Using Fritzing to Design an Arduino Shield and using Othermill to mill the board

Preface

Watch the video tutorial by Fritzing

A trivial single sided Arduino shield

Schematic

Fritzing Instructions

  1. Open Fritzing and go to the Schematic View
  2. All components are in “Core Parts”
  3. IMPORTANT: Use only through-hole components (THT) (Through-Hole Technology)
  4. From the section headed “Microcontrollers” select the first item which is an Arduino Uno
  5. Add your LED (in the “Output” section) and resistor  (in the “Basic” section)
  6. Add another resistor (“Basic”) and the Force Sensitive Resistor (“Input”)
  7. Switch to the PCB View
  8. Select the grey outline
  9. In the Properties area of the Inspector, in the Layers field, select “One layer (single sided)
  10. Just below the Layers field, in the Shape field, select “Arduino shield”
  11. Align the shape of the board with the shield template
  12. Move your components to the desired place
  13. IMPORTANT: All components must be on the top
  14. Add traces as necessary
    1. The default traces in Fritzing are quite thin and have a tendency to tear off the PCB. Wherever possible, make the traces as wide as possible.
    2. IMPORTANT: All traces must be on the bottom
  15. When you are finished laying out your PCB, export your files:
    1. Empty a thumbdrive or create a new empty folder. Otherplan gets confused if more than one project is present
    2. Export from Fritzing: File -> Export -> For production -> Extended Gerber
    3. Put all the project files on the thumbdrive

Othermill Instructions

  1. If Otherplan is running, quit
  2. Start Otherplan
  3. Turn on Othermill
  4. Home the machine
  5. Set up material
    • Material: Single Sided FR-1 L2
    • Size: Standard dimensions (5.000in X 4.000in Y 0.061in Z)
    • Placement: Align to appropriate edge
    • Placement: Click “Loading” which will bring platform to the front for easy access
    • Insert single sided PCB stock.
      • Apply at least two pieces of tape to the bulk of the material and tape the the part that will be cut out
      • Align PCB tightly to the either corner of the bracket.
  6. Plans
    • Open Files: Open your file. If you want Otherplan to auto-generate the smallest outline clear your outline file
    • Adjust placement if you wish
    • Parts to mill: Select top or bottom as necessary
    • Milling tools: add 1/16 and 1/64″ endmill
    • Click “Mill all visible”
    • “You will be asked to change tool”. It will indicate which tool to insert. When done, press “Continue”
    • It will locate the tool height  and ask you to very that the location is over the metal bed (“Verify tool position”). Click “Locate Tool”
    • Cutting will start right away.
    • When it’s time to change it will pause and say say “Insert the new tool”. It will indicate which tool to insert. When done, press “Continue”
    • It will locate the tool height again. Click “Locating tool” and “Continue” when asked.

 

Notes

  • Bits are very sharp! use caution when inserting

 

  1. Insert thumb drive
  2. Import files
    • It will only allow you to select your ….copperTop.gtl file but it will import all the files. Don’t click hit Import yet!
    • Otherplan can automatically create the smallest outline possible for your board. If you want this, select “Autogenerate” for the “Board Outline” setting. This is at the bottom of the File Import window. If you don’t see the options, click the “Options” button. If you have a custom size, specify accept the indicated file instead of “Autogenerate”.
  3. Add tools
    • In “Tools to Use” add 1/16″, 1/32″, and 1/64″ Flat End Mill
  4. Near the top right of the screen look for the “Side” indicator and click on “Bottom”
  5. Important: Now that you have added tools, OtherPlan will show the cuts it will make. Inspect the board carefully and make sure that no traces or holes are connected where they shouldn’t be, for example if they are too close together
  6. Change tool
    • Click “Change” in “Setup” next to Tool
    • Remove end mill
    • Click “Continue”
    • Select 1/64″ Flat End Mill
    • Insert 1/64″ flat end mill
    • Click “Continue”
    • Allow homing again
    • Verify tool position (usually just hit “Continue”)
    • Verify safety zone (usually just hit “Continue”)
  7. In “Parts to Cut”, make sure all three (Traces, Holes, and Outlines) are selected
    • Click “Start Cutting”
  8. When instructed, change the tool to the 1/32″ flat end mill and again home the machine and locate the toolbit. Repeat for the 1/16″ end mill
  9. When the milling stops, move the board to the front of the machine (Click “Loading” in “Move to Position”) and remove your board. There is a thin spatula that can be used to help unstick your board.

