Carbide Copper feedback

I was very excited to try using Carbide Copper on my Shapeoko 3 this weekend – took four attempts but I got a great result in the end. Thanks for making such a useful tool (and as a web app too!).

I’ve been using it with bCNC because auto-levelling makes a huge improvement to the result. bCNC is mind-bendingly difficult to use but very useful when you require the z-probe. Other than the tools being in a different order (track, drill, area, cutout for Copper) these instructions on the bCNC wiki were very useful.

I realize that Copper is still in beta and these are probably known issues but just FYI some feedback. @Jorge @robgrz

  • It looks like it emits the G0 Xa Yb line before the G0 Z line at the beginning of each tool so it doesn’t move to the safe Z height before moving across the piece.
  • Multi-tool gcode files make me nervous on the Shapeoko in case I miss a toolchange. Although bCNC does handle this quite well when you set the right option (it was just a bit mysterious the first time!). Also it would make it easier to just run specific operations.
  • I don’t really understand the number of isolation paths option. I would have expected the additional paths to be further away from the first one, but it actually caused my tracks to get smaller. I think when you add custom tools it’ll make a lot more sense. I was using a 30 deg V-bit on the 60 deg setting (but I would have thought that would have lessened the effect).
  • It’d be nice to disable the drill step (like you can with the area rubout and edge cut). When I milled the front layer I didn’t need the drill holes again, although a full two-layer workflow would solve this too. Also, more drill types too please!

If you’re trying this on a Shapeoko, this guide was very helpful to getting the bed level: but of course the PCB blank itself has some variation and so the auto levelling is important (I found +/-250 micron across the surface). I imagine this process is a lot more repeatable and easier on a Nomad :smiley:

Anyway, thanks again - very excited to be able to make single-day PCBs at home!


I can’t remember if I’ve read a first hand account and feedback using Copper. Thanks for posting your experience.

Even with the eventual integration of the touch probe into Carbide Motion 4, without auto-leveling you’re still subject to the imperfection in your stock FR4 (albeit I’d venture this tolerance is pretty tight). In addition, your machine leveling is very influential as well.

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