Carbide Copper not keeping copper zones

I’m having trouble with a gerber file conversion. The original layout includes 2 large copper zones and I’m using FlatCAM to convert the gerber file to a format that the carbide motion will work with. But carbide copper seems to not recognize the existence of the copper zones. It also doesn’t seem to track the cutouts (sorry, I can’t remember the technical name) around the!) ground plane solder points (to make the soldering easier…less heat required). From what I read on this forum I’m expecting the answer to be that carbide copper is not capable of doing this. Is there another software that will create the G code from a gerber so I don’t lose the copper zones, etc?

Here’s the original top layer:PCB_LM3886 Amp Easy EDA.pdf (121.4 KB)

Why not generate the gcode in FlatCAM?

I’ve achieved excellent results using FlatCAM to generate and AutoLeveller to post-process PCBs routed in KiCAD: Nomad Level Calibration

I haven’t explored Carbide Copper thoroughly because the FlatCAM workflow works so well for me. I suspect that at least part of your issue is that your EDA tool isn’t generating thermals (those are the links between a pad and a copper pour) in a way that Carbide Copper understands, either because the shape in the gerber is unsupported or is too small to mill effectively.

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Will auto-leveler sample the board on a grid pattern to get a virtual picture of the flatness and the compensate when routing? I’ve read that Bcnc will do that but there doesn’t seem to be anything in carbide motion. We’ve had some challenges with flatness issues so hoping to get this going as well.

I didn’t know it would do that. I’m pretty new to cnc and this is my first project. The person that is helping me is also pretty new so together we’re figuring out how to work with it . I don’t own the nomad but have access to it every week for a couple of days. I’ll be able to try again next Wednesday.

From what I’ve heard the Nomad is really particular about file format. Just wondering if you’ve seen Gcode from FlatCAM working on the Nomad?

No, Autoleveler won’t automatically sample the board for flatness, at least with the Nomad. Autoleveler isn’t designed to work with CNC machines that use grbl as their machine controllers. Additionally, the Nomad has no feedback system* to detect when its probe (or tool) has made contact with the board.

The link in my last post has a workaround that I devised to get board thickness data into Autoleveler using semi-manual probing and a dial test indicator. It also has a couple of tips on how to get better results even if you don’t have an indicator to measure the board thickness with.

(* This isn’t strictly true if you have a Carbide 3D touch probe, but the probe isn’t sold with the Nomad and is mostly used by Shapeoko owners to quickly determine work-zero and tool length. I haven’t heard of any Nomad owners using it to probe PCB stock)

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