Milling PCBs with Linux…

This is a quick outline of my LinuxCNC setup. Basically, I have an old HP Compaq Pentium IV that’s running Xubuntu 14.04. I had to install the Xenomai real-time kernel in order to make it work with LinuxCNC 2.5.2 which controls my Chinese CNC3020T.

I’ve been using 0.1mm 30° engraving bits for etching which have worked nicely. For drilling, I’ve got some carbide 0.7mm drills. I haven’t broken any of them thus far. I’ve setup a Dremel 3000 with a 220-01 rotary tool work station for additional drilling by hand.


For sanding, I’ve been starting off a freshly etched board with a 180 grit sanding block and then moving down to a 320 grit for smoothing. So far, I’ve been impressed with the results. The following picture shows a single pass isolation trace after sanding at ~75x magnification.


initial PCB milling test…


here’s an initial PCB test for the Triode tube overdrive on the SMBA site. this picture is pre-sanding. it was milled using LinuxCNC on a Xubuntu 14.04 LTS running the Xenomai- kernel version 3.5.7. it’s taken some time to get the configuration working and compiled since i didn’t want to use the live CD. the CNC machine is a Chinese 3020T that i got off eBay. the board layout was done in EagleCAD using the PCB-GCODE ULP script.

pcb milling test from abram on Vimeo.