FlatCAM - Single Sided boards

There’s a piece of software called FlatCAM, normally this is used in situations where you want to mill out a PCB with a CNC. However it’s also usefull for exporting SVG’s from Gerbers and doing isolation routing.

Isolation Routing

Isolation routing is where you surround each track on the PCB with a line. So instead of removing all the Copper on the board, this just removes the minimum needed to seperate one track from another.

There’s also features built into FlatCAM for double sided boards, and adding in holes for a jig which I’m hoping to explore later on.
The export to SVG features is relatively new, and at the time of writing only available in the master branch. I’ve placed a working copy (python) under https://github.com/HACManchester/Apps.Cad/tree/master/Builds

Importing Gerber into FlatCAM

The first step is to import the Gerber into FlatCAM, and a drill file if you’ve created one

(I should probably point out that the image pictured has tracks too small to be used with the laser, but this is only for demonstration purposes)

Generating the Geometry

The next step is to generate a Geometry for the imported Gerber, this is actually very easy

This should result in a red line surrounding everything

Generate the CNCJob

Next we need to generate a CNCJob, in this case we’re not going to use G-Code, but instead do an SVG Export of the result.

Export the CNCJob

The final step is just to export the CNCJob as an SVG

There’s quite a lot of different settings you can play with for exporting just the solder pads for example.
If you want the drill holes to be etched as well, then also Export the imported drill file as an SVG, at which point we can then import it later on into Visicut.