NC files dont contain commands to start the spindle!

I created a tutorial for using carbide copper with the nimad. It worked great until I tried to run the resulting three NC files (one each for routing, drilling, and cutting the board outline). It quickly became obvious that there was nothing in the NC files that started the spindle. When I manually edited each file to start the spindle, the jobs worked fine… Until the drill NC file, where I neglected to add the spindle start in multiple places (since the file does STOP the spindle after each bit). It broke the bit before I could abort.

Has anyone else seen this with carbide copper? I hid the video on YouTube but it’s kind of a showstopper for me - asking my students to edit the gcode before running it isn’t something I want to do.


I haven’t used Copper yet, but that sounds like a post processor issue. Does it have multiple post processors?

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Been a while since I tested Copper, but I remember something similar. There’s definitely no way to set spindle speed.

That’s why I stopped bothering with it. I don’t make a lot of PCBs any more, but my students do ok with flatcam after I take them through the process a couple of times.

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I noticed the same thing. It is easy enough to use ‘find’ in an editor and add the M3 commands. I suspect that the code base was originally (before Carbide3D bought it) written when few hobbyist machines had program control of the spindle. It would be nice if it was updated to include spindle commands. But it does not appear that maintaining this code is a high priority. For my relatively simple boards it works and is pretty quick to use. For me the biggest drawback is that it is web-based so that I cannot use it for anything that I need to depend on being there in the future.

If I do many more PCB’s, I may write a command line script to automatically add the M3’s just so that I do not forget some night and break more tooling.

I really wish they would just open source this tool. It would be trivial to fix the kinds of issues that I’ve seen - and also be sure that it won’t just disappear one day.

In the meantime, I’ll have to use a different workflow with my students. It’s a shame because this could be the most direct/simplest workflow if a couple things were tweaked.


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I feel like this comes up once or twice a year. I think they want to get to it, but Create and Motion have been so actively developed there’s probably no time. I don’t think many people use Copper, but with a few tweaks it could be perfect for simple boards.
Like I said, many people use FlatCAM which is pretty simple once you get used to the workflow. It’s really easy of you follow their guide.
If you need multiple boards, it’s so cheap to have them made these days it’s almost not worth it.

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