My first X-Carve PCB

I always design my boards in Eagle and send them out to one of many board makers. If you have seen my post of my project Beer Tap I am using LEDs in it and was wiring all the leds and that was just a shorting nightmare. As I didn’t want to wait 2-3 weeks for a board to be made I decided to try to make my own. I had heard how hard it was to mill your own especially with the X-carve 1000, but I was up to the challenge! Guys (& Girls) I must tell you it is extremely easy! I saw the tutural that was made on here, but that’s just way to much work! Here is all you need.

1. X-carve
2. Eagle (Free Software)
3. A Blank PCB Board 
4. A piece of painter's tape to cover the board before hand. (it will act as a poor man's mask, so when you solder you don't sort the
board getting solder all over)
5. Double sided tape
6. Chillipeppr (they have a widget that lets you pull in your .brd file from eagle without converting it) which is hands down the best 
and powerful gcode sender in my opinion.
7. A cheap $7 soldering iron, some solder and whatever components you need for your board.
  • Design your board in Eagle (There are a million tutorials on youtube if you’re new to it)
  • Cover your blank PCB with the painters tape (use a wide piece that covers it with one sheet)
  • Drag your file into Chilipeppr
  • Load your bit ( I used a 10°0.2mm Carbide Flat Bottom PCB Engraving Bit)
  • Zero your board

And go!!! That’s really it, the machine does the rest. Then just solder your components on, in my case 3mm LEDS.

Here were my results, hope you like (I was ecstatic for my first attempt)


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So does Chilipeppr also process the Excellon files for drilling? Does it also program the board cutout on the outline shape of the board? Many folks like myself buy large pieces of FR4 or CEM and produce many smaller boards from the one large piece of stock.

It takes care of the drilling from straight from your .brd file there’s no need to even produce a Excellon file or any gerber files and yes it does the cut out as well, I was pretty impressed. I did forget to mention if your drilling holes to not use use as it’s still in developement (found that out after the first board didn’t drill the holes). It really is a rather impressive piece of software they wrote.

I used to use Chilipeppr for all my boards. But for a good while it was very prone to crashing during probing and such. Of course this was before they added the eagle function. It was also a pain to have to keep D/Ling the newest server version and updating the firmware on the TinyG to keep it stable with new versions of the Chilipeppr. I have since moved onto a far more robust controller than the TinyG which has a dedicated locally hosted (VS cloud based) GUI/Gcode sender so I no longer use Chilipeppr. Do does it pause and tell you to insert each needed drill size? Are you able to tell it which size end mill to use to cut out the board with? It seems it has come a long way since I stopped using it.

What does “xpix” designate? I don’t know that term.

The gentleman who is programming it has it under xpix (not sure what it stands for) just a development workspace till it gets moved over. Think of it as a testing server

A link to the project for those who want to try it

Good stuff. Love the write up on using ChiliPeppr’s Eagle board import.

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Wow. Check out this video that a ChiliPeppr user named Frank Herrmann just posted last night on how he mills PCB’s. It’s very close to Brian Saban’s write up.

Then the actual auto-levelling and milling.