A double sided Arduino shield

Schematic

74HC4052_74HC595Shield_schem

Fritzing Instructions

  1. Open Fritzing and go to the Schematic View
  2. From the section headed “Microcontrollers” select the first item which is an Arduino Uno
  3. Search for “595” and select the fourth item, the shift register from Sparkfun
  4. Search for “4052” and select the third item, the analog mux from Sparkfun
  5. Switch to the PCB View
  6. Select the grey outline
  7. In the Properties area of the Inspector, in the Layers field, select “Two layers (double sided)
  8. Just below the Layers field, in the Shape field, select “Arduino shield”
  9. Align the shape of the board with the shield template
  10. Move your components to the desired place
  11. IMPORTANT: Use only through-hole components (THT) (Through-Hole Technology)
  12. Most components should be on the top. If you have any components on the bottom think carefully about the pin order.
  13. The default traces in Fritzing are quite thin and have a tendency to tear off the PCB. Wherever possible, make the traces as wide as possible.
  14. IMPORTANT: Think carefully about which side a trace will be soldered to a component. Since most components are on the top, most soldering will take place on the bottom, so most traces must connect to components on the bottom.
  15. Try to get all the traces on the bottom layer. If you must use traces on the top to cross over lines, do not use any of the component holes. Instead use vias, and select “Home Etched Via” under Hole Size
  16. IMPORTANT:
  17. When you are finished laying out your PCB, export your files:
    1. Empty a thumbdrive or create a new empty folder. Otherplan gets confused if more than one project is present
    2. Export from Fritzing: File -> Export -> For production -> Extended Gerber
    3. Put all the project files on the thumbdrive

Othermill Instructions

  1. If Otherplan is running, quit
  2. Start Otherplan
  3. Turn on Othermill. This may require both the power switch in the rear and turning the red emergency stop button on the right hand side
  4. If you get a window that says “New network interfaces have been detected” hit “Cancel”
  5. Home the machine
  6. Insert thumb drive
  7. Import files
    • It will only allow you to click on your copperTop.gtl file but it will import all the files
    • (Optional step: If you did not select an outline for your circuit  board in Fritzing, select “Autogenerate” for the “Board Outline” setting. This is at the bottom of the File Import window. If you don’t see the options, click the “Options” button.)
  8. The first file loaded will be the top of your circuit board. It’s wise to verify with your design in Fritzing that the correct side has loaded.
  9. Tell Otherplan to place this on the top side. Do this in the “Side:” setting near the top right corner of the screen, in the “setup” section.
  10. Click “Loading” (in “Move to Position”)
  11. Insert double sided stock. Align the PCB  to the forward left corner of the bracket.
  12. Set up material (in “Setup”)
    • Double Sided FR-1 L2
    • Standard dimensions (5.000in X 4.000in Y 0.061in Z)
    • Click “Continue”
    • Click “Align to Bracket”
    • Click “Done
  13. Add tools
    • In “Tools to Use” add 1/16″, 1/32″, and 1/64″ Flat End Mill
  14. Change tool
    • Click “Change” in “Setup” next to Tool
    • Remove end mill
    • Click “Continue”
    • Select 1/64″ Flat End Mill
    • Insert 1/64″ flat end mill
    • Click “Continue”
    • Allow homing again
    • Verify tool position (usually just hit “Continue”). Note that the “Continue” button takes a few seconds to become clickable.
    • Verify safety zone (usually just hit “Locate”). Note that the “Locate” button takes a few seconds to become clickable.
  15. In “Parts to Cut”, make sure that ONLY TRACES and HOLES are selected
    • Click “Start Cutting”, and then click “Cut!”
  16. When instructed, change the tool to the 1/32″ flat end mill and again home the machine and locate the toolbit. Repeat for the 1/16″ end mill
  17. When the milling stops, it is time to flip the board and mill the bottom. Note that the program doesn’t tell you this, it just stops.
  18. Move the platform to the front of the machine (Click “Loading” in “Move to Position”) and remove your board. There is a thin spatula that can be used to help unstick your board.
  19. Remove the tape from the bottom of your board
  20. Add tape to the other side of the board
  21. Stick your board to the Othermill taking great care:
    • Flip it in the right direction
    • Align your PCB against the forward RIGHT corner of the bracket
  22. Select the other side (“Side” button just below “Setup”)
  23. Allow homing again
    • Verify tool position (usually just hit “Continue”)
    • Verify safety zone (usually just hit “Continue”)
  24. In “Parts to Cut”, make sure all three (Traces, Holes, and Outlines) are selected
    1. Click “Start Cutting”
  25. When instructed, change the tool to the 1/32″ flat end mill and again home the machine and locate the toolbit. Repeat for the 1/16″ end mill
  26. When the milling stops, move the board to the front of the machine (Click “Loading” in “Move to Position”) and remove your board. There is a thin spatula that can be used to help unstick your board.

Resources

Danielle Applestone, the CEO of Other Machine Co., recorded some excellent video tutorials:

Here is a screencast she did for  East Carolina educators: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m93WT0q5Z4U. There was a bit of a glitch at the beginning, so skip to about 6:20 into the video.

This demo  shows the workflow from circuit design to milled PCB and g-code to milled aluminum part as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbccpisp5vs. This one only has a small video of the Othermill, but this is a good look at the software portion of the work people need to do to set up the machine.

The tutorial project that beginners should go through is the “Hello World” here: https://othermachine.co/support/tutorials/hello-world/. Depending upon if you are using Windows or Mac, your Hello World might look a bit different, but the basic workflow is identical.

If you’re interested in engraving, here is a screencast of how to do engravings using the Fusion 360 design software: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evrcw1W58pY

Save

Save

Save

Print Friendly
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *