or modify any Content submitted for any reason without explanation. Requests for Content to be removed or modified will be undertaken only at our discretion. We reserve the right to take action against any account with the Service at any time.
 

MrSalts

Joined Apr 2, 2020
723
Hello

1. I created the design in AutoCADLT 2021 from scratch using the image you posted as a guide then generated a DXF file.
2. Imported the DXF file into DesignSpark PCB (DSPCB).
3. After import (I fixed the following in DSPCB):
3.1 There was an issue with the inner and outer circle and I had to recreate them, but that was very easy.
3.2 The text was not in the correct orientation, so I had to reposition them, but again, that was easy.
It took me about 30 minutes total in DSPCB to correct 3.1 and 3.2.
I probably could have avoided 3.2 (and 3.1) if I had coordinated the Text justification and styles between AutoCAD and DSPCB for smoother transfer results, but I was in a hurry.

The whole thing took about 4 hrs for me to complete, but that incudes "re-learning AutoCAD", since I hadn't used it for about 15 years.

I recommend fixing the AutoCAD drawing in line with item 3 above before DXF import. I can try to correct mine and post if you like.
I would recommend the OP edit the DesignSpark file that you just invested 4-hours to create - but that would require the OP to
- use a Windows-based tool,
- the Mods to allow a DesignSpark file to be uploaded (or putting your designSpark file into a zip).
<Mod: Deleted reference to Moderation>
 
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Juhahoo

Joined Jun 3, 2019
250
Laser engraving or laser cutting is the answer, into bare stainless steel. laser can cut 0.1mm lines. There is no way that FR4 can handle hot metal chips for long. FR4 is glassfiber with epoxy.
 

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,695
Laser engraving or laser cutting is the answer, into bare stainless steel. laser can cut 0.1mm lines. There is no way that FR4 can handle hot metal chips for long. FR4 is glassfiber with epoxy.
The FR in FR4 stands for Fire Retardant and is rated 130C/266F.

The hot chips are not like a torch blast. They're hot little bits that will occasionally bounce against it. I stand in front of my lathe and get hit with hot chips all the time on my skin. It's not pleasant but I don't walk away to the burn unit for skin grafts.
 

eetech00

Joined Jun 8, 2013
2,653
I would recommend the OP edit the DesignSpark file that you just invested 4-hours to create - but that would require the OP to
- use a Windows-based tool,
- the Mods to allow a DesignSpark file to be uploaded (or putting your designSpark file into a zip).
<Mod: Deleted reference to Moderation>

@ eetech00

I would like to change some properties of the design you created from my original image. I'd like to make the text larger (.100 high characters) and modify the lengths of the graduation lines. (.100, .200, and .300 from the 3.5 Dia. cutout.)

Not having any luck with Diptrace or Designspark.... can you tell me what software you used to create the board and then generate the gerber files?

Thanks,
Wolf
I used DesignSpark PCB.
Here is DesignSpark PCB file. It has all the changes you wanted.

1630364244499.png
 

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Thread Starter

ImWolf

Joined May 26, 2013
108
Laser engraving or laser cutting is the answer, into bare stainless steel. laser can cut 0.1mm lines. There is no way that FR4 can handle hot metal chips for long. FR4 is glassfiber with epoxy.
This has been discussed and I have agreed with you, a SS ring would be ideal. The cost of obtaining one led me here.
 

Thread Starter

ImWolf

Joined May 26, 2013
108
@eetech00
"I used DesignSpark PCB.
Here is DesignSpark PCB file. It has all the changes you wanted."

Could not open the file with Designspark 9.0.... "The file was created by a newer version"

I tried going back to square one and created 3 drawings in Autocad with one layer each. 2 of the drawings are simple 4.5" and 3.5" circles, while the 3rd drawing is of the graduations and text markings. It is strange that even though both Autocad and Designspark are both set for "inches", I have to scale the imported DXF files up 1000x for the coordinate system to show approximately the correct sizes in Designspark. When I import those three DXF files into Designspark, it looks like this.

rulerdxf.jpg

As I have no experience with this software, so I don't know where to even start trying to sort this mess out.
 
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eetech00

Joined Jun 8, 2013
2,653
Could not open the file with Designspark 9.0.... "The file was created by a newer version"
Use DesignSpark PCB 10.


I tried going back to square one and created 3 drawings in Autocad with one layer each. 2 of the drawings are simple 4.5" and 3.5" circles, while the 3rd drawing is of the graduations and text markings. It is strange that even though both Autocad and Designspark are both set for "inches", I have to scale the imported DXF files up 1000x for the coordinate system to show approximately the correct sizes in Designspark. When I import those three DXF files into Designspark, it looks like this.
As I have no experience with this software, so I don't know where to even start trying to sort this mess out.
When working with DXF export and import from any source program to another there will always be certain "gotcha's".
You have to play with the import/export feature to figure out what they are. Many times its depends on the drawing objects and entities used in the source DXF file and support of those objects/entities in the importing program.

For example, it makes no sense to use an AutoCAD text justification of ML (middle Left) if the importing program doesn't support it, unless you plan to fix it afterwards. You probably did this in your example, that's why the text has shifted a little.
For me, using ACAD MC (middle center) text justification worked nicely and mapped to "middle" justification in DSPCB.

So things to do in ACAD that will help with the import:

1. Use polylines for all lines, arcs and circles. Set the minimum width to 0.127mm (0.005"), precision = 3.
If you don't set the width (the default is 0.00) the lines will vanish when imported.
2. Use plenty of Layers. This will allow you to import specific ACAD layers to specific DSPCB layers.
For example, for ACAD layers, I used:
L1= Circles
L2=Graduation marks (I actually used a seperate layer for each type of grad mark)
L3=Text

Because I used layers, I imported L3 to the DSPCB documentation layer, where I was able to easily change the text to the appropriate style, justification and layer, in a global fashion (via window selection), within DSPCB.

3. Use the same units and precision in both programs.
This went smoothly for me. I used mm in both programs. I don't know what happened in your situation.

4. Use text of the correct height and position.

In summary, you have to be willing to dedicate time to experiment with the import/export capability to determine what works well.

Hope that helps...
 
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Thread Starter

ImWolf

Joined May 26, 2013
108
@eetech00

Thanks for all that extra info to contemplate.... I was not aware you had already spent so much time trying to help me with this project, which is surely appreciated.

I'll just have to play with the software much more than I have so far (as time permits) and see what happens....

Thanks,
Wolf
 
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