Dangerous Prototypes

General Category => Tools of the trade => Topic started by: teletypeguy on March 29, 2013, 08:57:00 am

Title: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on March 29, 2013, 08:57:00 am
Hey folks:

I saw this note from Laszlo buried in a pnp thread and wanted to start it as a new topic:

Quote
László Monda says:
February 21, 2013 at 11:36 pm
Instead of messing around with the solder paste dispenser I highly recommend you picking up a Silhouette Cameo.
So far I’ve had wonderful results with it. Created a short video and some pictures of the action at https://plus.google.com/photos/10643536 ... 0625134033 (https://plus.google.com/photos/106435362157390351263/albums/5838300800625134033)
Also take a look at
http://www.idleloop.com/robotics/stencil/index.php (http://www.idleloop.com/robotics/stencil/index.php) https://github.com/pmonta/gerber2graphtec (https://github.com/pmonta/gerber2graphtec)
http://hackaday.com/2012/12/27/diy-smd- ... ft-cutter/ (http://hackaday.com/2012/12/27/diy-smd-stencils-made-with-a-craft-cutter/)

Yes Laszlo, I too was impressed with the fine-pitch (even 0.5mm looked workable) stencils that Cathy was cutting with her cameo:
http://www.idleloop.com/robotics/cutter ... hp#stencil (http://www.idleloop.com/robotics/cutter/index.php#stencil)
http://www.idleloop.com/robotics/stencil/ (http://www.idleloop.com/robotics/stencil/)

I peeked at your pics/vid as well, but could not see close up -- how fine a pitch did you cut?  What were your cut settings?

I just got a cameo for making stencils as well, and fired it up today with a sheet of mylar overhead transparency film.  I used the eagle ULP file linked from Cathy's site, which very nicely extracted a dxf file for the cameo to open.  Sadly, I was quite disappointed in the resulting stencil, and think perhaps I got a bum machine.  I used the same settings Cathy used (blade depth 1, speed 1 = slowest, thickness 33 = max-force).  Tweaking these didn't change my two fundamental problems:  1)  a square shape is actually a right-leaning parollelogram, and 2)  the straight sides are actually bowed out.

Here is a pic of simple 100-mil and 50-mil squares:
[attachment=3]

A 50-mil pitch SOIC and SOT23:
[attachment=2]

A 0.65mm (26-mil) pitch TSSOP:
[attachment=1]

And a 0.5mm (20-mil) pitch HDMI connector with SOT23 for reference:
[attachment=0]

Am I doing anything different than you?  Any thoughts appreciated.
thx,  gil smith
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: royco on March 29, 2013, 05:11:03 pm
I cut all my stencils for prototypes using my Silhouette SD, its an older machine that comes with replaceable needle caps to adjust cutting thickness. The settings I have that work perfectly (and I mean super clean cuts on kapton sheets from Mcmaster) are  SPEED: 3 , THICKNESS: 14 and BLADE CAP: Yellow (middle). These are on Silhouette studio. I export dxf from diptrace, fix/adjust it on inkscape or coreldraw and open up the DXF in silhouette studio.

I also have a Cameo but have not successfully converted those settings into the newer adjustable blade that it comes with.

I think your material may be shifting while being cut and causing the slight angle. What is the thickness of the transparency film? The kapton film I use is 2 mils I think.

Here are some tips on getting it nice and clean.

1. Make sure you cutting mat is free from debris when you place your stencil sheet, I scrape it with an unused PCB to remove all of the left over cut kapton.

2. Once you placed your stencil film use another PCB or credit card to squeegee the trapped air and flatten it out. This is very important because once you have air packets in there the blade will rip closely placed cuts into one big hole.

[attachment=0]
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silhouette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on March 29, 2013, 05:46:38 pm
Hi royco:

Thanks for the feedback -- looks like everyone who cuts stencils has good luck, so I just need to find out what I am doing wrong.

First off, please pardon the spelling errors;  I do indeed know how to spell parallelogram and silhouette (unfortunately I don't see a way to edit the original subject line), but it was pretty late last night.  Also pardon the crappy pics as I didn't have my macro rings handy and had to resort to the remove-the-lens-and-hold-it-backwards trick (the combination of razor-thin dof and hand-held shooting makes it tricky to get a decent pic).

The material I used is clear mylar overhead-transparency sheet stock.  Some have called it out as 3-mil, but when I checked with my micrometer I measured about 4-mil.  I have three brands, all of which measure and cut the same.

Yes, it is a clean cutting mat.  Everything is brand-new.  After each cut I did scrape all the little bits off the mat, and did ensure that there were no bubbles when putting the mylar on the sticky mat.

I wonder also whether the mat is slipping, but I am not sure whether that would result in the parallelogram shapes -- when the rollers are driving the mat out (towards the front), it is cutting a line from front-to-back, but the line is veering to the right as if the knife-head is not stationary on its horizontal track, or as if the mat is moving to the left.  When cutting in the opposite direction, it is the opposite (as if the mat is moving to the right as it drives inwards).  If the mat was just not being gripped well, I would expect less-predicatable movements, I would think.  As for the bowed-out lines, I don't really have an explanation yet.

I need to try some more tests when I get back in Monday -- hopefully I will be able to solve this, as it looks like a dandy little machine.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: mondalaci on March 31, 2013, 03:44:46 am
Hey Gil,

The relevant thing to note is that I haven't ever used the bundled Silhouette Studio software because I use Linux and it's not available on Linux.  Even if I could have used it I wouldn't because I'm fairly sure that it's not optimized for super-precise cuts like for fine-pitch stencils.  Intead I rather used the https://github.com/pmonta/gerber2graphtec (https://github.com/pmonta/gerber2graphtec) script.  I don't know how much of a command line guy you are but this tool basically receives gerber files and outputs Graphtec files that can be directly sent to the cutter.

I'm fairly certain that the generated Graphtec file takes a LOT longer to cut than what Silhouette Studio would have done because the cutter recalibrates (goes to the origin coordinates) very often, moves slowly and only draws horizontal or vertical lines in one pass instead of turning from horizontal to vertical in one pass (and mess up corners).

Right now I'm unable to shoot close-ups because I'm away from my cutter but I'll be able to make some pretty pictures about a week later if you want me to, but let's just say that I couldn't be more satisfied with the result.

Cheers,
Laci
Title: Re: Cutting stencils (and overlays) with a cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on March 31, 2013, 06:59:00 pm
Hi Laci:

Thanks for the feedback.  There are two things I want to do with the cameo:  cut smt stencils, and cut overlays for rear-panels on products. 

Your graphtec stencil solution sounds nice.  Going slowly should definitely help.  In sil-studio, with the slowest speed of 1, it still seems way too fast to me.  The dxf files from the eagle ulp supposedly break a rectangle into four lines, to get around the rounded-corner thing.  I have macs and win machines but never got into linux.  I did do unix many years ago when I worked at cray research, so that will tell you what an old fart I am.

STENCILS:
The stencil thing is, of course, demanding on the cameo machine, but many folks have had good results even to 0.5mm, so I am optimistic.  I need to find out if I have a user problem, feed/slipping  problem, or a defective machine.  The eagle ulp extracts the cream layer into separate cuts in a dxf file, which sil-studio imports and cuts.  The Sil-Studio software does provide for small holes, down to a resolution of 5-mil at least, iirc.  Gotta figure out my problem.

CHASSIS OVERLAYS:
For overlays, the Sil-Studio software has, for "drawing" the cut layer, the important tools I need like in adobe illustrator -- precision sizing and movements of circles and rectangles, copy-paste-exactly-in-front-and-move-precisely, etc.  It has a print-and-cut feature which lets you import a graphic (eg: jpg), and print it out to an inkjet or other printer, adding registration marks.  You then load the printed piece into the cameo, and send it the cut file -- it optically locates the reg marks and cuts precisely on your image.  It was designed so you could print out a cute unicorn or some crafty thing and cut around it, but it is much more capable than that if I understand this correctly.  I have yet to try this, but here is the plan:
- my rear-panel drawings are in illustrator at the moment, which has a low-res jpg export, but:
- I can open the ai file in photoshop and save a hi-res jpg (600dpi is about the max I could import into sil-studio)
- my file has thin (1-mil) hairlines for the connector openings and the outer box that need to be cut, and the image to print.
- the main image is, of course, the lettering that identifies the connectors, logo, whatever -- can be full color gradients or a pic of my kids beside the connectors.
- print this from sil-studio to my inkjet (which can do 11x17 for big overlays) on inkjet-ready, adhesive-backed plastic sheets
- add the cutlines in sil-studio for the connector openings and outside edge -- have done this and it is easy to line up with the hairlines, and can be very precise.
- load the sheet and cut.  Going to try this next week.

thanks,

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: mondalaci on March 31, 2013, 08:05:47 pm
Hey Gil,

No matter what operating system you're using, I'm pretty sure that you should be able to make the gerber2graphtec tool work.  It might not be the most user friendly application out there but it does work.  So far I only cut stencils out of gerber files using this tool so it's all I know.  If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask me.

Laci
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on March 31, 2013, 10:09:44 pm
Hi Laci:

I peeked at the gerber2graphtec stuff, and while the command-line operation doesn't bother me, I don't have a linux machine (except macs), and I still don't see an easy way to run it on windows.  The scripts are in python, and, well, I only know monty python.  Then there is the whole windows filename slash-vs-backslash thing that dates back to the days when gates and seattle computing ripped-off digital research's cp/m...but I digress.

However, maybe it would be cleaner on a mac, what with linux under the hood and all.  From the github page it looks like it needs xcode and some other stuff loaded, but it might not be too bad.  Any thoughts on running it on mac?  I have a mini-server with lion, and laptops with earlier osx versions.  I'd be up for trying it if you think it's worth a try.

thanks,

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: mondalaci on April 01, 2013, 01:06:26 am
Gil,

Yes, a Mac would definitely be a better choice than Windows because of its Unix legacy.  The README file does a decent job at listing the dependencies and giving some instructions for Mac.  I don't have any better idea, unfortunately.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on April 01, 2013, 08:02:05 am
Hi royco:

Quote
I cut all my stencils for prototypes using my Silhouette SD, its an older machine that comes with replaceable needle caps to adjust cutting thickness. The settings I have that work perfectly (and I mean super clean cuts on kapton sheets from Mcmaster) are SPEED: 3 , THICKNESS: 14 and BLADE CAP: Yellow (middle). These are on Silhouette studio. I export dxf from diptrace, fix/adjust it on inkscape or coreldraw and open up the DXF in silhouette studio.

I don't know anything about the SD machine, but I think it has similar capabilities as the cameo.  Is sil-studio the same for both machines?  If so, your SD at speed=3 is cutting better than my cameo at speed=1.

Why kapton?  I don't know anything about that polymer except that it is apparently dandy for spacesuits.  Is it more dimensionally-stable than a garden-variety polyester (mylar), or polycarbonate?  Does it cut better?

What is the smallest stencil pitch you are cutting?  What is the thickest material you can cut?

thanks,

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on April 02, 2013, 01:23:52 am
Quote
teletypeguy » Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:57 am

I just got a cameo for making stencils as well, and fired it up today with a sheet of mylar overhead transparency film. I used the eagle ULP file linked from Cathy's site, which very nicely extracted a dxf file for the cameo to open. Sadly, I was quite disappointed in the resulting stencil, and think perhaps I got a bum machine. I used the same settings Cathy used (blade depth 1, speed 1 = slowest, thickness 33 = max-force). Tweaking these didn't change my two fundamental problems: 1) a square shape is actually a right-leaning parollelogram, and 2) the straight sides are actually bowed out.

I also got a Silhouette Cameo a couple of days ago with similar distorted results for my first tests.  The problem is that the Silhouette Cameo is not very precise when cutting traces at 90 degrees.  If you draw your solder paste holes using only individual trace lines the results are considerably better.  For instance, instead of using trace rectangles to cut the pads use four trace lines.  Cathy  mentioned in her page that she used a custom dxf exporter for Eagle.  I think that the converter is using only lines and no rectangles.  I don't used Eagle, so I used a PNG file exported from gerbv which I loaded in Silhouette Studio.  When I used the auto-trace with the Silhouette Studio, the program put a bunch of rectangles.  After cutting, the holes looked exactly like your pictures.  Then I drew the rectangles using only lines and the results are very good, very similar to what Cathy reported.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on April 03, 2013, 08:02:07 am
After a few small hacks I got gerber2graphtec working on Windows 7.  First, I had to install Python (version 2.7.3, version 3.x.x may not work), gerbv (version 2.6.0), pstoedit (version 3.61), and ghostscript (version 9.07).  I download these programs from:

http://http://www.python.org/
http://http://sourceforge.net/projects/gerbv/files/gerbv/gerbv-2.6.0/
http://http://www.pstoedit.net/
http://http://www.ghostscript.com/download/gsdnld.html

I downloaded gerber2graphtec from

http://https://github.com/pmonta/gerber2graphtec

by clicking the 'Download this repository as a zip file' button.  I unzipped the downloaded file to a folder, say 'C:gerber2graphtec-master'.

After that, I renamed gerber2graphtec to gerber2graphtec.py to run the program directly from a command window.  Then I edited the two lines that convert the Gerber file to pic format in gerber2graphtec.py from:

Code: [Select]
os.system("gerbv --export=pdf --output=%s --border=0 %s" % (temp_pdf,input_filename))
os.system("pstoedit -f pic %s %s 2>/dev/null" % (temp_pdf,temp_pic))

to:

Code: [Select]
os.system(""C:/Program Files (x86)/gerbv-2.6.0/bin/gerbv" --export=pdf --output=%s --border=0 %s" % (temp_pdf,input_filename))
os.system(""C:/Program Files/pstoedit/pstoedit" -q -f pic %s %s" % (temp_pdf,temp_pic))

since neither the installation programs for gerbv nor pstoedit added their executable folders to the path.  Finally, I shared the Silhouette Cameo 'printer' by right clicking on its icon in the 'Control PanelHardware and SoundDevices and Printers' folder, selecting the 'Sharing' tab, clicking 'Share this printer' and setting its sharing name to 'Cameo'.  To run the program and cut I typed in a command prompt:

Code: [Select]
C:gerber2graphtec-master>gerber2graphtec.py test.gbr > result.txt
C:gerber2graphtec-master>copy /B result.txt \JCF-PCCameo

where JCF-PC is the name of my computer as it appears on 'Control PanelSystem and SecuritySystem'.  (Of course, you'll have to put the name of YOUR computer, not mine!)  Half a noisy hour later I had a perfect stencil!

Also, typing

Code: [Select]
C:gerber2graphtec-master>gerber2graphtec.py test.gbr > \[YOUR COMPUTER NAME]Cameo

should work as well, but I hadn't tried it.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silhouette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on April 04, 2013, 07:01:57 am
Hey jesuscf:

Thanks for your posts.  It was good to hear that someone else was seeing the same thing I was with the cameo.  Here's an update:

I called silhouette-america tech support asking why I am seeing the rotated rectangles and squares with bowed-out edges.  The first call ended since I didn't have the latest version of sil-studio.  So I loaded it, and gee, same thing.  So I called back and they wanted pics and such, which I was happy to provide, and I fired off an email with pics, a dxf file and the resulting studio file, and another studio file in which I used their drawing tools to create arrays of squares.  I told them I have tried two different knives, that the knife was properly seated and clamped, that the mat is loaded properly and centered with the rollers in the proper position, and that the mat release lever was in the clamped position.  I told them that the mat was very secure under the rollers (I could not move it after load), and that I had the latest sil-studio software.  I told them that I was cutting polyester (mylar) overhead transparency sheets that I mic'd to about 0.004", that my blade depth was the minimum (1), that the speed was the slowest (1), and that I tried force (thickness) settings over a varying range, with the same result.  I told them that I tried cutting on 0.007" (65lb) cardstock, at settings appropriate for that media, with the same result.  I told them that many other folks with cameos are cutting rectangles down to 10-mil-wide with 10-mil space (~0.5mm pitch).  I told them I would be happy with rectangles that were 15-mil-wide with 10-mil space (TSSOP ~0.65mm pitch).  I told them that I could not even do rectangles that were 25-mil-wide with 25-mil space (SOIC 50-mil pitch) with the test I ran.

They replied, "Can you confirm whether you see this problem with a sheet of regular printer paper?"  Which I did, and told them so, and I will never load thin paper again as it not only gets ripped up, but leaves a fibrous mess on the mat.

Then they requested pictures of my media loaded on the mat, and pics of me loading the mat into the machine.  I replied that I would not be at the machine until Thursday, and asked how either a slightly-rotated media sheet or even a rotated mat load would result in the hole-to-hole pattern problems, and that I did not care how the entire pattern was oriented wrt to media edges.

They replied that if it cannot be resolved, that they will swap out the machine, which is great, but am now wondering whether that will result in the same problem.

I asked them if they had tried cutting the test files that I sent them, to see if it happened on one of their machines, whether they had a test file for me to try cutting, whether four line segments cut differently than a rectangle, how I could change a rectangle in sil-studio to four lines, and whether there was any special mode I could use to cut much slower than speed 1.

They replied that my hole sizes were too small to cut well on this material type (it is the same on all materials).  Maybe they tried cutting my test files, I am not certain.  They didn't answer any of my other questions, but asked me to cut some squares that are 1" and 0.5" size.  Not sure what that will tell them.  I am certain this is just going to end up with an answer of "not our problem; it's not designed for that use."  Which is true, but I think they are missing a technical market.  I'm feeling like my questions were not escalated to someone who could actually recognize the error and offer a solution, but it may never get that far.  I can likely get them to swap out the machine, but I am not convinced that will help.

I am wondering whether the dxf file exported by the eagle ulp actually has four cut lines instead of a rectangle.  I don't have autocad, and have only looked at it with an online dxf viewer.  When the dxf is imported into sil-studio, I can only select it as a rectangle, not line segments, so perhaps it was not actually four lines, or perhaps the sil-studio import converted it into a rectangle.  If that is the case, it would explain why it cut just like the test of studio-drawn squares.

I was actually happy to hear that you saw the same problem and found a solution.  I am trying your fix, but I will continue this in another post.

thanks,

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silhouette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on April 04, 2013, 07:10:25 am
Hi jesuscf:

First, a thanks also to mondalaci who pointed out the gerber2graphtec script as a solution.  I don't care whether it is slow -- even if it takes an hour to cut a stencil, I will be happy.

OK jesuscf, I have been working through your win7 scheme for doing this.  On a win7 machine, I loaded all the programs you listed (python 2.7.3, gerbv 2.6.0, pstoedit 3.61, ghostscript 9.07).  I installed them all in their default locations.  I downloaded the gerber2graphtec stuff into a folder at c:, added the .pf extension and edited the file as you indicated.  So far so good.

I opened a command window, did a cd to that directory, and tried to issue the first command line.  Unfortunately, it complained that "'gerbv' is not recognized as an internal or external command..." and printed some traceback stuff and exited.  I would have pasted it in here but it seems that even in 2013, microsoft has not provided a way to copy or paste in a command window (sheesh).

Also, even though I have installed the sil-studio program, there is no cameo printer in my system control panel.  That may just be since I don't have it here to plug in, IDK.  When I plug it in tomorrow, I will look for the cameo printer and share it so the script can find it, but it was not needed for the first command line test, so I have another issue to resolve.

Do you have any idea why the script is complaining about gerbv?  Both gerbv and pstoedit are installed in the exact same places on c: as your system, so the edited lines should be identical to yours.

I am a bit stumped, and not particularly fluent in the command line.  I presume there is a way to explicitly append the locations of gerbv and pstoedit to the path, but I am not certain just how.

Anyway, I am hoping I am close to being able to try this out when I get into the office in the morning. 

thanks for your detailed post -- I hope to get this running soon to see if my little machine will work.

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silhouette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on April 04, 2013, 07:25:27 am
Ahh, user-problem.  Just noticed that while I had edited the .py file with your tweaks, I neglected to save it before running the command line test.  Yes, the first command line worked fine and generated the result.txt file.

Will try it out in the morning and let you know how it cuts!

thanks again,

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silhouette cameo
Post by: Sjaak on April 04, 2013, 11:29:03 am
[quote author="teletypeguy"]
I opened a command window, did a cd to that directory, and tried to issue the first command line.  Unfortunately, it complained that "'gerbv' is not recognized as an internal or external command..." and printed some traceback stuff and exited.  I would have pasted it in here but it seems that even in 2013, microsoft has not provided a way to copy or paste in a command window (sheesh).
[/quote]

try right-click on the cmd box, mark. now you select the things in the box with the mouse cursor, right click, it is copied.. it even has a select all option :D

If the  buffer is too small right click the topleft corner, properties, layout, buffersize.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on April 04, 2013, 10:37:31 pm
SUCCESS FINALLY! 

I got a good stencil with gerber2graphtec, so it was not my machine, it was the Silhouette Studio software.  The Sil-Studio sw cuts a rectangle in one pass, and just destroys the resolution of the cut.  Even if the custom eagle ulp (which takes the cream layer and generates a dxf) is indeed "drawing" a rectangle as four separate cut lines, Sil-Studio looks like it just cuts all four sides in one pass and monkeys up the hole.  I don't know how Cathy got the fine-pitch results that she did -- perhaps she used an older sil-studio version that cut four lines differently, idk. 

Anyway, gerber2graphtec is awesome -- it is very slow, but I see why:  it has a home area a bit outside the 0,0 hole pattern origin (which is at the top-right, not the lower-left as in sil studio).  I could see it cut horizontal and vertical alignment cuts up in this home area, and I am guessing that it does this to align the knife (which simply rotates in the holder) before making cuts of a segment or two (I'll watch closer next time, it may home every segment).  This makes a lot of sense as the knife is pre-positioned in one of four orientations before moving to a cut location, dropping down, and cutting a line segment, which could be as short as about 10-mils.  I will post pics shortly.

The only thing I didn't like about gerber2graphtec is that it cut the stencil out of the mylar sheet with a outline about an inch larger on each side than the hole pattern -- I would rather have cut the outer mylar region myself to a larger size for easier stenciling.  Not a deal-breaker though;  I'm just being picky.  I don't know how much work it would be to tweak the code to make this outline cut a bit bigger.

When first I plugged in the cameo this morning (it had not been plugged into this win7 machine until now), I could not find it as a printer in win7 control panel (but sil-studio saw it just fine).  It showed up as undefined or something, as a "USB Printing Support" device, and not a printer that could be shared.  A bit of googling told me to install the device driver on the install cd, which they provide really just to quiet the win messages that you get.  This indeed made the device a printer that I could share and rename for the gerber2graphtec command line stuff to find, and it then worked great.

I had a bit of fun learning some python as I tweaked the file; I set it up to save the intermediate pdf, pic, and graphtec txt files (probably only want to keep the pdf), and for the first time in probably 20 years I wrote a batch file for windows.

The  slow gerber2graphtec stencil cutting is definitely a start-before-you-go-to-lunch sort of thing, but that's no problem as I won't be cutting stencils all that often.

Thanks to everyone who helped out.  The cameo will pay for itself soon;  it cost me $270 at uscutter.com and included one blade, a 12x12 sticky cutting mat, a mat-scraper doo-hickey, a $10 card for some crafty-crap, and an assortment of adhesive vinyl and transfer film that the wife and kids will have fun turning into window signs and such (it's easy to make cut-out titles for those science fair boards now), and even an xacto knife. It also had a teflon sheet that you can use to iron-on that Dangerous Prototypes logo you printed on tee-shirt stock and die cut with the cameo.  I also picked a 12x24 mat for larger stuff like chassis overlays (another test, later).  The vinyl is on rolls and can be loaded without a mat so you can cut up to 10-feet long or so.  It may be designed for cutting vinyl signs and doilies for scrapbooks, but it is a cool little machine and much more precise than the sil-studio sw would lead you to believe.

thanks,

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on April 05, 2013, 01:42:30 am
Quote
Post by teletypeguy » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:37 pm
SUCCESS FINALLY!

I am glad gerber2graphtec worked for you also!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on April 05, 2013, 02:05:53 am
Hey folks:

Here are some pics from cutting a stencil with gerber2graphtec on the cameo.  Compare this to the sh%$ that sil-studio did in my OP. 

The only cameo setting is the physical blade depth, which is set to 1 (minimum).  The media is polyester (mylar) overhead transparency sheet from any office store.  I measured it to be about 4-mils thick.  The pics are of the cut sheet resting on a textured black powder-coated chassis.

A pic of resistors: 0402 (upper-left), 0805 (lower-left), 0603 (upper-right), 1206 (lower-right):
(the 0805 has closer-than-norm pads as we use it for solder-jumper also)
[attachment=3]

50-mil pitch SOIC and SOT23:
(26-mil-wide hole with 24-mil space)
[attachment=2]

0.65mm (26-mil) TSSOP (bottom) and 25-mil QSOP (top):
(~15-mil-wide hole with ~11-mil space)
[attachment=1]

0.5mm (20-mil) hdmi conn and SOT23:
(~12-mil-wide hole with ~8-mil space)
[attachment=0]

Note that the holes are wider than they should be, but this is actually a stricter test, with thinner between-hole segments.  I did not shrink the cream layer before generating gerber from eagle.  Some folks have said to bring it in by about 2-mil (I presume that is per-side) which will probably be about right, and I will try that on my next stencil.

But just look at the thin bits of mylar between the 0.5mm pads!  They must be only a few mils wide -- very accurate cutting indeed.  I am quite pleased.

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on April 05, 2013, 03:38:29 am
Teletypeguy, what brand/type of transparencies are you using?  I am using Canon transparency type E.  With this transparencies I am having some trouble getting some small hole sizes to open up.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on April 05, 2013, 05:19:54 am
Hi jesuscf:

I have three brands of transparency stock, but I won't be back in the office until Monday to get you actual product numbers.  It may not be too relevant since they are probably circa 1995 or so, when I actually used an overhead projector for presentations!  One of them is a 3M number-number, another is an Apollo somethin-somethin, and I forget the other one.  Using a micrometer, they all measured about 4-mil thick.  One was probably for a laser, and one for an inkjet...  I tried cuts on all three and they seemed the same.

They don't prominently tell you what the specific material is for transparencies, but polyester (mylar) seems to be typical.  I am not a plastics expert by any means -- in the past, for die-cut overlays, I have spec'd polycarbonate 0.010 material with 3M 467 adhesive, and for switch overlays (which would lead to cracks after a while in polycarbonate), I have spec'd polyester of probably 0.007 thickness.  That is the extent of my professional plastics knowledge.  Other than that my only experience in plastics is with PVC for plumbing and irrigation lines, and ABS for the poopy stuff :)

I have not tried Canon-brand transparency stock.  You might just try another brand from the office supply store.

There is also some slightly-thicker (maybe 6-mil?) clear plastic stuff that is used for covers for reports 'n stuff.  Also in the office supply store beside the binding machines and combs etc.  I have not tried that yet but want to try one (as I have some of that, also left from years ago) just to try a thicker application of solder paste.

Let us know what you find out in materials.  I will post the brands/models I have on hand when I get in next week.

thanks,

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on April 05, 2013, 10:25:16 pm
As I suspected, the type of transparency matters when cutting stencils with the Silhouette Cameo.  For the two stencils below, I used one of the example Gerber files included with gerber2graphtec: test_0.5mm_0402.gbr.

For the first test I used a Canon type E transparency:

[attachment=3]

The results are a bit disappointing as some of the small holes didn't clear out.  You can see in the picture below:

[attachment=2]

For the second test I used Apollo Overhead Transparency Film.  These transparencies are kind of "forbidden" at work because people put them in laser printers/copiers and they melt, ruining the equipment.  Thankfully I managed to find a misplaced half box with this information inside:

[attachment=1]

These ones are not as rugged as the Canon transparencies, but the resulting stencils are excellent!  All the holes cleared out without trouble and the cuts are cleaner.

[attachment=0]

As you can see from the pictures above the results using the Apollo transparency are much better than results with the Canon type E transparency.

Jesus
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on April 06, 2013, 02:35:46 am
Hey Jesus:

Nice cuts.  We need to compile a list of good vs. bad stock to use.

What was your blade setting?  I just used the min of 1 since gerber2graphtec cuts the whole thing twice, and I heard that if your blade is deeper than it needs to be, you run the risk of snapping of a bit of the tip (ruining the blade -- not sure if that is true, as the cutting mat is soft, but I'll play nice).

Were the two stocks the same thickness?  If so then one polymer must just be tougher than the other.

You got pretty good pics -- what lens is that?

thanks,

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on April 06, 2013, 03:04:54 am
Gil,

I used a blade setting of 1 for both tests above.  I also experimented with 2 and 3 blade settings with no damage to the cutter, but since the blade is kind of conical, the fine cuts came out a bit stretched out.

The two transparencies types I tested have the same thickness, about 4 mil.  The Canon transparency is way tougher than the Apollo one.  The Apollo transparency is way easier to cut when using an X-acto knife.

Lens?  Whatever the Samsung Galaxy S3 built in camera has.

Jesus
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: christof on April 07, 2013, 07:32:09 am
Hi everybody,

I'm using a Silhouette Portrait (SP) successfully under Win7 and Gerber2graphtec.
I confirm some distorsions if i use the original Silhouette Software instead ! Gerber2graphtec is really better.

So, I have to calibrate my SP using the matrice option ;
I need to extend Y axis up to 0.25%.  X axis seem's to be ok.
Please let me know how to convert it into a matrice option, how do you proceed to calibrate yours ?

Thanks , Chris.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on April 07, 2013, 06:00:35 pm
Quote
Post by christof » Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:32 am
So, I have to calibrate my SP using the matrice option ;
I need to extend Y axis up to 0.25%. X axis seem's to be ok.
Please let me know how to convert it into a matrice option, how do you proceed to calibrate yours ?

My Silhouette Cameo is spot on, at least for the small PCBs I am testing (max is 3000 mil by 2000 mil) so I didn't have to do any calibration.  What I would suggest is to cut a test stencil with two long components (maybe connectors) in the X and Y axis.  Measure the result and adjust using the --matrix option in Gerber2Graphtec.

You can use --matrix 1,0,0,1.0025 to compensate for the 0.25% error in the Y axis.  I ran a couple of tests using the same Gerber file to see how this option works:

[attachment=1]
[attachment=0]

Jesus
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: christof on April 08, 2013, 04:11:38 pm
Yes it works fine like this. Thanks Jesus. Chris.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on April 10, 2013, 04:25:00 am
Here are three more tests with different transparencies:

[attachment=2]
[attachment=1]
[attachment=0]

Both the Staedtler 995AV and Avery 5277 are good but not great: some distortion can be seen in the horizontal lines.  Surprisingly, the 3M PP2200 transparency worked very well, almost as good as the Apollo write-on transparency.

Jesus
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: 2blmaster on May 16, 2013, 09:42:07 pm
Hi everybody,

I just received my Silhouette Cameo after I got excited reading *this* thread :)

I use it together with the great gerber2graphtec tool
In principle it works as expected and according to what is promised here :)

But trying to print "large" (~10x10 cm²) stencils, I always find a "spot", where the rectangular shapes are "distorted", and not repeated exactly in the different cutting passes... (gerber files are okay!)

Please find a picture attached

Has any of you encountered similar things, or have an explanation for this?

Thanks a lot and cheers
  Andre
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 18, 2013, 05:54:32 am
hey gang..

I 'too' just got a new Silhouette Cameo..

and mostly to do SMT solder paste stencils!  (as well as vinyl stickers and stencil for etching on glass..etc..etc)

I have a few small pieces of mylar I cut off some other solder paste stencils I ordered on-line a while back to 'test with'.

I tried the .ulp file direct export of .dxf file from Eagle (which is the PCB design software I use)... but when I printed.. I wasnt too happy with the results..

cuts were ok in some places.. jagged in other?  (and this is a TINY/small pcb.. about size of US quarter or so.. with 0603 footprint parts and ATmega328P-AU main chip)

so Im hoping this gerbertographtec approach yields better results.


Summary:

Machine: Silhouette Cameo
OS: Windows XP
Medium cutting: mylar (3mil)

Downloaded all apps listed above (Phyton, Gerbv, pstoedit, Ghostscript..etc)

installed gerbertographtec in C: root directory...  edited the file to add .py extension as well added in the two lines above.

I go to CMD prompt.. and run this:



C:Documents and Settingswhispers>C:gerber2graphtec-master>gerber2graphtec.py test.gbr > result.txt

'C:gerber2graphtec-master' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.


I even tried executing that from inside the directory (cd to the folder)..  same error..

what am I doing wrong?


thanks!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 18, 2013, 06:00:04 pm
Well a new day... and still trying!  :)

I cant get ANYWHERE with those command lines posted.. not sure if those are for WINDOWS or not?

I dont recognize the >  stuff in there?

so I tried to remove those and use slashes like Windows does for its pathing..

and it looks like Im getting a step closer.. but still more odd errors:

Quote
C:Documents and Settingswhispers>C:gerber2graphtec-master>gerber2graphtec.py
test.gbr > result.txt
'C:gerber2graphtec-master' is not recognized as an internal or external command operable program or batch file.


C:>C:gerber2graphtec-mastergerber2graphtec.py
usage: gerber2graphtec [options] paste.gbr >/dev/usb/lp0

options:
  --offset x,y        translate to device coordinates x,y (inches)
  --border bx,by      leave a border around the bounding box of the gerber file
  --matrix a,b,c,d    transform coordinates by [a b;c d]
  --speed s[,s2[,s3]] use speed s in device units; s2,s3 for multiple passes
  --force f[,f2[,f3]] use force f in device units; f2,f3 for multiple passes
  --cut_mode [0|1]    0 for highest accuracy (fine pitch), 1 for highest speed

defaults:
  --offset 4.0,0.5  suitable for letter size (portrait) on the Cameo, fed as "me
dia" not "mat"
  --border 1,1      1-inch border in x and y around gerber bounding box
  --matrix 1,0,0,1  identity linear transform for scale and skew calibration
  --speed 2,2      use two passes, speed 2 in each pass
  --force 8,30      use force 8 for first pass, force 30 for second pass
  --cut_mode 0      highest accuracy


C:>C:gerber2graphtec-mastergerber2graphtec.py test.gbr > result.txt
'C:/Program' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operable program or batch file.

Problem during opening C:Program Filespstoeditdrvmagick.dll:The specified mod
ule could not be found.

Problem during opening of pstoedit driver plugin: C:Program Filespstoeditdrvm
agick.dll. This is no problem as long the driver in this library is not needed.
Possibly you need to install further libraries and/or extend the LD_LIBRARY_PATH
 (*nix) or PATH (Windows) environment variables.
Could not open file _tmp_gerber.pdf for input
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "C:gerber2graphtec-mastergerber2graphtec.py", line 104, in <module>
    strokes = pic.read_pic(temp_pic)
  File "C:gerber2graphtec-masterpic.py", line 5, in read_pic
    f = open(filename,"r")
IOError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: '_tmp_gerber.pic'


Anybody help out with some suggestions for WINDOWS users to get this up and running?

How does this 'command line' stuff actually find or use the Eagle file you want to use as the source for cutting?

Needs to be in some directory with it? 

(command line stuff is kaka!)  lol


thanks!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: mondalaci on May 18, 2013, 10:32:03 pm
@2blmaster: I haven't encountered with any of such errors, so far my stencils were perfect (not that I created that many).  Maybe you could fine-tune the behavior of gerber2graphtec through its parameters.

@xl97: I'm afraid you won't go too far on Windows because the script uses Unix device filenames.  Linux surely cuts it (pun intended) and maybe Mac OS, too.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 18, 2013, 11:02:41 pm
Im confused..

were the last several posts DONE through Windows??

the "SUCCESS" post above?

and all the links to the Windows versions of the apps to get?


So now the stance is this is NOT Windows compatible?

</confused>


moving on:

Also.. looking at the errors again.. I think its erring out on GerbV now? (which makes me think Python is working ok.. if you dont use >> instead of / slashes in the paths..

Question:

Where you choose the Gerber file you are trying to 'cut'?  It needs to be in the command line somewhere?

is that test.gbr file you change to be your own?  and then you have to have it in a 'certain' directory? Which one?


Also Im on Windows XP (not Windows 7).. 

are these truly the correct edits to be making to the gerbertographtec.py script?

os.system(""C:/Program Files (x86)/gerbv-2.6.0/bin/gerbv" --export=pdf --output=%s --border=0 %s" % (temp_pdf,input_filename))
os.system(""C:/Program Files/pstoedit/pstoedit" -q -f pic %s %s" % (temp_pdf,temp_pic))


I dont have a C:/Program Files (x86)

only a C:/Program Files/

part of the error?




update: if I DONT use  > in the paths and use / instead I get to the NEXT step (error)

& and I changed C:/Program Files(x86)/ to be:  C:/Program Files/

it no longer gives me the GerbV error..



this is what I get now:

seems to be a pstoedit eror:

This application failed to start because CORE_RL_Magik++_.dll was not found. Re-installing the application may fix this problem.

thanks!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 19, 2013, 12:59:52 am
ok.. update:

OS: Windows XP Pro

All apps installed:

Ghostscript
pstoedit
Gerbv
Python 2.7.5
Gerbertographtec (in root of C: drive)


Edits to Gerbertographtec:

* add .py file extension to the gerber2graphtec file
* Edit gerber2graphtec.py lines:

#original lines:
#os.system("gerbv --export=pdf --output=%s --border=0 %s" % (temp_pdf,input_filename))
#os.system("pstoedit -f pic %s %s 2>/dev/null" % (temp_pdf,temp_pic))

#new lines:
os.system(""C:/Program Files/gerbv-2.6.0/bin/gerbv" --export=pdf --output=%s --border=0 %s" % (temp_pdf,input_filename))
os.system(""C:/Program Files/pstoedit/pstoedit" -q -f pic %s %s" % (temp_pdf,temp_pic))


*** in original post it was stated to use this: C:/Program Files (x86)  this DOES NOT WORK?FIT with Windows XP pathing ***

This will get Python and GerbV running without any errors being given..


pstoedit changes:

Everytime I would run the command lines given above.. I would get error about the image_magik_.dll file.. and things would crash.

Quote
Problem during opening of pstoedit driver plugin: C:Program Filespstoeditdrvm
agick.dll. This is no problem as long the driver in this library is not needed.
Possibly you need to install further libraries and/or extend the LD_LIBRARY_PATH
 (*nix) or PATH (Windows) environment variables.
Could not open file _tmp_gerber.pdf for input
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "C:gerber2graphtec-mastergerber2graphtec.py", line 105, in <module>
    strokes = pic.read_pic(temp_pic)
  File "C:gerber2graphtec-masterpic.py", line 5, in read_pic
    f = open(filename,"r")
IOError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: '_tmp_gerber.pic'



*still not sure how to handle this.. but a google search returned a post from an INKSCAPE forum member with same errors... removed the .dll from the directory.. and no longer getting the error.. (is it needed?)


**note:

it looks like the script is looking for a .gbr file  (I think it needs to be int he GerbtoGraphtec root directory...)

Based on your pcb design software.. (I use Eagle)..  the CAM script you use will export and control the names of the gerber files (make sure you get a .gbr file exported)

I took my file.. changed extension from .gts to be .gbr.. and put in the root gerbertographtec folder in my C: drive..

called board.gbr


anyways.. moving forward.. I gave it a shot, using this as my command line..

C:>C:gerber2graphtec-mastergerber2graphtec.py board.gbr > result.txt

When I try it.. GerbV.exe crashes... (send error report..etc)

this is the error I am given in the CMD prompt box:

Quote
C:>C:gerber2graphtec-mastergerber2graphtec.py board.gbr > result.txt
Could not open file _tmp_gerber.pdf for input
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "C:gerber2graphtec-mastergerber2graphtec.py", line 105, in <module>
    strokes = pic.read_pic(temp_pic)
  File "C:gerber2graphtec-masterpic.py", line 5, in read_pic
    f = open(filename,"r")
IOError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: '_tmp_gerber.pic'


At this point Im not sure WHAT else I can do?  I see other Windows user are having success!  (I want to be part of that club too!)  LOL

Am I missing something?  Something not configured correctly?  anything?


thanks!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: timb on May 19, 2013, 03:28:57 am
Anyone tried this with a CraftRobo Pro? I picked one up a few years back to do die cut decals with and actually thought about cutting solder masks a few weeks ago but got discouraged by some guys on another forum (it'll never be precise enough, you have to use a laser cutter, etc). Now that I see this thread I think I'll give it a go.

The CraftRobo Pro is Graphtec's higher end cutting tool. It has a bigger cutting area, higher cutting force and the ability to feed from rolls, along with the standard features of reading registration marks and speaking the Graphtec language.

My fiancé has both a Cameo and SD as well and said I could try it with the SD but the Cameo was off limits (scrapbooker's are protective of their tools, god forbid you ever use their scissors).

Where do you guys get the plastic at?
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 19, 2013, 03:47:57 am
It wouldnt harm the Cameo in ANY way shape or form..  (but I understand.. it is what it is!) LOL

you can order mylar or kapton on line..

for the transparencies they are talking about.. I have seen them at my local Office Depot  (the Apollo write-on ones)

Are you on a Windows platform? or a Mac/Linux based machine?

I'm still having trouble with the whole thing on Windows..(XP)

whatever this means.. is where Im stuck at for now:

Quote
C:>C:gerber2graphtec-mastergerber2graphtec.py board.gbr > result.txt
Could not open file _tmp_gerber.pdf for input
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "C:gerber2graphtec-mastergerber2graphtec.py", line 105, in <module>
    strokes = pic.read_pic(temp_pic)
  File "C:gerber2graphtec-masterpic.py", line 5, in read_pic
    f = open(filename,"r")
IOError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: '_tmp_gerber.pic'
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: timb on May 19, 2013, 04:16:04 am
Yeah, I know it won't hurt it, but that's her baby, I'm sure you know how that is. She got a Cameo to upgrade from her SD a few months back. If I can do this with her old SD I'd rather use that than my CraftRobo Pro, since I just don't have the space to keep the latter on my desk all the time, but the SD is small enough I can make a spot for it.

I'm on OS X, but can use Linux (via VM or my R.Pi) or Windows (VM or old laptop) if I need to.

I've already got lots of those transparencies and various types of vinyl, I was just curious about specific places to get Kapton.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 19, 2013, 04:28:14 am
I'll have to check out the kapton sources I have saved..

but IMHO.. kapton is used for LASER cutters because it withstands the heat better than mylar (less edge/melting/curling..etc)

not sure it really applies here for cutters?  (but maybe the way it cuts is diff/better?)

If yo 'do' work out some sort of Windows solution.. I'd LOVE a step-by-step..


I've still be googling and trying different things.. (including installing GraphicsMagik as well as copying .dlls to the pstoedit directory).

I have currently REMOVED the drvmagik.dll file..

and tried the command line again..

NO MATTER I TRY (adding/removing files using different/alt command lines..etc).. 

GerbV also 'crashes'..  I get huge pop-up that Gerbv has crashed.. and do I want to send error report..etc..

then in the CMD prompt/window I get this:

Quote
C:>gerber2graphtec-mastergerber2graphtec.py board.gbr > result.txt
Could not open file _tmp_gerber.pdf for input
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "C:gerber2graphtec-mastergerber2graphtec.py", line 105, in <module>
    strokes = pic.read_pic(temp_pic)
  File "C:gerber2graphtec-masterpic.py", line 5, in read_pic
    f = open(filename,"r")
IOError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: '_tmp_gerber.pic'


or any of the other error message posted above too..

but each and every time.. GerbV crashes?  WTF!?


searching around I found this:
http://sourceforge.net/tracker/?func=de ... tid=409538 (http://sourceforge.net/tracker/?func=detail&aid=3274596&group_id=33921&atid=409538)

not sure if it applies to me/us..  (I always have problems with this unix/linux/mac conversion stuff) =(

nm.. seems it was only a bug on NON-enligh versions of windows.. (back to square 1 again) :)



anybody?


thanks!  :)
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: timb on May 19, 2013, 05:18:26 am
Let me start with a fresh Windows XP VM tonight and see if I can get it working that way. If I do, I suppose I can share the VM and you can run it in VMWare Player?
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 19, 2013, 05:58:36 am
That would be great..

although Im not clear on VM player is?

Im hoping its just some setting or path/default in one of the see files along the way here.. LOL

but yeah anything you find out & can share is appreciated.

I bought this Cameo for 'this' reason... kind of a bummer if I can get it to perform. :(

take care.

thanks!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on May 19, 2013, 09:37:17 am
Hey Jerry:

If you followed the instructions that jesuscf provided previously, you should be able to get it running.  I have it on a win7 latptop and it works well.  A couple of things:

When you open up a command window, you will probably not be in the directory with your gerber2graphtec executable.  So you need to cd to the proper directory first (it say not recognized since it won't be in your path, but will run fine from its directory).

The > character shows up in a couple of places, first as the prompt just before the cursor, as in C:windows-sucks>

Also, it is used to "redirect" output from stdout (the screen) to a file or to be the input to another program, as in DIR > pud.txt

The > characters in the example have nothing to do with directory slashes.

Here is what I did:  I have a folder C:gerber-files-to-cut and in there I have another folder, gerber2graphtec, which has the py stuff.  I copy the file I wish to cut (xyz.SPT -- my eagle cam is set to use .spt for solderpaste-top) into this folder.  I created a simple batch file which I just double-click and then type in xyz.spt and hit return -- then I go have lunch (my last stencil took 2 hours to cut, but it was perfect).  I also set eagle to shrink the paste layer by 2-mils and it all worked great.  Fryed up a new proto pcb on my cheap walmart skillet with paste that expired a year ago -- worked great.  Here is my batch file:

@echo off
rem This is for printer named "Cameo" which must be named and shared in control panel.
rem This is for computer named "i4004"
echo.
echo This script will send gerber file to Cameo for cutting solder stencil.
echo Generates intermediate files .pdf, .pic, and .graphtec.txt
echo.
echo Set your Cameo blade to 1 and turn cutter on.
echo Load mylar sheet (landscape) at upper-left corner of mat.
echo.
set /p filename= Enter filename of gerber (eg: test.spt):
gerber2graphtecgerber2graphtec.py %filename% > %filename%.graphtec.txt
copy /B %filename%.graphtec.txt \i4004Cameo

hope this helps,  gil.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 19, 2013, 03:53:35 pm
hey Gil-

thanks for the reply/post..

Im not sure what part(s) I am NOT doing correctly then?

let me re-cap to see if you can spot something I didnt do correctly? or am missing?

OS: Windows XP

* I have the same gerbertographtec directory in root on my C: drive..

* I did CD into the C: drive.. and use the command line from there  (root of C: where I called the command line.. as shown above in the command lines I posted that I used.. are they NOT correct?

* Printer 'was' seen as Cameo in printer profiles..  (shared it out as 'Cameo' as well)


I have installed:
Python 2.7.5
pstoedit
GerbV
Ghostscript
(GraphicMagik as well)



Edits to Gerbertographtec:

* add .py file extension to the gerber2graphtec file
* Edit gerber2graphtec.py lines:

#original lines:
#os.system("gerbv --export=pdf --output=%s --border=0 %s" % (temp_pdf,input_filename))
#os.system("pstoedit -f pic %s %s 2>/dev/null" % (temp_pdf,temp_pic))

#new lines:
os.system(""C:/Program Files/gerbv-2.6.0/bin/gerbv" --export=pdf --output=%s --border=0 %s" % (temp_pdf,input_filename))
os.system(""C:/Program Files/pstoedit/pstoedit" -q -f pic %s %s" % (temp_pdf,temp_pic))



**Q1:  Is the above correct?  I edited out the (x86) portion..



pstoedit changes:

Everytime I would run the command lines given above.. I would get error about the image_magik_.dll file.. and things would crash.

Quote
Problem during opening of pstoedit driver plugin: C:Program Filespstoeditdrvm
agick.dll. This is no problem as long the driver in this library is not needed.
Possibly you need to install further libraries and/or extend the LD_LIBRARY_PATH
(*nix) or PATH (Windows) environment variables.
Could not open file _tmp_gerber.pdf for input
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "C:gerber2graphtec-mastergerber2graphtec.py", line 105, in <module>
strokes = pic.read_pic(temp_pic)
File "C:gerber2graphtec-masterpic.py", line 5, in read_pic
f = open(filename,"r")
IOError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: '_tmp_gerber.pic'

If I take the Image_Magik _.dll file out of the cirectory.. it does NOT give this error/message


**Q2:  Do I need to take the .dll out of the directory.. or not?


*GerbV seems to be the problem?

NO MATTER WHAT I TRY (adding/removing files using different/alt command lines..etc)..

GerbV also 'crashes'.. I get huge pop-up that Gerbv has crashed.. and do I want to send error report..etc..

then in the CMD prompt/window I get this:


At this point .. I dont see any differences between our set-ups.. besides that fact you are using a batch script to execute things.. (which I am going to try next)

*Q3:  Do you have your .spt file in the gerber-files-to-cut directory? or the  gerber-files-to-cut/gerber2graphtec directory?


I did change out the > to slashes in the command line (because with them it threw errors).. so I will go back and leave them in and try again.. (or just try your batch script)

Here is my edited batch file based off yours:

Quote
@echo off
rem This is for printer named "Cameo" which must be named and shared in control panel.
rem This is for computer named "hacker"
echo.
echo This script will send gerber file to Cameo for cutting solder stencil.
echo Generates intermediate files .pdf, .pic, and .graphtec.txt
echo.
echo Set your Cameo blade to 1 and turn cutter on.
echo Load mylar sheet (landscape) at upper-left corner of mat.
echo.
set /p filename= Enter filename of gerber (eg: test.spt or board.gbr):
gerber2graphtecgerber2graphtec.py %filename% > %filename%.graphtec.txt
copy /B %filename%.graphtec.txt \hackerCameo

I have now copied your file structure..

C:gerber-files-to-cut
&

C:gerber-files-to-cutgerber2graphtec

(dropped the -master portion of the name... and this is where all the .py stuff resides as well)




Update 1: tried it once..

got a 'quick' (I think) message that said file not found or something? closed before I could be sure?

I then moved the .bat file you suggested I create to the:  C:gerber-files-to-cut  directory.. and ran it.. (success, as in it prompted for name and did output some files)

at least as far as it 'creating' a file to be used..

I continued to press "OK" to cut.. loaded mat/media.. scanned it in/out for awhile (like it was registering)  make some noises like it was cutting.. but quit/stopped quickly...(not more than a minute or two)..

and say UNLOAD (like it was done).. I check the mylar on the mat.. no cuts at all?  I tried to open the _tmp_.pdf file.. (0kb..and wont open ..says error or corrupt)

not sure what I can use to view a .pic file  (PS says not valid)

the graphtec.txt file actually DOES have some data in it:

Code: [Select]
TTFGFW100FC18FY0FN1FE0TB71FAFU5088,5776FM1TB50,1FO5088&100,100,100,,0,Z6096,5588,L0,FX8,0!2M2286.000,508.000D3302.000,508.000D3302.000,1524.000D2286.000,1524.000D2286.000,508.000FX30,0!2M2286.000,508.000D3302.000,508.000D3302.000,1524.000D2286.000,1524.000D2286.000,508.000&1,1,1,TB50,0FO0H,

Im doing better now with the batch script.. (no more errors on GerbV)

am I missing something else then?

thanks!!


update 2:

I put BACK the Image_Magik_.dll file into the _root of the pstoedit directory.. (I had previously removed it due to an error)..

re-ran the .bat file again.. entered in name.. hit enter..

BAM!@..  this time I actually cut 'files' with data in them..

.pdf opens and looks like the gerber file
the Cameo 'is' cutting something..  (not done.. so no results yet)

I noticed on the .pdf preview.. the board OUTLINE (dimensions layer) is also there in red... I read this will be cut out?

Do we need to remove the dimensions layer before exporting gerbers then to void the stencil outline from being cut out of the mylar?


Also.. lastly..

I still get this error:
The procedure entry point ?construct@?$allocator@VVPath@Magik@@@std@@QAEXPAVVPath@Magik@@$$QAV34@@Z could not be located in the dynamic CORE_RL_Magik++.dll


* should I copy the .dll's from the Image_Magik installation directory.. (which I did/installed on my own not part as anyone directions during searching for a solution last night) to the pstoedit directory or something?


if it works.. I suppose I can 'live' with the error message.. just curious as to why Im getting it and how to solve it. :)


thanks for all the help so far.. the bat file seems to be the key for me!.


*update 3:

still printing (cutting).. been a long time now 1+ hours Im guessing so far.....

I lifted the cover of the Cameo to ensure it was actually cutting...

it is... (so Im happy I hope it turns out as great as everyone elses!)..

Still have the last ERROR though?


Anyways...  what I wanted to ask last was:

my file seems to be cutting at the TOP/CENTER position.. and NOT in the upper LEFT CORNER..  (more 'left' of the top, dead center to be accurate)

Which got me thinking..

how can you place where the cut file is going to be positioned on the Cameo?

if I wanted to put in a 8.5 x 11" piece of mylar  (or even lets say a 4" x 4" piece)...

how would I 'center' that?  or at east have some control over the placement as to not waste media? (mylar/kapton/transparencies..etc..etc)


thanks!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 19, 2013, 10:27:13 pm
well it was 'still' running...

(so I killed it).......

it had 'missed' the little piece of mylar I placed on the mat anyways..

it 'did not' start cutting in the upper left hand corner.... (like I was expecting)

it instead started cutting just left  of DEAD CENTER..??

Is there a way to position the cut starts using this method?

Also.. was/is there any problems with cutting depth? (and can you adjust for that and/or speed at all?  maybe a parameter in the .bat file?

thanks!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on May 20, 2013, 01:26:49 am
Sheesh Jerry, that's a lot of questions :) 

I can't help you with the error you are getting -- I just installed the packages with whatever defaults they requested, in whatever directories they desired, and made the minimal tweaks that jesuscf indicated.  I try to understand and learn as little as possible about windows;  I have hated windows since 3.1.  But I can't do everything on macs, so I have win machines around too.  One of my win7 machines does not update win-explorer windows -- I can delete a file, but it is still there until I do a view/refresh -- I can change a filename, but need to do a view/refresh.  So fricking annoying.  Google shows me that many folks have this issue, going back over two years.  Hmm, the filesystem is like computer-design-101 guys.  Also, why would microsoft ever, ever, ever, ever, think that when I unzip a file, that I would want all files set to today's date -- gotta "unblock" first, whatever that means.  Stupid stuff. But I digress.

First, I got gerber2graphtec cutting a little test file (emphasis on little for your first one, like maybe one chip and one resistor).  Once I got it running, I just cleaned it up with a top-level directory in which to copy my gerber, and the little batch file that kept it simple.  I put the py stuff in a subdir, and tweaked it to keep the intermediate files.  Probably only want to keep the pdf. 

>>> if you look at the pdf, you see that it only extends to the edges of the furthest cuts -- YOUR BOARD OUTLINE IS NOT INVOLVED.  Peter Monta, who wrote gerber2graphtec (google it), told me that the default edge around the cuts is one inch, but it could be changed in his py file (it's pretty easy to see it).  I was going to increase it a bit, but then you start to run out of space on your mylar sheet when the board gets bigger.

>>> speaking of the mylar sheet, put a full one in, not a little scrap -- it's cheap stuff.  As you found, it does not cut from the upper-left corner as you might think.  In fact, your paste file will be rotated 180-degrees, and the 0,0 origin will be in the upper-right.  This fact, plus the 1-inch border, probably explains why your stencil did not cut where you expected it.

>>> as for cutting depth, using this office-supply-store overhead transparency film (which I measured to be about 3.5 mil thick), I thought I was initially cutting with a blade depth of 1, but I might have used 2 on my last one.  I need to run a couple of tests to be sure.  If the depth is too shallow, it may not cut all the way through (though note that gerber2graphtec seems to cut the entire board twice, for good luck).  If the blade depth is too deep, you cut into your mat more, and they say that a too-deep blade can get the tip snapped off.  You cannot change speed or anything else without digging into peter's code.  I end up with a few holes that need the little scrap poked out with an exacto and scraped off, but it's a minor thing.

I will post some pics of my last stencil here shortly.

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on May 20, 2013, 01:43:27 am
My latest stencil (this took two hours to cut, but I'm not complaining, it turned out great).
Click on pics to enlarge.

Stick a mylar overhead-transparency sheet on the mat, load the mat, and cut.
[attachment=3]

Unload the mat and peel stencil off.
[attachment=2]

Nice.  Just a few hanging chads to poke out and scrape off with an xacto.
[attachment=1]

Scrape the sticky mat clean when you are done, and put protective sheet back on to keep the cat hair off.
[attachment=0]
Time for a beer.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on May 20, 2013, 02:07:44 am
Time to use my new stencil:

Make a "nest" with old boards or whatever, align stencil to your board, and tape it down so it hinges.
[attachment=5]

Ready to go -- drop a board into the nest.
[attachment=4]

Stencil drops exactly in place.
[attachment=3]

This solder paste expired a year ago, but after taking it out of the solder fridge (don't put this in with food), letting it warm up for a couple of days, and giving it a good stir, it worked just fine.  A bit thick, and I would not even guess what could be used as a solvent to thin it -- it got the job done.  This is a $40 250g tub from stencilsunlimited.com, which has an air-exclusion inner cup -- get the leaded no-clean stuff (water-soluble flux needs to be cleaned, and I am too lazy to run it through the dishwasher and get out the air compressor).  Lead-free needs a higher reflow temp, and unless you have a good oven (and are using a high-temp laminate like HR370 as well), you will have more problems.  Using lead-free on cheap proto FR4 and cranking up the heat may leave you with a board that is partly de-laminated.  Just use lead, even though it is getting harder to find.  The tiny 30-ish gram leaded Mechanics paste that is popular is out of stock at sparkfun -- it was cheaper at dx.com anyway, and dx has a replacement or two.  There are lots of other places.
[attachment=2]

A little paint scaper works for me as a solderpaste squeegee.
[attachment=1]

Squeegee on the paste.
[attachment=0]

to be continued, as six pics is the maximum...
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on May 20, 2013, 02:17:59 am
...continuing:

Some of the paste smeared -- no big whoop -- it'll reflow nicely even if the pins all look shorted right now.  You are more concerned with just having enough of it more or less.  Some of those SOIC pads look a little long?  I made a hybrid part so I can use normal 150-mil parts, or the wider 209-mil SOP/EIJ parts.  Likewise, my MAX202 is able to use the 150-mil narrow or 300-mil wide parts.  Why have procurement problems in the future?
[attachment=3]

Tweezers for the small bits (an old fart like me will put on two pairs of reading glasses).
[attachment=2]

Little suction thingy for chips.
[attachment=1]

Time to fry this puppy up on my Tilt-n-Drain Griddle from Walmart.  Turned out great!
[attachment=0]
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 20, 2013, 04:11:39 am
nice job!.. I do same.. except, I use a toaster over, not a hot griddle.. :)



I am doing another test run..

bigger piece of mylar in there now..

ran same .bat as posted before..

(I get the same stupid ENTRY POINT error about pstoedit)..

oh, and to comment,.... I have installed all apps in their default locations as well.. no deviation (not sure why or what that errors means)..

I opened by .brd file.. edited out the DIMENSIONS layer... (so it doesnt cut the pcb outline)..

started cut @ 7:45 pm..

my file is no bigger than the size of a US quarter.. (a ATmega328P-Au chip and a couple 0603 leds/resistor footprints..)

last time I sent it to cutter it took over 4 hours..and I had to cancel it..

lets see what happens this time!  (from what i could tell form last test.. the cuts were AMAZING!.. and if only 2 hours wait.. Im happy as heck with it!)

would be nice to figure out a way to get the file 'centered' somehow though..

:)
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 20, 2013, 05:20:15 am
test cut 2:

MUCH faster!.. (went upstairs for a few..came down it was done.. but as mentioned its a really small and simple layout)

I had the blade set @ "2".. and some of the holes were ripped/merged together.. (ie: one long hole)

re-doing the same cut at blade setting of: '1'


Test Cut #3:

Resources:
* all apps install as default set-ups
* created directory C:gerber-files-to-cut  (files here are my .bat file and the gerber file I want convert/cut)
* copied gerbertographtec folder to - C:gerber-files-to-cutgerber2graphtec (where all default gerbertographtec files reside.. I have only added .py extension and edited those two lines for 'paths' I believe it was for )
* printer shared out correctly (Cameo)
* edited .bat file with my info (computer name)


Settings:
* Blade setting: 1
* Using mat  (yes)


File:
* created using CADSoft Eagle
* iTeadStudio CAM file to generate GERBER files (thats usually who I use for pcb fab)
* 0603 footprints & ATmega328P-AU SMD chip



Results:

Total Cut Time: 28 minutes!  (no complaints!..on time that is)

* Still getting: "The procedure entry point ?construct@?$allocator@VVPath@Magik@@@std@@QAEXPAVVPath@Magik@@$$QAV34@@Z could not be located in the dynamic CORE_RL_Magik++.dll"

* (Still) Did "NOT" cut all the way through on all holes,....... (using an exacto to push on them..still didnt pop them through.. feeling the backside, its mostly smooth, showing cut didnt penetrate in most areas/holes) what can I do if blade setting 1 isnt enough and blade setting 2 is too much?

* The holes for the ATmega328P-AU chip have VERY little space between the pads...  (I got better pad 'spacing' doing trying it with the ULP script that exports a .dxf file for you to use in the Silhouette Studio software from here: http://www.idleloop.com/robotics/cutter ... hp#stencil (http://www.idleloop.com/robotics/cutter/index.php#stencil))... but of course the rest of it cuts like KAKA (slanted squares, rounded bottoms..etc)

maybe trying to compensate for it prior to export by this 'shrinking of the cream layer pads'? 

* In Eagle I deleted the Dimensions layer before generating my GERBER files.... it no longer 'cuts this' PCB outline as a result.. (which is NOT the 1" board outline you were commenting on).



Off Topic:

Q1: I saw you mention something about shrinking the cream layers before export? How do you do that?

Q2: Curiosity is getting the better of me.. what is the PCB for in your posts??  haha


this is a nice trick!! (I dig this!)
quote: "I made a hybrid part so I can use normal 150-mil parts, or the wider 209-mil SOP/EIJ parts. Likewise, my MAX202 is able to use the 150-mil narrow or 300-mil wide parts. Why have procurement problems in the future?"


Im going to pick up some of that Apollo write-on transparency sheets.. ($50 a pack.. YIKES!)  see if it yields better results than this mylar.. :(

4mil is getting to be thick for fine pitch parts though!..  I dont think Id' wanna use thicker than 4mil... (depends on the components I guess) :)

guess I just keep on playing around?

thanks!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on May 20, 2013, 05:28:30 am
You can look at your solderpaste gerber in  gcprevue before you cut it, but note that editing the DIMENSIONS layer in your eagle board file will have NO effect on your cameo cut.  Gerber2graphtec only looks at the outer BOUNDS of ACTUAL CUTS (see the generated pdf), and adds 1 inch extra on all sides to trim it out of the sheet (you can change this trim number in the py file).

Unless your board is large, I don't know why you care where the stencil is "centered" on your sheet of cheap throw-away mylar.  As long as your board fits in the 8.5x11 inch sheet, you will be happy to have it cut for you, and you will happily throw the scrap away.

As for the incredibly-long time it takes, if you watch the knife, it will very often move to the upper-right corner for what Peter calls a "training" cut -- this orients the blade (which rotates freely in the holder), to get in the correct position for the next cut or two.  This is, I think, the key to the program's cut accuracy.  When I cut small rectangles with sil-studio, I could see the effect of the knife rotating as the cut transitioned 90-degrees, and it resulted in totally unusable stencils.  Peter's program may be slow, but it works very, very well.

Previously, I cut a small stencil that took a half-hour.  The 4.5x4.75-inch one of which I just posted pictures, took two hours.  If you have a little board and it is going for four hours, there may be something wrong.  It does look like the board should be cut twice though, so if you see it doing the same cuts twice I think that is normal.  If it is cutting them more than once, well, i dunno...

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 20, 2013, 05:53:02 am
I think we were both posting at the same time.. LOL

I understand why its so accurate.. goes back to 'home' before each cut!..

I only asked about the placement, because if I want some more meat on my actual stencil.. I have to move some off the matt.. not a big deal or a deal breaker..

and Im not sure where 'connecting' on this Dimensions layer thing.. LOL  (although I explained a bit more/better above)..

example my PCB has an ODD shape......  a circle PCB for example.. that 'shape' I want pcb to be cut is in the Dimensions layer....

for the stencil I dont need my PCB outline (the circle) cut.. I only need (like you explained) the 1" in border from the PUTER BOUNDS of ACTUAL CUTS...

cutting out the shape of my pcb defeats the purpose of having a stencil.. hard to smear paste over a sheet/stencil thats the same size/shape as your PCB..  in my first cuts.. this layer was in there.. as I took same gerbers I sent to fab house.. I needed to remove this layer, re-export and use that in my gerbertographtec tests..  :)


I need to somehow fix the spacing (maybe the 2mil shrink of cream layer you mentioned in previous post will help this?) in my ATmega328P-AU pads...  (done through Eagle somehow Im assuming?)


yes.. my latest, smaller pcb cut time did take roughly half an hour too..  (which is even better!)

I thikn it gives the BEST cuts as far as 'straight and positioning'...  I just need to get full cuts.. so its a 'real' stencil!!  lol..

maybe shrinking cream layer and going to blade setting of: 2?


thanks!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on May 20, 2013, 06:14:54 am
I just looked at my solderpaste gerber in gcprevue, and there is no board outline from the dimensions layer.  I don't know what might be different about your itead cam export, but it must be different than mine.  I just use the standard eagle CAM-processor (I get my boards at myro, but gerbers are gerbers).  I also use an older eagle version 4.16 on XP, as years ago we paid a shit-load of money for the full pro version (as we needed big boards with 6+ layers), and with the autorouter (which we have only used once), and have really never needed to spend another thousand bucks to upgrade it (except for a few more-recent libraries we can't open).
To export gerbers:
File/CAM-processor
File/Open/Job
(select our 6/4/2-layer.cam file, which just defines solderpaste-top as a .SPT, RS274X...)
Process-Job...

To shrink the solderpaste (which I think is important for the cameo cuts), open your board in eagle, click on DRC, click the MASKS tab -- it has settings for STOP (solderMASK), and CREAM (SolderPASTE) layers.  They do the opposite: 
--- when you select a positive number for the STOP layer, it makes the mask wider, so your soldermask has some clearance around your pads to compensate for soldermask registration.
--- when you select a positive number for the CREAM layer, it makes the mask narrower, so you can compensate for stencil  registration, and also the spreading of the gooey, oozing, disgusting, solderpaste, by shrinking it a bit.
I have STOP set to 5mil-min/100%/5-mil-max (so it is always 5mil wider).
I have CREAM set to 2mil-min/100%/2-mil-max (so it is always 2mil narrower).

If you have tight holes blowing out, it might be helped by shrinking the cream layer.  However, even if the paste spreads across all of the pins in one giant rectangle, it will likely reflow quite nicely with no shorts.

As jesuscf pointed out, not all transparency film cuts the same.  He had good luck with Apollo write-on stuff (and bad luck with Canaon) -- I am using Apollo Inkjet stuff, but have tried 3M and Highland (also 3M) sheets, and they were all much the same for me (the Apollo probably a tad better).  I can't comment on current prices as all three boxes of this stuff has been sitting in the closet since the late 90s, when we actually gave presentations with overhead projectors :)
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on May 20, 2013, 06:26:13 am
In Peter's gerber2graphtec.py program is a line that sets the 1-inch border around the cut boundaries:
border = (1,1)

which you can change for a 2-inch border:
border = (2,2)

If it is also cutting out your board outline, you have a problem with your CAM processor's gerber generation (which should not include the Dimensions layer).
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: 2blmaster on May 20, 2013, 02:30:04 pm
Hi all,

I solved my recent problem with the Cameo (see ~2 pages backwards), not cutting every area of the stencil correctly.

I did so, by modifying the optimize.py of the gerber2graphtec tool.
The tool by default adds *plenty* of "knife-positioning" cuts just outside the area of the stencil. This takes a lot of time, and also needs to move the cutting mat back and forth again and again. Somehow (??) my cutter messed up with that, and made the cuts not straight...

I modified the python code to just do a single "training" cut per cutting angle that is used in the file, and then do all cuts with this angle in a row. This needs the mat to be moved completely only once per angle.

I don't know, whether Peter (author of gerber2graphtec) added this by purpose or not (already contacted him), but for me it works reasonably faster and better without the zounds of training cuts in between.

Please find my modified version attached - maybe it is useful for some of you.

Cheers
  Andre
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: timb on May 20, 2013, 07:42:08 pm
Awesome, thanks for that Andre! I was wondering why it was re-homing the blade after every cut.

I got gerber2graphtec working (Mac OS X 10.8) on the Silhouette SD last night by simply adding the USB PID to the file. It cut beautifully! I'll give it a test on my CraftRobo Pro later this afternoon, but I don't see any reason it won't work.

Now, the CraftRobo actually has a parallel port on it in addition to USB, so I'm wondering if I could hook a print server to it for wireless printing. It's a JetDirect, so that should be a RAW transport...
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 20, 2013, 07:54:15 pm
I havent been able to get a clean cut all the way through using blade setting of 1..

a setting of: 2 rips corners..and merges small pads together..

any ideas on a fix or work around at this point

Windows XP
stock set-up
using .bat file posted

Im going to try and shrink the cream layer tonight (alot) and try a blade setting of two again..

(since setting 1 doesnt make it all the way through)

@2blmaster -

anything this there (optimize.py file) or pressure or thickness settings?


Im stuck in between the IDLE LOOP approach and the GERBERTORAPHTEC approach..

1.) not the best 'cuts' as far as alignment/straight, but all the way through, and good spacing
other
2.) great 'looking' cuts, bad spacing (maybe fixable before export in Eagle).and didnt cut through the mylar all the way..  =(
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: timb on May 20, 2013, 08:56:13 pm
@xl97 Have you tried physically adjusting the blade? If you pop it out of the holder, you should be able to adjust blade depth by twisting the cap.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 20, 2013, 09:19:46 pm
yep! :)

if you are referring to the 'rachetting' blade..yes..

I have tried blade settings 1 & 2


Quote
"I havent been able to get a clean cut all the way through using blade setting of 1..

a setting of: 2 rips corners..and merges small pads together.."

or is there another way to adjust it, using this gerbertographtec Python approach?
as far as I know thats the only way to adjust the blade using this method..right?  :)

In Silhouette Studio I know there are settings for speed & thickness/pressure... but not using this .bat file/Python script approach. (or did I miss it?) :)


1 'looks nice' but just doesnt cut all the way through.

see if I can shrink things.. and try blade 2 again..

this is the same mylar that Pololu.com uses for their stencils..

Hoping to pick up some of the Apollo write-on transparencies tonight though.. (they are expensive though, so I hope this works out!)  lol
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: timb on May 20, 2013, 11:28:45 pm
Oh, yeah you can set blade pressure with gerber2graphtec using the --force command.

 "--force f[,f2[,f3]] use force f in device units; f2,f3 for multiple passes"

So, --force 5,10,15 will do one pass at pressure 5, another at 10 and another at 15.

Edit: The default is a first pass at 8 and a second pass at 30.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 20, 2013, 11:55:45 pm
hmm..

thanks for that!!

I'll have to poke around more I guess..

1.) Im on Windows.. (so Im never sure if this is applies to windows or only Linux/mac people...seems ot be edit to script..so shouldnt matter?)

2.) if you (dare) read back on my posts.. I could never get a command line to work from a CMD prompt....
I always got error(s), after error(s) (I believe this was because I originally thought the > needed to be replaced for / because of the Windows pathing/file system).. it was until I used the .bat file posted that I was even able to get past (most) errors..and actually send anything to the Cameo to be cut..

*I still am getting some GerbV error about an Entry Point..etc..etc  and Image_Magik++.dll dynamic library..etc..


Here is the .bat file I am using

Quote
@echo off
rem This is for printer named "Cameo" which must be named and shared in control panel.
rem This is for computer named "hacker"
echo.
echo This script will send gerber file to Cameo for cutting solder stencil.
echo Generates intermediate files .pdf, .pic, and .graphtec.txt
echo.
echo Set your Cameo blade to 1 and turn cutter on.
echo Load mylar sheet (landscape) at upper-left corner of mat.
echo.
set /p filename= Enter filename of gerber (eg: test.spt or board.gbr):
gerber2graphtecgerber2graphtec.py %filename% > %filename%.graphtec.txt
copy /B %filename%.graphtec.txt \hackerCameo


--force f[,f2[,f3]] use force f in device units; f2,f3 for multiple passes"
Im guessing I need to add this parameter to/after the gerbertographtect.py?

gerber2graphtecgerber2graphtec.py--force 33, 33  %filename% > %filename%.graphtec.txt

for two passes at full pressure? (for example)

also where did you find this --force info?

readme?  in some file> some documentation I havent seen perhaps?
edit: found 'em..

offset = (4,0.5)
border = (1,1)
matrix = (1,0,0,1)
speed = [2,2]
force = [8,30]
cut_mode = 0

what is CUT MODE?

thanks!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: timb on May 21, 2013, 02:00:07 am
Yes, put it after gerber2graphtec.py, but add a space. (gerber2graphtec.py --force 10,20)

You want the first pass to be lower pressure, which will give you a more accurate shape as it will score on the first pass and actually do the cut on the second.

cut_mode 0 will increase precision at the expense of speed and 1 will sacrafice precision for the sake of a faster cut.

Here's where some of the info is located: https://github.com/pmonta/gerber2graphtec (https://github.com/pmonta/gerber2graphtec)

The rest came from the command line:

timbmba:gerber2graphtec timb$ ./gerber2graphtec
usage: gerber2graphtec [options] paste.gbr >/dev/usb/lp0

options:
  --offset x,y        translate to device coordinates x,y (inches)
  --border bx,by      leave a border around the bounding box of the gerber file
  --matrix a,b,c,d    transform coordinates by [a b;c d]
  --speed s[,s2[,s3]] use speed s in device units; s2,s3 for multiple passes
  --force f[,f2[,f3]] use force f in device units; f2,f3 for multiple passes
  --cut_mode [0|1]    0 for highest accuracy (fine pitch), 1 for highest speed

defaults:
  --offset 4.0,0.5  suitable for letter size (portrait) on the Cameo, fed as "media" not "mat"
  --border 1,1      1-inch border in x and y around gerber bounding box
  --matrix 1,0,0,1  identity linear transform for scale and skew calibration
  --speed 2,2      use two passes, speed 2 in each pass
  --force 8,30      use force 8 for first pass, force 30 for second pass
  --cut_mode 0      highest accuracy
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: timb on May 21, 2013, 04:56:03 am
Interestingly enough, I'm having a hard time getting gerber2graphtec working with the Craft Robo Pro. It speaks GPGL just like the SD/Cameo, so that shouldn't be an issue. What's happening is it's feeding the page back out the front and asking to "Reload Media" after each stroke of the blade.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 22, 2013, 04:43:45 am
hey guys..

well thanks to everyone's help and all the links and reading..etc..  I have some of my own results to report/show..  :)

I wont go into the Windows settings/as thats all been posted here already..

but I have some (what Im referring to as) Idle Loop approach test results:

*this is using the ULP script for CADSoft Eagle to export a .dxf file from your CREAM layer.
*'did' cut all the way through on mylar setting, but same results as most people posted using this approach...(would probably work in a pinch)

(http://http://dmstudios.net/misc/cameo_tests/stencils/dxf_1.jpg)

(http://http://dmstudios.net/misc/cameo_tests/stencils/dxf_2.jpg)


Of course the big 'hub-bub is about the 'gerbertographtec' Python approach.. as it has/does much cleaner looking cuts

I tried different settings with blade on setting: 1

*never got a penetrating cut
*not usable

2-passes:
(http://http://dmstudios.net/misc/cameo_tests/stencils/2pass_noGood_1.jpg)

(http://http://dmstudios.net/misc/cameo_tests/stencils/2pass_noGood_2.jpg)


3-passes tried:  (same results, no penetrating cut)

(http://http://dmstudios.net/misc/cameo_tests/stencils/3pass_noGood_1.jpg)

(http://http://dmstudios.net/misc/cameo_tests/stencils/3pass_noGood_2.jpg)

as you can see though.. the cuts (outlines) are much crisper/straighter, the pics dont do it justice with the shadow and not being cut out all the way..



bumped up the blade setting to: 2

*but needed to SHRINK the CREAM layer as mentioned.. (this was really a key piece for me, and could only get it down to 4mil shrinkage)

*finally penetrating cuts!
*useable, clean..

*light force pressure on second pass:
(http://http://dmstudios.net/misc/cameo_tests/stencils/2pass_good_light.jpg)

*medium force pressure on second pass:
(http://http://dmstudios.net/misc/cameo_tests/stencils/2pass_good_medium.jpg)

(http://http://dmstudios.net/misc/cameo_tests/stencils/2pass_good_medium2.jpg)



these tests were performed on mylar that I cut off some Pololu stencils for testing..

I am currently testing Apollo Write-On transparencies as well.. (first test cut didnt penetrate either.. blade setting was: 2)

bumped up to: '3' and am re-cutting as now....9:45pm (central time)  :)


Apollo test 1 = fail (no penetration again)

I looked at blade.. (seemed to have point still... but noticed it was logged a bit with some vinyl...

YIKES!..  I cleaned it out.. and am re-running the Apollo test again...
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on May 22, 2013, 07:21:53 am
Hey Jerry:  Glad to see you are getting some good cuts now.  Not sure why blade depth of 1 did not penetrate for you, but maybe it is related to your mylar -- jesuscf had Canon mylar that was the same thickness as Apollo stuff, but was apparently a tougher plastic and did not cut well.

You can also use the sil-studio program to test material, even little scraps.  Load a bit of test material (anywhere on the mat really), fire up sil-studio, and in the send-to-cameo dialog there is a button for a test cut.  Use the blue cursor buttons on the cameo to move the knife to where you want to cut, and click test cut.  It cuts out a little square with a triangle inside -- you can move the head out of the way (or unload the mat) and dig out the square with an xacto, or peel of your samlple.  This is a good way to try different blade depths for different materials.

Are you sure you shrunk your cream layer?  I thought I had at first but got the same results -- then I used gcprevue, imported just the top-copper and solderpaste layers (which gcprevue assigns different colors).  You want the layer list on the left to have paste above copper (if not drag one layer above/below the other).  Zoom in and then you can see clearly whether your paste is shrunken (?), shrinked (?), ahh, reduced-in-size, as you expect.

So, is this little round board going in the nosecone of a rocket?

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on May 22, 2013, 07:23:50 am
Andre:

Thanks for your modified optimize.py -- I'll play with that a bit.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 22, 2013, 07:51:47 am
[quote author="teletypeguy"]Hey Jerry:  Glad to see you are getting some good cuts now.  Not sure why blade depth of 1 did not penetrate for you, but maybe it is related to your mylar -- jesuscf had Canon mylar that was the same thickness as Apollo stuff, but was apparently a tougher plastic and did not cut well.

You can also use the sil-studio program to test material, even little scraps.  Load a bit of test material (anywhere on the mat really), fire up sil-studio, and in the send-to-cameo dialog there is a button for a test cut.  Use the blue cursor buttons on the cameo to move the knife to where you want to cut, and click test cut.  It cuts out a little square with a triangle inside -- you can move the head out of the way (or unload the mat) and dig out the square with an xacto, or peel of your samlple.  This is a good way to try different blade depths for different materials.

Are you sure you shrunk your cream layer?  I thought I had at first but got the same results -- then I used gcprevue, imported just the top-copper and solderpaste layers (which gcprevue assigns different colors).  You want the layer list on the left to have paste above copper (if not drag one layer above/below the other).  Zoom in and then you can see clearly whether your paste is shrunken (?), shrinked (?), ahh, reduced-in-size, as you expect.

So, is this little round board going in the nosecone of a rocket?

gil[/quote]

I have been doing alot of testing..but not 'sure' when the blade got some vinyl in it..  (not sure how skewed my data/results are now?)
either way I swapped out with my replacement/new blade.. and gave it a test again..

on Apollo transparency sheets now (write-on type..I believe to be same brand/type tested with previously here)

after new blade.. blade setting 3 was 'too' much.. ripped/merged holes..etc

blade setting two 'did' result in full penetration..

2-pass
(new blade)
Blade setting: 2
Speed: 1, 1
Force: 8, 16

I got full through cuts..

Im not sure if I should drop to blade setting of 1, and try again?
or keep blade setting of two.. and try light 'force' values?

(if I do a single pass, do I "ONLY" have to have 1 value in the speed & force parameters? (I havent touched the others before, border or matrix..etc..etc)

this Apollo stuff seems much stronger.. and a bit more 'brittle' (at a certain point too.. if that makes sense..LOL)..

Im hoping its good for cuts and keeping shape..etc..


Good point with the Cameo test cuts!!!

Im new to the Cameo in general, as a whole.. I have only cut 3 vinyl pieces:

(http://http://dmstudios.net/misc/cameo_tests/cameo_testCuts-026_sized.jpg)


and the rest has been working playing with stencil stuff right out of the box!  :)

I wish the pcb was for a rocket something 'er other!  lol.. sounds like some fun!  woot!..

but alas.. not as adrenaline pumping at that.. :)

was the end result of a 'goal/project' I gave myself.. to retro fit a Spider-Man webshooter prop with some electronics..

the space was VERY (very) tight.. (height was a killer, since almost no components could populate the top of the pcb.. and the bottom has a microSD card!.. and the pcb isnt much bigger than that!

Was really just a result of a bunch of things I hadnt tried before
custom shape pcb in Eagle (also just square/rectangles)
Arduino +3.3v
Arduino running on internal 8MHz clock
just some things I had not ever tried.. :)

(http://http://dmstudios.net/misc/TASM_pcb/batch1_completed-004_sized.jpg)

(http://http://dmstudios.net/misc/TASM_pcb/TASM_primed_mockUp2-002.jpg)


quick vid:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unyKKA1JOnw (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unyKKA1JOnw)



I'd like to hear about the results/speed (and then of accuracy after speed) of the optimized.py script as well?

I 'do' believe I have shrunk the cream layer*..

I open up an original and a new one I did after 'shrinking' in Gerbv and sticked and turned on/off the layer.. you can see the original was is 'bigger'...

that being said though... I have NOT been able to shrink it past 4mil?

I type in 6 mil.. and run CAM JOB..  (iTeadStudio CAM file, because thats who I normally use)..

I know its a bit different than the one you are used to..but it how they have their fab house set-up..so I just roll with it!..
(this is where/how the dimensions 9pcb outline/shape0 layer is included as well for them)..

anyways.. I go to 6mill shrink on CREAM layer.. export.. open and check it against the 4mil.. same thing!..

not sure if running another/different/alternate CAM file will allow this? and theirs blocks/stops/limits it?

I'll try to figure out to do a single pass..

and do another test before trying another export CAM job..


thanks!  couldnt have gotten this far without you the help of others here..  thanks!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: timb on May 23, 2013, 01:32:03 am
Sweet! Glad you got it cutting dude. :)
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: timb on May 24, 2013, 07:08:00 am
I've been doing some research on blades and came across these (http://store-a5fbf.mybigcommerce.com/products/Graphtec-CB09U-60°.html) 60° angled blades that, according to a Scrapbooking forum, should give much more precise cuts with the media we're using for this.

I think that blade should be a drop-in replacement for the Cameo's blade holder, but if not you can grab a CB09U (blue cap) holder on eBay for a few bucks. I'll be ordering a few from Clean Cut Blade to see how they perform.

Edit: The [url] tag didn't like the degree sign in the link; I guess it's not UTF-8 compatible.

Edit 2: You could also pick up a CB15U (red cap) holder and these (http://store-a5fbf.mybigcommerce.com/products/Graphtec-CB15U-60°.html) if you want a stronger blade that will allow you to use more cutting force (to go through thicker material) without binding at the corners. Either way a 60° will give you much more precise cuts compared to the standard 45° blades.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 24, 2013, 02:43:33 pm
thanks..

yeah I have been thinking of getting one..

Im not familiar with red cap/blue cap?

is this the same thing you mean (the holder)?

this is what I am planning to buy..

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Graphtec-CB09-B ... 0632177982 (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Graphtec-CB09-Blade-Holder-3Pcs-Blades-Cutting-plotter-/330632177982)

same thing..yes?



at this point.. Im 'ok' with the results I have..

Id still like to:

1.) try the 60 degree blade to see about the tighter/smaller cuts.. (always better)

2.) like to try exporting my gerbers using another CAM job instead of the iTeadStudio one..

(Im trying to figure out why the 6mil shrink on the cream layer isnt any different than the 4mil shrink one I did and exported..

(when viewing them both in gerbv.. they are the same 'sizes'..  (although smaller than the OK without shrink version)

but it seems I am capped/limited at shrinking to 4mil?  (odd, but havent looked into too much yet)
Title: Editing with Inkscape before sending to silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on May 25, 2013, 01:33:33 am
Wow, there have been a lot of useful posts on this topic lately.  Too bad I missed them.  (By the way  teletypeguy , I use the same type of paint scaper as a solder paste spatula!)

Just want to mention that it is possible to 'edit' what is sent to the Silhouette Cameo cutter.  This is useful when some components are not populated or you wish to change some of the hole sizes in your stencil.  First, in addition to all the programs needed to run Gerber2Graphtec mentioned in previous messages, you'll need Inkscape.  Download it from here:

http://inkscape.org/ (http://inkscape.org/)

The idea is to create a pdf from a Gerber file, edit the pdf with Inkscape, convert the pdf to Graphtec using a modified python script, and finally send to the Silhouette Cameo.

1) To create a pdf file from a Gerber paste mask type in a command window:

"C:Program Files (x86)gerbv-2.6.0bingerbv" --export=pdf --output=myfile.pdf --border=0 myfile.gtp

Or if you prefer, create a 'createpdf.bat' file and add this single line:

"C:Program Files (x86)gerbv-2.6.0bingerbv" --export=pdf --output=%~dpn1.pdf  --border=0 %1

and type

createpdf myfile.gtp

A file named 'myfile.pdf' should be created.

2) Run Inkscape.  Open the newly created pdf file and modify as you wish.  Save it.

3) Copy gerber2graphtec.py to cutpdf.py.  You can do this from a command window also:

copy gerber2graphtec.py cutpdf.py

Then edit cutpdf.py and modify these four lines from:

temp_pdf = "_tmp_gerber.pdf"
temp_pic = "_tmp_gerber.pic"

os.system(""C:/Program Files (x86)/gerbv-2.6.0/bin/gerbv" --export=pdf --output=%s --border=0 %s" % (temp_pdf,input_filename))
os.system(""C:/Program Files/pstoedit/pstoedit" -q -f pic %s %s" % (temp_pdf,temp_pic))

to these two lines:

temp_pic = "_tmp_gerber.pic"

os.system(""C:/Program Files/pstoedit/pstoedit" -q -f pic %s %s" % (input_filename,temp_pic))

4) Run the newly created script.  It needs the pdf file you created/modified as input:

cutpdf myfile.pdf > result.txt

5) Send 'result.txt' to the Cameo as outlined in previous messages.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: timb on May 25, 2013, 01:48:14 am
[quote author="xl97"]thanks..

yeah I have been thinking of getting one..

Im not familiar with red cap/blue cap?

is this the same thing you mean (the holder)?

this is what I am planning to buy..

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Graphtec-CB09-B ... 0632177982 (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Graphtec-CB09-Blade-Holder-3Pcs-Blades-Cutting-plotter-/330632177982)

same thing..yes?



at this point.. Im 'ok' with the results I have..

Id still like to:

1.) try the 60 degree blade to see about the tighter/smaller cuts.. (always better)

2.) like to try exporting my gerbers using another CAM job instead of the iTeadStudio one..

(Im trying to figure out why the 6mil shrink on the cream layer isnt any different than the 4mil shrink one I did and exported..

(when viewing them both in gerbv.. they are the same 'sizes'..  (although smaller than the OK without shrink version)

but it seems I am capped/limited at shrinking to 4mil?  (odd, but havent looked into too much yet)[/quote]

Yes, the "blue cap" is the CB09U holder and a "red cap" is the CB15U holder. If you get that CB09U package, make sure it includes three springs (one for each blade). (Note: CB15U blades do not need springs.)

While the aluminum holders are nice, those cheap Chinese blades won't last very long, in fact some even come from the factory dull! I highly recommend shelling out a few extra dollars and buying from Clean Cut Blade; they're really fantastic blades, all made in-house and have always outlasted OEM blades for me (and my fiancé, who does a lot of scrapbooking).

The sharpness (and ability to stay sharp) is directly proportional to the preciseness of your cuts.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on May 27, 2013, 12:50:01 am
teletypeguy, is the suction cup in your vacuum pickup tool homemade?

(http://http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/download/file.php?id=10181&t=1)
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on May 27, 2013, 08:26:08 am
Hey Jesus:

The little eyedropper-like gizmo I got for manual pick up is many years old -- forgot where I got it, but it might have a name on it -- I'll look when I get in on Tuesday.  Kinda similar to this very-expensive tool (almost two dollars!) on ebay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/190776608479 (http://www.ebay.com/itm/190776608479)
or, an even-more-expensive variant:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/330566776703 (http://www.ebay.com/itm/330566776703)

Here is another tool I like a lot:
http://www.circuitspecialists.com/csi825a.html (http://www.circuitspecialists.com/csi825a.html)
It is a hot-air rework station ($109) that has a hot-air gun and a few nozzles, and also includes a vacuum pickup wand with a few tips.  I have not used the vacuum pickup part, as my little eyedropper pickup works quite well.  The hot-air section is great for both removing chips and re-flowing a replacement chip.  It comes with some wire doo-hickey to fit under the part when you are trying to remove it, but that didn't really fit so I don't use it.

For chip removal, I just put the blade of an xacto under the chip, apply a SMALL amount of torque for lifting force, and start heating the snot out of the chip (I set the air to about 320C for leaded solder and 370C for lead-free).  It only takes a minute or so before the chip pops off the board.  If you apply too much lifting force, you will either crack and split the chip, or lift pads, or both (and then you will call yourself an f-ing asshole, and be really pissed that you ruined a board), so just be gentle and wait for the chip to release nicely.  Practice on scrap boards.  Clean the pads with solderwick when the chip is off.  Get some good solderwick from mouser or digikey (I got some stuff from dx.com that was complete crap and I threw it away).

For chip replacement, I made some solderpaste chip stencils on the cameo out of that adhesive vinyl that I used for chassis overlays -- first results were poor, as I just cut the chip patterns as I would for an original mylar stencil.  The little chads got stuck everywhere and the mask was unusable.  So next, before I peeled the cut stencil from the backing, I used an xacto to cut a rectangle out for the array of pads on each side of the chip.  Sheesh, I can't count the number of times a day I use an xacto knife -- what a handy tool.  With this "rectangular-pin-array" mask, I spread paste over this larger area which included paste between pins.  I got a plastic putty knife from home depot and cut it with scissors to make a nice little squeegee for just fitting the chip pins.  I was able to use the hot-air tool to reflow it and it worked pretty well, except for some shorts between pins (which I removed with solder wick). 

For my next chip replacement time, I plan to make some special rework stencils that provide a rectangular area over the pins, but only on the OUTER-HALF rectangular area of the pins -- this will reduce the total amount of paste and it will hopefully reflow without shorts.  Will keep you all advised.  I think I will still use that adhesive vinyl -- even though it is a bit "stretchy," I think that adhesive is important for keeping the solderpaste contained well.  The stretchy adhesive vinyl is also good for fitting into a chip area that has adjacent components sticking up (a flat mylar stencil would never work).

So why did I have to replace an smt chip recently?  Well, sometimes I have a need to rebuild a board with a dead micro or something, but here is a recent scenario you do not want to repeat:  I had a new proto, freshly-built, fully-tested, a code-coming-to-life sort of board sitting on my bench.  My new golden board -- you know, one of those special boards that seems to talk to you, giving you little insights along the way as you tweak code and such, helping you get it running.  One of those magical, special first boards.  Or maybe that's just me, but anyway, for me, a scenario not unlike many, many over that last thirty years.  And then I did a stupid, stupid thing:  I forgot that I had the board powered-up on the bench as I went to solder a cable onto an lcd module or something -- the solder fell across the board, hitting headers and other stuff.  There was an audible arcing noise -- that's never a good thing.  And there was that smell of burning electronic-something -- that's never a good thing either.  No, not something as simple as a backwards electrolytic cap that blew its load;  this was more insidious.  I realized that I had let my solder fall across the board, probably connecting 12V, 5V, 3.3V and various logic-level signals in an orgy of gate-oxide-vaporizing, protective-diode-frying, silicon-melting destruction, the likes of which I had not seen in many years.  It was nasty, but the survivors, who should get honorable mention, were an Intersil HIN202, a TI 74LV08A, and an Atmel AT25256 -- on the destroyed side were an AT45DB45081 flash, a PIC micro, a 25AA mac/eeprom, a 23xx sram, an ENC28J60 ethernet chip, and an NXP 74HC04.  It was just sad.  But with a little bit of hot air, an xacto knife, and some good solderwick, my board came back to life.

ps:  when I got the hot-air tool, I also picked up these extra nozzles, all of which have proven useful:
A1125 - for QFP-44 etc (10mm x 10mm)
A1131 - for SOIC/SOP (4.4mm x 10mm)
A1132 - for SOIC/SOP (5.6mm x 13 mm)
A1260 - for SOIC/SOP (8.6mm x 18mm)

FWIW,

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on May 27, 2013, 08:00:40 pm
Hi Gil (aka teletypeguy),

I asked about the suction cup because it looks as it is made with silicone.  I built my pickup tool with an aquarium air pump, a solenoid air valve, a pedal switch, an air needle (the kind used to inflate toys with hand pumps), and a Pilot Fineliner pen.  It turns out that the body of the Pilot Fineliner pen fits perfectly both the air needle and the air line from the pump.  I bought a hand pickup tool (just for the suction cups) from ebay but it hasn't arrived yet, so I made a few suction cups using oogoo (http://http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Your-Own-Sugru-Substitute/), a mix of type 1 silicone and corn starch.  They work extremely well, but they don't look that good:

[attachment=0]

I you need to remove lots of ICs from a PCB, the best option is to place the whole thing in your griddle, wait for it to reflow, and then remove the ICs.  Beware, some suction cups may not be able to take the heat, for example if they are made with oogoo! If you want to remove everything, just pick the whole PCB with pliers and tap it against the table!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on May 27, 2013, 11:34:48 pm
[quote author="2blmaster"]Hi all,

I solved my recent problem with the Cameo (see ~2 pages backwards), not cutting every area of the stencil correctly.

I did so, by modifying the optimize.py of the gerber2graphtec tool.
The tool by default adds *plenty* of "knife-positioning" cuts just outside the area of the stencil. This takes a lot of time, and also needs to move the cutting mat back and forth again and again. Somehow (??) my cutter messed up with that, and made the cuts not straight...

I modified the python code to just do a single "training" cut per cutting angle that is used in the file, and then do all cuts with this angle in a row. This needs the mat to be moved completely only once per angle.

I don't know, whether Peter (author of gerber2graphtec) added this by purpose or not (already contacted him), but for me it works reasonably faster and better without the zounds of training cuts in between.

Please find my modified version attached - maybe it is useful for some of you.

Cheers
  Andre[/quote]

I just cut a test stencil using the modified version of "optimize.py" posted by Andre.  The results are almost as good as with the original script file (except for very minor distortions).  The advantage of the new script is how fast it produces a stencil.  It took only 25 minutes compared to 1 hours 40 minutes before!  Thanks Andre, I'll be using the modified script from now on.

(By the way Andre, check that the blue lever inside your Cameo is all the way up.  It is the only thing I could think of it may have caused your original problem.)

Jesus
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 28, 2013, 02:21:30 am
I found that I too was getting inconsistent cuts using the original G2G script..

it was only certain areas... or certain 'angles/cuts' that were off though..

(not so bad the stencil wasnt usable though..to be clear)

after many (many) tests in the same area..

I attributed it to two factors:

1.) not a clean blade (make sure you unscrew the white cap and clean whatever is in there, out)..
2.) sticky/tacky in that area..

Is the OFF-SET parameter the correct way to place where the cut is made/placed?

I no longer want it started in the top/middle area...

the place of the mat is getting worn-out.

:)

I'll try the new optimized script soon!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: reserve on May 29, 2013, 03:07:16 pm
Hi folks,

this topic is a great source for plotting SMT stencils. I just received my Silhouette Cameo today. Now i installed all the necessary stuff to run g2g on a Windows 7 machine. It seems that it´s working - but actually I´m out of transparency stock and can´t test it properly...
Is there an easy way to run the test-scripts from a Windows machine? If it is possible, whats the commando line for this?

Thank you very much, I will post my results soon.

Greetings from Germany :)
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on May 29, 2013, 06:13:06 pm
Hi reserve:

If you go back to page 1 of this thread, and scroll down to the Apr-3 post by jesuscf, the command lines to type are there -- that post of his has all the details.  Open a command window, cd to the proper directory, and type in the commands (if you have everything named the same as he did). 

Jesus had his files all in one place, but I put g2g in a subfolder, shortened the name, and wrote a little batch file so I could just double-click it and type in the filename of the gerber (plus remind myself to set blade depth etc).

You can still test cut a file with a bit of cardstock or file-folder paper.  Might want blade depth of 2.  Make a REALLY SMALL test gerber with just a few parts.

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: reserve on May 29, 2013, 06:38:26 pm
Hey gil,

thank you for your reply, i finally got some transparency´s and already tested it :). The G2G is really working with FANTASTIC results... I used the "improved" optimize.py file from this thread here.

Here are some pics from the first test:

Tobias
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on May 29, 2013, 10:22:49 pm
[quote author="reserve"]Hey gil,

thank you for your reply, i finally got some transparency´s and already tested it :). The G2G is really working with FANTASTIC results... I used the "improved" optimize.py file from this thread here.

Here are some pics from the first test:

Tobias[/quote]

Tobias, your stencil cuts have excellent corners.  What kind of transparency (brand/type) are you using?

Jesus
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 29, 2013, 10:50:21 pm
wow those DO look great!..

I dont think my results have been that good even!..

I have used mylar and Apollo transparencies..


I have gotten mixed results from the stock/default G2G script (havent tried the optimized one yet)

some of the holes/cuts will be GREAT..  and then some will have one side/cut skewed or bowed or angled..

maybe the optimized fixes that..and I need to re-test?
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: reserve on May 29, 2013, 11:23:23 pm
Hi there,

I used the following settings:

offset = (4,0.5)   #offset x,y translate to device coordinates x,y (inches)
border = (1.5,1.5)   #border bx,by leave a border around the bounding box of the gerber file
matrix = (1,0,0,1)   #matrix a,b,c,d transform coordinates by [a b;c d]
speed = [2,2]      #speed s[,s2[,s3]] use speed s in device units; s2,s3 for multiple passes
force = [8,30]      #force f[,f2[,f3]] use force f in device units; f2,f3 for multiple passes
cut_mode = 0      #[0|1] 0 for highest accuracy (fine pitch), 1 for highest speed

(my Cameo is cutting 4 Times with this config, is that correct?)

* a brand new Silhouette Cameo
* driver x64 from CD
* a brand new cutting mat from Silhouette Cameo retail package
* blade setting: 1
* Avery 2502 InkJet Transparencies (i put the rough side downwards, so the cutter cuts the glossy side of the transparency)
* i used a credit card to fix the transparency on the cutting mat (be careful, do this with sensitivity)


I also got a 100pcs. package of 3M PP2500 transparencies, i will test them tomorrow.

Tobias
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 29, 2013, 11:32:12 pm
I 'believe' your setting are only set up to cut twice.. (not 4 times)..  (but I could be wrong).

seems like you only set 2 speed settings.. and 2 force settings (for two passes)

I have to have my blade on setting 2 (physically).. I have never gotten blade setting on 1 to work on mylar or the Apollo sheets!


I believe I have done same as you as well.

* a brand new Silhouette Cameo
* driver x86 from CD
* a brand new cutting mat from Silhouette Cameo retail package
* blade setting: 2
* Apollo wrtie-on transparenceis
* used a credit card to smooth sheet on sticky mat.

(G2G settings I used are attached to each image results I posted)

yours look really (really) good..

worth a shot to try those Avery style ones now..lol
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on May 29, 2013, 11:46:54 pm
[quote author="teletypeguy"]Hi reserve:
Jesus had his files all in one place, but I put g2g in a subfolder, shortened the name, and wrote a little batch file so I could just double-click it and type in the filename of the gerber (plus remind myself to set blade depth etc).
gil[/quote]

Python supports open/save file pop-up windows!  I added that functionality to the attached modified version of gerber2graphtec.py.  I wonder if dialog boxes can be also added for the different options?

[attachment=0]

Jesus
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on May 30, 2013, 12:04:53 am
that would be cool!..

I am using the /bat file posted here for my file name prompt....

(I edit the how many passes, position, speed & force settings in the .py script itself though)

anything to help beginners like myself get up and running fatser!  :)
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: reserve on May 30, 2013, 12:43:56 pm
Hey guys,

actually i´m trying out the3M PP2500 transparencies, they are definitivly much stronger to cut than the Avery 2502 (also 100µ) and the cuttings don't look that good. I need to set the blade to 2.

[quote author="xl97"]I 'believe' your setting are only set up to cut twice.. (not 4 times)..  (but I could be wrong).
seems like you only set 2 speed settings.. and 2 force settings (for two passes)[/quote]

thats correct, my cutter is cutting 4 times (within 2 passes, every pass with 2 cutings): 1st with force 8, then 30, then again with 8 and again with 30

In the attachement are my results using the 3M PP2500 (should be the equal to the 3M PP2200).

Tobias

Ps.: I would like to say thank you to all of you for your tips and hints, thats really a great thing to do Stencils so easy...
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: 2blmaster on May 30, 2013, 01:08:17 pm
Hi again,

I use the same transparencies as Tobias (I think since they are the "default" ones to obtain in Germany *g*), and get equal high quality results, using the default gerber2graphtec options (two passes, speed 2 each, force 8 and 30) and blade option "2", with my modified optimize.py.

Tobias - would you mind trying to reproduce the faulty behaviour I obtained with the original optimize.py (which was my reason to look into it closer)? See the attached Photo in this post: viewtopic.php?f=68&t=5341&start=15#p52227 (http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=68&t=5341&start=15#p52227)

One word to clarify the amount of cuts for each pass: Each Gerber file object is converted to a rectangle in the scripts, using just the four first corner points of the object. This is trivial/same for rectangles, but more complex objects are also possible - see the example.1gbr file, that comes with the g2g package, the pads have more points there. Further point are in this case skipped.
Now each stroke of the rectangel (four) is cut twice, once from each side, to ensure a "punch through"-point of the blade at each side.
Doing so, each rectangle is cut with eight cuts, from four different angles.

Cheers
  Andre
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: reserve on May 30, 2013, 01:25:31 pm
Hey Andre,

of course, I can do this. Please send me the Gerber-File you used.

Tobias
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: 2blmaster on May 30, 2013, 03:07:56 pm
Hi Tobias,

thanks for testing. This is the gerber file, default settings, default offset, etc.
(needed to add .txt for upload here)

Cheers
  Andre
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on May 31, 2013, 05:49:26 am
Ok, here it is a simple GUI front-end for Gerber2Graphtec.  You still have to follow the instructions to install the supporting programs as outlined earlier in this thread.  Then copy g2g_gui.py in the same folder where Gerber2Graphtec.py is installed.  Now instead of running gerber2graphtec.py from the command line, you can just double click g2g_gui.py and fill-in the boxes:

[attachment=0]

Select a Gerber solder mask file, select an output file, make sure the paths for gerbv and pstoedit and the shared name of your Silhouette cutter are correct.  Change the options as desired and click 'Create Graphtec File'.  To send the newly created file to the cutter click 'Send Graphtec File to Silhouette Cutter' and hopefully you'll end with a good stencil.

Edited:  Get the latest g2g_gui.py from here:

http://http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=68&t=5341&start=90#p52539

Jesus
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on May 31, 2013, 06:44:35 am
Hey Jesus:

Wow, a gui front end -- I can't test it yet, as the cameo is at the office, but that's frickin-awesome.  Thanks!

It seems to only want to open .txt files, but it's easy enough for me to change xyz.spt to xyz.spt.txt.

And thanks to lots of other folks for the optimize stuff, tests of different materials and so on.  We finally figured this machine out pretty well.  Sheesh, this thread got a lot bigger than I expected.  A lot of folks are buying machines and cutting stencils now!  We should all be getting commissions from the cameo folks -- and sending them to Peter!

One note on cut quality:  while it is, of course, important to get reasonably-square, straight clean cuts, and even more important to get very-accurate positioning over the entire board area, I really don't feel the need to obsess over perfectly-clean cut corners and stuff, because, quite frankly, the paste will smear and ooze anyway, and even short-out pads -- but the good thing is that during reflow the solder sucks up nicely onto the pads and only leaves the occasional short where the paste was heavy.

Anyway, a big thanks to everyone for all your contributions.

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on May 31, 2013, 07:10:40 am
[quote author="teletypeguy"]Hey Jesus:

Wow, a gui front end -- I can't test it yet, as the cameo is at the office, but that's frickin-awesome.  Thanks!

It seems to only want to open .txt files, but it's easy enough for me to change xyz.spt to xyz.spt.txt.

gil[/quote]

No problem.  After just a few weeks I already forgot how to do the whole thing with gerber2graphtec and I had to check my own instructions in this thread.  Hopefully this simple GUI will help with that in the future.  I used the .txt extension for consistency with earlier posts.  You can use any default extension(s) you want by changing line 185 in g2g_gui.py.

Jesus
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on June 01, 2013, 06:47:12 am
I just tried the GUI.. and the new OPTIMIZED.py script (just re-placed the original one correct?)  (I made back-up of original as well just to be safe) ;)

results were pretty good/comparable to the originals (maybe a bit better in some areas)

the time seemed faster as well.. but I left and came back so cant be certain as to HOW much faster...

couple things..

the gerber file you choose HAS to have the .g extension?  not that I mind.. just curious.. I am having to go back and change the extension so the GUI will use the gerber I choose/pick..


also.. I am seeing this in the command window:  (Im on Windows XP)

Problem during opening C:Program Filespstoeditdrvmagick.dll:The specified pro
cedure could not be found.

Problem during opening of pstoedit driver plugin: C:Program Filespstoeditdrvm
agick.dll. This is no problem as long the driver in this library is not needed.
Possibly you need to install further libraries and/or extend the LD_LIBRARY_PATH
 (*nix) or PATH (Windows) environment variables.
        1 file(s) copied.

I checked the directory.. that .dll is 100% 'there' in the same path it says...

any ideas?

here is my GUI settings by the way (again Im on Windows XP.. notice the no (x86) in the pathing..
(http://http://www.dmstudios.net/misc/screenie_gui.jpg)

Im VERY stoked that 'all' of this has turned out so well....

this will save me TONS of time and money is prototyping!!


thanks again to everyones hard work.. (and sharing it!)




update:

I just realized it didnt even cut the correct gerber file I picked in the GUI?  it picked an OLDER one I had done before?

I also am noticing.. I dont see a new .pdf file being created ..  hmmm......


*I think I found the problem..  the name had a SPACE in it..  (grabbed a different random file for testing..didnt notice the space in name)

fixed that and now things are as normal.. waiting to see the final results for GUI and new optimized.py on the new stencil.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on June 01, 2013, 08:37:43 am
[quote author="xl97"]
the gerber file you choose HAS to have the .g extension?  not that I mind.. just curious.. I am having to go back and change the extension so the GUI will use the gerber I choose/pick..
[/quote]

Not really.  Both the Gerber file and the output file can have any extension.  You can always show all the files in the open file dialog box by typing "*.*" in the "File name:" field and pressing the Enter key.  If you prefer you can change lines 180 and 185 or g2g_gui.py to allow for any extensions you would like.  For example, you can change line 180 to:

input_filename=tkFileDialog.askopenfilename(title='Select paste mask Gerber file', filetypes=[('Gerber File', '*.g*'),("All files", "*.*")] )

In Altium and Traxmaker the Gerber file extensions start with 'g'.  What program are you using?  What is the default extension for the paste mask?

[quote author="xl97"]
also.. I am seeing this in the command window:  (Im on Windows XP)

Problem during opening C:Program Filespstoeditdrvmagick.dll:The specified procedure could not be found.
[/quote]

Sorry, I don't have an XP computer available now.  Something you can try is adding C:Program Filespstoedit to the path.  Instructions are all over the net.  For example:

http://http://geekswithblogs.net/renso/archive/2009/10/21/how-to-set-the-windows-path-in-windows-7.aspx

[quote author="xl97"]
here is my GUI settings by the way (again Im on Windows XP.. notice the no (x86) in the pathing..
[/quote]

To make sure you are cutting the right file, provide a full path for the output: Instead of just 'result.txt' use 'C:/gerber-files-to-cut/result.txt'.

[quote author="xl97"]
this will save me TONS of time and money is prototyping!!
[/quote]

:)  I think the stencils are also adequate for small production runs.  Even it the stencil breaks, they are so cheap and fast to cut...  I have applied solder paste to four PCBs with the same stencil using a metal spatula.  After cleaning the stencil with isopropyl alcohol, it still looks like new.

[quote author="xl97"]
I also am noticing.. I dont see a new .pdf file being created ..  hmmm......
[/quote]

The temporary files used by gerber2graphtec  (_tmp_gerber.pdf and _tmp_gerber.pic) are created in the current active folder.  For g2g_gui.py they should be in the folder where the script is installed.

Jesus
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: ivin on June 01, 2013, 12:26:22 pm
hi,

i've been following this for a couple days, and boy do i wish i understood the half of it, because it would be super awesome to know.

i am wanting to make a super detailed stencil with my machine altho not for the same purposes. I build my stencils in Adobe Illustrator so my issue is that i can't export to a Gerber file .GBR

But I can export my file to several different formats including:
.EPS
.DXF
.PLT
.GSD
.HPG
.RTL
.to name a few

Is there some way i could use one of these formats to run in that program on my mac?
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on June 01, 2013, 05:50:22 pm
@jesuscf-

thanks.. I'll try to check out that link and see what the problem is..

I did find out (last part of my previous post), that I cold NOT have a space int he file name (using a random gerber file "I" didnt create or name as a test).. found out fixing the space also fixed the error of not getting a.pdf created..etc..


Also.. I use Eagle as mypcb design software..  however.. it 'really' depends on the CAM job you use to export/create your gerber files..

usually people use the CAM job file that comes from the pcb fab house they plan on using..

this names the gerber files to whatewver THEY use or are looking for (as far as the naming convention)..

I use the CAM job file from iTeadStudios..

not really a 'problem'.. just an odd break in workflow when I realize I need to go back and change the extension is all :)


quick fix list for me:

1.) Change g2g_gui.py script to allow any gerber file extension:

*change lines 180 and 185 or g2g_gui.py to allow for any extensions you would like. For example, you can change line 180 to:
Quote
input_filename=tkFileDialog.askopenfilename(title='Select paste mask Gerber file', filetypes=[('Gerber File', '*.g*'),("All files", "*.*")] )

2.) Another attempt at fixing the .dll PATH error?

*try is adding C:Program Filespstoedit to the path
Quote
http://geekswithblogs.net/renso/archive/2009/10/21/how-to-set-the-windows-path-in-windows-7.aspx





@ivin -

Im not sure about you being able to use the G2G python script based approach as I am not sure about it handling/reading any sort of output from Adobe Illustrator..

can you try to re-draw the stencil in Eagle?  and then use either of the methods explored in this thread?
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on June 01, 2013, 06:11:53 pm
[quote author="xl97"]
I did find out (last part of my previous post), that I cold NOT have a space int he file name (using a random gerber file "I" didnt create or name as a test).. found out fixing the space also fixed the error of not getting a.pdf created..etc..
[/quote]

Oops!  I forgot to add some double quotes here and there to account for filenames with spaces.  Here is the fixed script.

Edited: made some changes to g2g_gui.py so it runs also on Windows XP.

[attachment=0]
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on June 01, 2013, 06:22:24 pm
great!..

while "I" personally never used spaces (camel syntax of underscores)..  this will be a great 'catch-all'  :)

still havent looked into fixing that path error yet..  LOL  :(



update:

tried add the path to the environmental variables..


I followed the steps in the link provided (although its for Win 7)


added this line to the end of all there stuff that was already there:

;C:Program Filespstoeditdrvmagick.dll




didnt work.. still getting this message/error in the CMD prompt window:


'C:Program' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operable program or batch file.
Problem during opening C:Program Filespstoeditdrvmagick.dll:The specified pro
cedure could not be found.

Problem during opening of pstoedit driver plugin: C:Program Filespstoeditdrvm
agick.dll. This is no problem as long the driver in this library is not needed.
Possibly you need to install further libraries and/or extend the LD_LIBRARY_PATH
 (*nix) or PATH (Windows) environment variables.
        1 file(s) copied.


now the file still cuts....?  and seems to be ok..  so Im not sure what is going on here?

thanks!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on June 01, 2013, 08:36:40 pm
[quote author="xl97"]
'C:Program' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operable program or batch file.
Problem during opening C:Program Filespstoeditdrvmagick.dll:The specified pro
cedure could not be found.
[/quote]

After installing Windows XP in VirtualBox I was able to test the script.  I did encounter the "'C:Program' is not recognized" error.  For some reason os.system() in python works differently in XP and 7 if called from a GUI.  I had to create an intermediate batch file first (_tmp_gerber.bat) with the gerbv and pstoedit commands, and then run the batch file.  I updated the script in the previous post with the required changes.  I didn't encounter the second problem but I got a MSVCR100.dll not found error.  After installing the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package (X86) the MSVCR100.dll not found error was resolved.

Also, added double quotes to all files and fixed a bug while selecting the output file.

Jesus
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on June 01, 2013, 09:02:17 pm
hmm..

Im not sure what is going on over here now.. LOL

somehow.. Im back to a non-working platform here..

I can NOT seem to generate a new .pdf file?  never updates.. and is still the OLD one from before..

going to update the new-new GUI.py file..

updating the .gui file seems to allow me to make .pdf's again.. (yeah)

but now I get this in the command window:

Quote
C:gerber-files-to-cutgerber2graphtec>"C:Program Filesgerbv-2.6.0bing
xe" --export=pdf --output=C:gerber-files-to-cutgerber2graphtec_tmp_gerb
 --border=0 "C:gerber-files-to-cutgerber2graphtecRepulsor-bottom_stenci
gbr"

C:gerber-files-to-cutgerber2graphtec>"C:Program Filespstoeditpstoedit
-q -f pic "C:gerber-files-to-cutgerber2graphtec_tmp_gerber.pdf" "C:ger
les-to-cutgerber2graphtec_tmp_gerber.pic"
Problem during opening C:Program Filespstoeditdrvmagick.dll:The specifi
cedure could not be found.

Problem during opening of pstoedit driver plugin: C:Program Filespstoedi
agick.dll. This is no problem as long the driver in this library is not ne
Possibly you need to install further libraries and/or extend the LD_LIBRAR
 (*nix) or PATH (Windows) environment variables.


I do see the new .bat file as well:

_tmp_gerber.bat


I 'have' added the path:

;C:Program Filespstoeditdrvmagick.dll  to the environment variables panel too..

at this point.. Im lost as to how to fix this error.. :)  I didnt even get to the point of the MSVCR100.dll error message yet..
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on June 01, 2013, 09:23:08 pm
[quote author="xl97"]hmm..

;C:Program Filespstoeditdrvmagick.dll  to the environment variables panel too..

at this point.. Im lost as to how to fix this error.. :)  I didnt even get to the point of the MSVCR100.dll error message yet..
[/quote]

";C:Program Filespstoeditdrvmagick.dll"  is incorrect.  It should be only ";C:Program Filespstoedit".
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on June 01, 2013, 09:46:45 pm
correct it.. still same results..

do I need to reboot the machine perhaps?  (I havent been)
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on June 01, 2013, 10:28:42 pm
[quote author="xl97"]correct it.. still same results..

do I need to reboot the machine perhaps?  (I havent been)[/quote]

Wait a minute!  My fresh installation of pstoedit on Windows XP has no drvmagick.dll:

Code: [Select]
 Directory of C:Program Filespstoedit

06/01/2013  10:05 AM    <DIR>          .
06/01/2013  10:05 AM    <DIR>          ..
04/28/2013  08:27 PM          640,512 drvlplot.dll
04/28/2013  08:27 PM          294,400 drvswf.dll
12/03/2004  10:55 PM              315 examplefigmap.fmp
08/13/2001  07:44 PM          211,231 latex2e.fmp
08/13/2001  07:44 PM          296,447 mpost.fmp
04/28/2013  08:27 PM          495,104 pstoedit.dll
04/28/2013  08:27 PM            8,192 pstoedit.exe
04/28/2013  08:18 PM            78,129 pstoedit.htm
08/10/2009  04:37 PM            3,772 readme.wri
04/28/2013  08:27 PM          462,848 stddrivers.dll
11/01/2001  10:10 PM            1,096 svg.fmp
06/01/2013  10:05 AM            1,709 unins000.dat
06/01/2013  10:05 AM          716,126 unins000.exe
04/28/2013  03:43 PM              143 unix.fmp
08/13/2001  07:44 PM              615 wemf.fmp
04/28/2013  03:43 PM              146 windows.fmp
              16 File(s)      3,210,785 bytes
              2 Dir(s)  1,336,655,872 bytes free

C:Program Filespstoedit>

Some forums suggest removing that dll to get rid of the error.

Jesus
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: ivin on June 02, 2013, 09:25:21 am
Quote
can you try to re-draw the stencil in Eagle? and then use either of the methods explored in this thread?

I managed to load my .DXF file into Eagle and go from there.

I was hoping that I would be able to use that wonderful GUI on the mac. but I’m not sure if its developed more for the PC. when i go to select a file it doesn’t give me the option to select the .GBR. I've tried this:

Quote
input_filename=tkFileDialog.askopenfilename(title='Select paste mask Gerber file', filetypes=[('Gerber File', '*.g*'),("All files", "*.*")] )

Its not changing my results, But I’m not sure if its relevent to the mac as i know nearly nothing about script.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: ivin on June 02, 2013, 11:56:31 am
ok i've got it figured somehow

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5542 ... ot-working (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/5542338/mac-os-x-file-browser-using-tkfiledialog-not-working)

just have to delete the:

, filetypes=[('Gerber File', '*.g*'),("All files", "*.*")]

of corse i figure that out and then run into the next issue. where im on a mac and Cant run gerbv.exe or pstoedit.exe.

Im trying to figure out whats happening in this program. It's taking a Gerber file, converting it to a .PDF with gerbv then to a PIC with pstoedit, and run thru the rest of the code?

i guess i just dont really know whats happening in here.. Any possibility of a simplified breakdown of the flow of information?
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on June 02, 2013, 04:11:11 pm
from what I understand.. you have the process correct...

it also created a .txt file that outputs all the coords the cutter needs to be at/go to for the stencils..

I believe the TXT data is what is sent to the CAMEO..
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on June 02, 2013, 04:26:10 pm
[quote author="jesuscf"][quote author="xl97"]correct it.. still same results..

do I need to reboot the machine perhaps?  (I havent been)[/quote]

Wait a minute!  My fresh installation of pstoedit on Windows XP has no drvmagick.dll:

Code: [Select]
 Directory of C:Program Filespstoedit

06/01/2013  10:05 AM    <DIR>          .
06/01/2013  10:05 AM    <DIR>          ..
04/28/2013  08:27 PM          640,512 drvlplot.dll
04/28/2013  08:27 PM          294,400 drvswf.dll
12/03/2004  10:55 PM              315 examplefigmap.fmp
08/13/2001  07:44 PM          211,231 latex2e.fmp
08/13/2001  07:44 PM          296,447 mpost.fmp
04/28/2013  08:27 PM          495,104 pstoedit.dll
04/28/2013  08:27 PM            8,192 pstoedit.exe
04/28/2013  08:18 PM            78,129 pstoedit.htm
08/10/2009  04:37 PM            3,772 readme.wri
04/28/2013  08:27 PM          462,848 stddrivers.dll
11/01/2001  10:10 PM            1,096 svg.fmp
06/01/2013  10:05 AM            1,709 unins000.dat
06/01/2013  10:05 AM          716,126 unins000.exe
04/28/2013  03:43 PM              143 unix.fmp
08/13/2001  07:44 PM              615 wemf.fmp
04/28/2013  03:43 PM              146 windows.fmp
              16 File(s)      3,210,785 bytes
              2 Dir(s)  1,336,655,872 bytes free

C:Program Filespstoedit>

Some forums suggest removing that dll to get rid of the error.

Jesus[/quote]



BINGO!..

that was it!

just remove it...  (which I had done previously.. in the beginning ofmy troubleshooting here.. but it had gotten aded back over the course of testing things..


I do NOT get that error any longer..

thanks  :)
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: ivin on June 03, 2013, 12:37:15 pm
Im just going to hang out here and cross my fingers that the Gui and setup process get suport for mac and linux. :)
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: reserve on June 04, 2013, 07:34:07 am
[quote author="2blmaster"]Hi Tobias,

thanks for testing. This is the gerber file, default settings, default offset, etc.
(needed to add .txt for upload here)

Cheers
  Andre[/quote]

Hey Andre,
sorry for the late reply, I tested it already on saturday but i had no time to reply here...
Look at the attachment, there is the result with the default optimize.py file (that really took a looooooooong time to cut).

the lower left corner is a bit missaligned, and some pitchs are broken. Similar to your result, that is not really a good stencil.
With your improved optimize.py file, I got a very good and clear result in less time (see attachment)!

Tobi
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on June 04, 2013, 08:25:47 am
[quote author="ivin"]Im just going to hang out here and cross my fingers that the Gui and setup process get suport for mac and linux. :)[/quote]

Please give this script a try on Linux (it should work also on W7 and WXP).  I tested it on Debian with XFCE.  I had to install python-tk (sudo apt-get install python-tk) in order to run it.  Also you have to chmod it (chmod a+x g2g_gui.py, or using XFCE file properties thing) before running.  Of course you need gerbv and pstoedit installed in your system as the script uses these programs.

Jesus
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: 2blmaster on June 04, 2013, 10:09:39 am
[quote author="reserve"]Look at the attachment, there is the result with the default optimize.py file[/quote]

Hi Tobi,

thanks for testing and your time!
Interesting - so my Cameo is not different from yours...
Interesting that no one else encountered this kind of difficulties with the default script. I'm also not sure why this happens - maybe the cutter gets its move cut commands too close after the move commands, so the head still has some "speed left", and does some kind of mechanical oscillation, after it moved that far from the "training area" outside the stencil? This is te only explanation I can think of...

Good to know, that it works with the modified version :)

Cheers
  Andre
Title: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: timb on June 04, 2013, 05:23:29 pm
Will that GUI work on Linux or OS X?


Sent from my iPhone
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on June 04, 2013, 06:00:20 pm
Quote
GUI front end for Gerber to Graphtec. It should work on Windows 7 and XP as well as on Linux (tested on Debian with XFCE).




Im thinking,.... "yes"  :)

I have NOT used the newest one posted for Linux/Mac (and also should work for Windows 7/XP)

I am still using the script from this post:

Windows 7/XP updated one:
viewtopic.php?f=68&t=5341&start=90#p52539 (http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=68&t=5341&start=90#p52539)


I have not tried the-

Linux/Mac & Windows 7/XP one:
viewtopic.php?f=68&t=5341&p=52600#p52583 (http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=68&t=5341&p=52600#p52583)

@ jesuscf

should we all be using the latest version of the script? (or only if we need a Linux/Mac compatible script?)

Any reason the Windows users should grab/use the latest version?


thanks
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on June 05, 2013, 05:59:17 am
[quote author="xl97"]
@ jesuscf

should we all be using the latest version of the script? (or only if we need a Linux/Mac compatible script?)

Any reason the Windows users should grab/use the latest version?

thanks[/quote]

There is not functional difference on Windows for the two scripts.  The second script (the one that works on Linux) is just the first script with a bunch of "if os.name=='nt':" added to account for the small differences when running commands on Linux.  For example, to send file to the cutter:

Code: [Select]
    if os.name=='nt':
      os.system("copy /B "%s" "%s"" % (src, dst))
    else:
      os.system("cat %s > %s" % (src, dst))
Jesus
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: xl97 on June 05, 2013, 06:13:47 am
got it.... thanks!

this whole script/gui you have done (and the optimized .py file posted here too!)..

has 'really' made my Cameo purchase worth it for me!

if I can find some other cool stuff to do with it.. it will only be a bonus now!@

thanks!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: pmonta on June 07, 2013, 09:41:33 am
Hi Jesus,

Would you mind if I added g2g_gui.py to my Github repository (suitably credited)?  Or you can fork the project and I can pull from your repo if you prefer.

Also I'll add the cutting mode from Andre that doesn't retrain for every group of backlash-free strokes.  I'm a little puzzled at the rough patches several people are seeing, apparently at the extreme edges of the artwork.  Could those folks who have encountered this please post/attach the Gerber files?  I'd like to try them on my cutter and maybe understand better what's going on.

Cheers,
Peter
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: 2blmaster on June 07, 2013, 01:04:09 pm
Hi Peter,
please find the gerber file that showed the problems attached in this post: viewtopic.php?f=68&t=5341&start=75#p52483 (http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=68&t=5341&start=75#p52483)

My guess: coming from the training position with high speed, the cutting head does not come to complete rest before starting to cut, and overlays some kind of mechanical oscillation with the straight cut. Do the commands sent to the Cameo allow to slow the head down, or wait shortly at the new position before starting the cut?

Cheers
  Andre
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on June 07, 2013, 06:02:11 pm
One option to minimize the travel time after training cuts, and to speed up in general, is to scatter training cuts around the perimeter of the board, just outside the final boundary.  Make a training cut, then cut a half-dozen nearby cuts in that orientation, train another orientation, keep cutting, and just work around the board.

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: reserve on June 07, 2013, 06:14:40 pm
Yeah, but why doing this? Andre´s improved version works perfectly with fast speed and fantastic results. I think there is no need to change that.

Tobi
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on June 08, 2013, 09:06:28 pm
[quote author="pmonta"]Hi Jesus,
Would you mind if I added g2g_gui.py to my Github repository (suitably credited)? 
Peter[/quote]

Hi Peter,

I'll be honored if you add g2g_gui.py to your Github repository!

Jesus
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: pmonta on June 19, 2013, 07:59:53 pm
I've added the GUI code from jesuscf to my github repository.  Also the default cutting mode now uses simple raster scanning, according to Andre's suggestion, which apparently results in better quality for some types of stencils.

I've tagged this as version 0.2; github provides a download link here:

http://https://github.com/pmonta/gerber2graphtec/tags

Future versions will get their own tags, of course.

Please let me know if this change results in a decrease in quality for any types of stencils.  In general, if there are any Gerber files with features at or above 0.4 mm pitch that result in poor quality, those would be interesting to debug with.

Cheers,
Peter
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: pmonta on June 19, 2013, 08:13:40 pm
Hi Gil,

[quote author="teletypeguy"]One option to minimize the travel time after training cuts, and to speed up in general, is to scatter training cuts around the perimeter of the board, just outside the final boundary.  Make a training cut, then cut a half-dozen nearby cuts in that orientation, train another orientation, keep cutting, and just work around the board.
[/quote]

Yes, I'd like to do something like this for the next version.  Seeking all the way back to y=0 results in running time quadratic in max(y), which is not acceptable, and it can potentially result in larger accumulated errors, though in general I'm surprised by how good the retracing in the y direction is.  Errors don't accumulate in x, but one would think any slippage in the paper rollers would start to degrade the positioning in y.

Perhaps I'll just leave a trail of training areas along the edges, spaced by an inch or two.  That way each two-inch block along the y axis will be completely cut, never to be revisited, and errors will not accumulate.

Cheers,
Peter
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: teletypeguy on June 21, 2013, 04:52:16 am
Hey Peter:

Sheesh, any improvements to speed things up would be awesome, of course.  But we're all getting some very nice, accurate, stencils, and we are all real happy just to improve our prototyping workflow and move one more step in-house. 

You really got something started here, and lots of folks, well, all around the world, have gotten a big-old-grin on their face when their first stencil came off the cameo -- which, I imagine, put a big-old-grin on your face too :)

And, I now have a reason to learn more about python (and not just monty python, which has a classic syntax in which I am well-versed).  Python looks like a fun thing to get my 13-yo son into as well -- this summer is his first exposure to electronics and programming, as I am teaching a little class for him, and some buddies, using the simple-yet-powerful arduino (and some unusual devices, like a 1920s candlestick dial phone for digit-input to the arduino, using a pulse-counting state machine, while looking at the signal on a 2012 logic analyzer).  And then Sparkfun rolled through town, on their National Tour, getting the local kids even more excited and ready for robotics clubs in the fall.  All-in-all, it's been a great summer for electrical crapola so far.

Anyway, thanks much for getting us all moving in a good direction Peter,

gil
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: chuvakpasha on July 09, 2013, 11:09:26 am
Hi.
How to run test_calibrate.py file in Windows XP?
Thank you.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: reserve on July 09, 2013, 11:12:27 am
Just copy it into main directory and run it like this:

test_calibrate.py > \YourPcNameCameo

this works for me.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: chuvakpasha on July 09, 2013, 12:42:22 pm
does not work
I run a python.exe and write command:
C:gerber2graphtec-mastertest_calibrate.py > \Loracameo
or
C:test_calibrate.py > \Loracameo
After starting getting the message:
SyntaxEerror: invalid syntax
What am I doing wrong?
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: chuvakpasha on July 09, 2013, 02:47:44 pm
Everything works.
I was wrong. We had to enter commands in cmd
thank you
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: adamfeuer on August 07, 2013, 12:01:45 am
I also got gerber2graphtec to work for a project I'm working on - using 3M PP2500 film backed by Avery 5353 full-sheet labels, loaded as media, not as mat, as Peter Monta says. It seems like the Avery labels are necessary to keep the transparent film from bending during cutting, at least with diagonally-laid-out fine-pitch pads.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: adamfeuer on August 10, 2013, 06:56:54 am
I wrote up a how-to guide in case anyone's interested:

http://adamfeuer.com/notes/2013/08/06/b ... 2graphtec/ (http://adamfeuer.com/notes/2013/08/06/building-an-orone-mini-part-2-solder-paste-stencils-using-gerber2graphtec/)

I'm able to cut fine-pitch (0.5mm) stencils and they turn out just fine!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: GilchristT on September 08, 2013, 09:46:58 pm
Just a quick note to thank the folks here for a fantastic thread about a fantastic resource.

I was losing hope with my Cameo with the slanted unusable cuts from the stock program.

Gui is great to have as well Jesus, thanks.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: paulctan on September 19, 2013, 10:49:49 am
Just another note of thanks to everyone that posted and created this wonderful package.  It works much better than the default Cameo software / technique used by idleloop.  Really good job everyone!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: jesuscf on September 25, 2013, 04:02:22 am
Today I completed 20 panels using the same stencil cut with the Silhouette Cameo.  I used an Apollo write-on transparency.  Each panel has 20 boards for a grand total of 400 individual boards.  The attached pictures are for the 20th panelized board.  After cleaning it, the stencil looks like it can be used in 20 more panels!

[attachment=5]

[attachment=4]

[attachment=3]

[attachment=2]

[attachment=1]

[attachment=0]
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: chuvakpasha on October 30, 2013, 11:35:28 am
How to configure silohuette cameo for the film format A3?
I am using Windows XP

P.S.
Trying to make a stencil for BGA (step - 1 mm hole - 0.5 mm)
(http://http://trafaret.bz.ua/static/img/0000/0001/4344/14344735.sviqpg0vlu.W665.jpg)
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: chuvakpasha on November 01, 2013, 09:14:14 am
I have a Silhouette CAMEO cutting plotter with 12 "cutting mat. I use it for cutting stencils. Help me configure plotter to cut the film 300x300 mm.
I use g2g_gui, operating system windows XP
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: chuvakpasha on November 03, 2013, 09:00:13 pm
I found the answer to my question. Start cutting out the stencil indicated in "offset".
I have the following question - how to disable cut border around stencil?
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: 2blmaster on November 03, 2013, 10:06:48 pm
Hi!

In the gerber2graphtec python file, comment out the line

g.closed_path(border_path)

This will skip the border cut.

But what exactly did you do to cut large area files? mine just stops cutting after some "invisble" border in y direction, and I did not find any such hard limitations in the code, yet I do not understand all parameters that are set in the cutter initialization steps...

Cheers
  Andre
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: chuvakpasha on November 03, 2013, 11:28:30 pm
Offset from the edge on each side consists of the parameter "offset" + "border".
I had to begin to plotter cut stencils from the right upper corner. So I set the parameter offset = (0.1,0.1).
The format is specified in a file graphtec.py

# Page = ["12x12 cutting mat", 6096, 6096] # 12x12 cutting mat in device units
page = ["12x11 media", 6096, 5588] # 12x11 media in device units

but I not tested.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: pmonta on November 05, 2013, 05:03:30 am
I've added support for specifying the media size, which should help with A3 sheets or similar (sorry about the inches-based units though).  Often after cutting a small stencil there will be an odd-sized piece of media left over, so those pieces will become usable.  I think the media size is used for the initial slewing of the media all the way forward and back, possibly for registration-mark detection.

Also, cutting a border outline can now be disabled by specifying a border of 0,0.

The new code can be found here:

https://github.com/pmonta/gerber2graphtec (https://github.com/pmonta/gerber2graphtec)

Bug reports welcome.

Cheers,
Peter
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: 2blmaster on November 17, 2013, 10:47:48 pm
Hi Peter,

I tested the new code, and it works very well! (cuts now full size of the mat, if media size is specified accordingly!!!)

Here two suggestions for code modifications:

1) affects the dice(strokes) method in optimize.py
The additional if-clause prevents two lines of zero length to be added to the list, when the last point in the .pic-file's list is identical to the first (true for most stencil I did so far).

Code: [Select]
def dice(strokes):
  lines = []
  for s in strokes:
    p = s[0]
    for q in s[1:]:
      lines.append((p[0],p[1],q[0],q[1]))
      lines.append((q[0],q[1],p[0],p[1]))
      p = q
    if p != s[0]: # AZ 17.11.13
      lines.append((p[0],p[1],s[0][0],s[0][1]))
      lines.append((s[0][0],s[0][1],p[0],p[1]))
  return lines

2) I furthermore thought about how to optimize the time consumption for a stencil to be cut. Your algorithm sorts all lines for a given angle by the Y-coordinate of the starting point. This causes the Plotter to move in X-direction extensively, if pads are spread over the sheet and slightly different in Y. Nevertheless Movement in Y-direction is minimal. (once through per angle)
I therefore modified the optimize(strokes, b) method in optimize.py in an attempt to save some time:

Lines are now divided into bins along the Y-axis, with a bin width of 0.5 inch. (Experimental value)
For each of these bins, lines are sorted by their X-value! (not Y!)

Now the plotter goes not only left/right, but also back/forth during an angle cut. In this way, it moves less, and cuts more.

Code: [Select]
def optimize(strokes, b):
  global border
  global r

  border = b
  r = []

  lines = dice(strokes)

  for ang in range(0,16):
    a = []
    for x in lines:
      if ang==angle(*x):
        a.append(x)
    if not a:
      continue
    emit_training_line(ang) #angle has at least one line ->append training cut to list

    for section in range(-1,30): #do this for every 0.5 inch section...

      b = []

      for item in a:
        if item[1] > section*0.5 and item[1] <= (section+1)*0.5: #Y-coordinate of start point within section?
          b.append(item) #add line to temporary list

      b.sort(key=lambda s:(s[0],s[1])) #sort temporary list by X-coordinate (not Y!)
      for x in b:
        emit_line(*x) #emit lines for this Y-section
   

#    a.sort(key=lambda s:(s[1],s[0]))
#    for x in a:
#      emit_line(*x)
  return r

I don't know, whether the additional movements in Y accumulate in larger errors. I am currently cutting a A4-sized stencil with the modified code. It went out perfectly before, but took ~5 hours. I am curious, how and how fast it will turn out now. :)

Cheers
  Andre

Edit: Done in less than two hours, compared to 5 hours. Result is as excellent as usual! :)
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: reserve on November 18, 2013, 11:28:54 am
Great Job, André! Thank you.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: reserve on December 04, 2013, 01:45:37 pm
Hey Guys,

I cut out some stencils the last two days and I think I found the non-plus-ultra configuration...
Software: I used the latest version from Peter and modified it with the speed-up-tuning from Andre (thanks to you both).

I bought at a stationery shop some fullsize A4 paper-labels (with some kind of "glue" on one side). I glued the label to the bottom side of the transparency film (3M PP2500). Then I put that with the paper label side down onto the cutting mat (so the transparency is on top).
Also I changed the blade-settings to "1" (which was definitely not possible before) and started plotting.
After the cut was completed, I removed the glue from the stencil by using hot water with soup and then some alcohol. There is no need to free the cutting mat from the small cut-out-pieces, they are all hold by the paper label.
The result is just awesome. Much more precise as before.

Greetings from Germany,
Tobias
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: 2blmaster on December 04, 2013, 02:41:35 pm
Hi Tobias,

nice idea with the adhesive label! With decreasing stickyness of my cutting mat, removing the fine rectangles from the cut stencil gets more and more annoying :) (Maybe also my knive gets dull?)

I will try this next time!

Greetings from Germany, too!
  Andre
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: CND on December 26, 2013, 11:05:49 am
Hello everyone,

this is a great post , it get us week long stencil outsourcing process on our desktop. After noticing result of other users we took initiative to make it work on other commercially available vinyl plotter. We have a plotter inhouse for some work, but now we tried to make SMT stencils for PCBs. after a 6 days full work on code conversion , calibration we got it work but that is 92% . We have raised some issue during working on the plotter. Let me explain what we have done till now, why it is 92% success, what are the issue currently facing.

Plotter Machine Specification:

Size:24 inch
Brand Name: GOLDCUT/JINKA JK721 series
Driver:stepper motor Cutter

Pressure/Force: 10- 500g
Cutting Speed: 10mm/s -to 800mm/s
Command Language: HPGL/DMPL

[attachment=4]
[attachment=5]

Paper Feed Width: 720mm
Max Cutting Width: 630mm
Cutting Length:unlimited
Cache Capacity:1-4MB
Interface: RS232 / USB interface
Control panel: English LCD display
cutting material: paper, vinyl

Pro over Silohuette Cameo
Silohuette Cameo has 7 grams force per setting and has 33 levels. In other words, the Silhouette can cut from 7 grams up to 230 grams force.

JK721 has 10- 500gs force.

Silohuette Cameo Speed is measured in centimeters per second x 10. In other words, the Silhouette can cut from 10 centimeters per second up to 100 centimeters per second.

JK721 is Cutting Speed: 10mm/s -to 800mm/s

Con over Silohuette Cameo
JK721 does not support Graphtech Command at all i.e GPGL . it only support DMPL/HPGL Commands.

In HPGL it doesn't support values after decimal points.

JK721 also does not support software control of velocity/speed and force of PEN/cutter blade. it is totally user defined manual setting on the machine.

What we did till now
1. We made gerber2graphtec work on Win 8 PC with  the instruction form http://http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=68&t=5341#p51495
Install Python (version 2.7.3, gerbv (version 2.6.1), pstoedit (version 3.62), and ghostscript (version 9.07).
also add and use g2g_gui.py from here http://http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/download/file.php?id=10259 and optimized.py the modified version of Andre from here http://http://dangerousprototypes.com/forum/download/file.php?id=10192. It successfully work for GUI on it 1st installation on Win 8 WMC 32 bit PC.

2. We modify graphtech.py and gerber2graphtech.py according to HPGL command as our plotter doesnt support GPGL or graphtec command. We made changes in Initialisation , ending, move, draw section. We had to change all float values output to decimal values in result.txt

3.Also made minor change in g2g_gui.py as some paramers will not work on a HPGL based plotter. We modify to send the draw file direct to plotter on serial port ,instead of using windows printer mode. Because we found that most of the time we got printer in queue error when using windows print mode.

4. Also add a step to delete previous _tmp_gerber.pdf each time before we create a new gerber file on gui page.
[attachment=3]

After doing this much of things we made it work for HPGL plotter , means we can send draw file from GUI to plotter and machine draw the line as per instruction.

Why it is 92% success?
 After cutting 2-3 test pad we saw this on the sheet.
[attachment=2][attachment=1][attachment=0]

At very 1st we did not find any reason for this error, so we took a different step to investigate. We create a test gerber of cream pad of size 10X10 mm and 50X50mm . created the draw file using GUI and send it to machine. after some 3-4 draw we found what is the issue.

cont...
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: CND on December 26, 2013, 12:25:07 pm
cont....

Sorry the images are bit out of focus
[attachment=5][attachment=4][attachment=3]

let me explain what we found from this test pads..
we found that for 10X10mm pad, machine is drawing 9.7X9.7mm pad with each side has an lag error of 0.3mm , even this 0.3mm error is in every where..  gap between two draw of same line is 0.3mm, line are over crossed with 0.3mm, gaps between end points of draw line is also 0.3mm.  please see this image for more clear understanding.[attachment=2]
click to enlarge
RED,BLUE,GREEN,YELLOW lines are the actual draw line/cutline by machine in the order they crossed,draw gap respective coloured lines, Gray area is the actual 10X10mm pad area in software design/gerber file. similar 0.3mm gap is also experienced in 50x50mm pad and draw line are 49.7mm in length. So after this investigation we were clear there  is 0.3mm lag offset error from the machine.

WAIT A SEC....On little push we found that we completely forgot about Blade offset gap from the Cutter. Generally blade offset setting is fed on Cutting software or SW sets default offset setting depending on your blade setting in cutting software. In this case of gerber2graphtec blade offset or cutter offset has to be setup manually into the code. We really don't know how silohuette  Studio set it's blade offset, but when we dug into g2g_gui.py and grapthec.py we found the  offset option given in GUI is for Media offset, it is not the cutter/blade offset. As blade offset is a fixed value. Then we search for GPGL and HPGL command for cutter offset in this two PDFs provided by Graphtech. [attachment=1][attachment=0] We found they both have a common command for Cutter offset  i.e FC p,q[,n] [t] . In graphtec.py it is used as
Code: [Select]
self.emit("FC18x03")
. Also value of the parameters are unknown for real world conversion. for example in FC18 what does 18 means , is it 18mm or 1.8mm or 0.18mm or something else.

Now the issue is I have very limited knowledge about programing in python. From the codes I can understand the algo and work flow.. but I am not skilled enough in python programing,So I can't code for blade offset parameter into this code. If anyone from this user group can help in that , then we can develop and support all this resource for a non-graphtec plotter platform.

Thanks
Chinmay
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: CND on December 26, 2013, 12:34:14 pm
here is my version of graphtec.py[attachment=0]
please refer to previous post HP-GL.pdf for any command description and sysntax.

-chinmay
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: texaspyro on January 08, 2014, 06:36:39 am
I have built a laser stencil cutter attachment for my desktop mill.  It is working rather well:
budgetlightforum (dot) com / node / 24997 # comment - 519440  (please reformat the link...  trying to get around the newbie spam detector).

I have also written a program that reads and translates between the control languages of around 50 different CNC mills plus DXF/Gerber/HPGL/etc  It can also do things like produce an optimized cutting path for 2D programs.  The stencil shown above was generated from an Eagle Gerber file and translated by my program to Mach3 which my mill runs on.

I would like to add some GPGL support to the program but don't have any way of generating/verifying GPGL files right now.  Can somebody post a sample Graphtec stencil file (like of Peter Monta's test pattern).

Here is a test stencil that has some DFN20 packages on it (sorry for the bad focus... it's all my camera will do):

[attachment=0]
Title: 'Permission Denied error' workaround
Post by: blckdmp on March 08, 2014, 02:41:08 am
Hi there,
  Just want to thank everyone who's put their hard work into this amazing tool!  I thought I'd add my small discovery after trying all day to get everything working on a Mac (10.6.8). 
 I got all the files and dependencies installed following the excellent instructions at adamfeuer(dot)com (I can't post the full link,as it apparently looks "too spamy for a new user").  Using Jesus' GUI (g2g_gui.py) I got the Graphtec files made ok, but then got stumped trying to output to the Silhouette (Portrait in my case). 
 Kept getting 'Permission Denied' messages when trying to send the file to the cutter.  Eventually found good info here on CUPS command line printing options at cups(dot)org (documentation/options).  Using the Graphtec file I'd already made, I could print through the Terminal command line with: lp -o raw filename.txt  (replace filename.txt with your Graphtec file). 
 That did the trick and printed out a great stencil.  Hope that helps anyone stuck in the same situation.  Thanks again to everyone who put the real work into this program!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: bikenomad on December 10, 2014, 05:46:51 pm
Regarding the cutter offset code that CND asked about:

The units are device units (which on the Silhouette are 0.05mm). You can see this in the initializer for instances of class graphtec at line 11 of pmonta's graphtec.py where he defines the instance variable "scale" as 200 units/cm (his code is using inches as the basic unit):
Code: [Select]
self.scale = 2.54*200
So the "FC18" code tells the cutter that the diameter of the cutting blade is 0.9mm . I have verified this on my Silhouette Portrait.

I don't know why this results in an offset of 0.3mm for CND, unless that is the difference between his cutter's blade offset and the Silhouette's.

Regarding cutting without a border, as pmonta said,
Quote
Also, cutting a border outline can now be disabled by specifying a border of 0,0.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: syso on December 12, 2014, 09:36:24 am
Hi!

Syso here from Berlin, Germany. I've stumbled upon this post while trying to cut SMT stencils for
some of my projects which uses 0603 parts, a minimal amount of 0402 and a TQFP64, with a laser cutter.

Unfortunately I wasn't happy with the results, as the Mylar (BoPET) melted and started to bend.

After that I decided to buy the Silhouette Portrait and give it a try.

So far all except the TQFP64 looks great. I am cutting Mylar 0.125mm with the Blade Setting at 4, 2-Pass
with gerber2graphtec (Speed: 2,1 - Force 8,30). Somehow, my results differ from yours. With the default
settings (matrix etc.) I get a little trapezoid (not that problematic) instead of squares.

Also I had to find out that my mat seems to be different - it's not keeping the cut-out pieces on the mat
(it's not sticky enough), so it requires a lot of work with a thin needle.

Do you guys have any tips for me?
I need to complete 15 PCBs using this method hopefully.

Last used settings:
Code: [Select]
knife at 4, use cutting mat, matrix 1.001,0,-0.0005,0.9985 --speed 2,1 --force 8,30 --offset 3,0.5

Cheers

PS: Here are my laser results:
https://syso.name/w/making-laser-cut-sm ... rom-bopet/ (https://syso.name/w/making-laser-cut-smt-solder-stencils-from-bopet/)

And this is how the result looks (QFP64):
[attachment=0]
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: TonyH on December 13, 2014, 03:03:55 am
Syso,
My friend and I have been using a Cameo to make stencils for about 6 months now, and we're really happy with it.  We are using some similar parts, so I'll share our experience.  Even our best setup doesn't cut the QFN correctly every time, but it's a 1-pass method using cheap material so we usually just cut 2 stencils and see which one comes out best.

We start by using 3mil thick Polyester Film, available in a $15 large roll (http://http://www.mcmaster.com/#8567k32/=uzxlha) from McMaster-Carr.  We like getting it from here because it's cheap and the properties are tightly controlled (vs transparencies for example, which vary significantly brand-to-brand).  That's a little thinner than what you used, and I don't know how the other properties compare, but for us the Polyester cuts well, doesn't crease, and has decent resistance to tearing.  McMaster also offers the same material in other thicknesses.

In our experience the 0.5mm pitch TQFP really is about the limit that you can get without doing anything really fancy.  We use:
Blade: 2
Speed: 1 (only 1 pass!)
Force: 14 (this varies from 9-21 depending on blade condition, but in general we got best results using the lowest setting that would complete the cut in one pass)

Condition of your cutting mat makes a difference too.  Our mat lasted for a couple dozen stencils but at the end we had trouble with the pads ripping out and fouling up the blade.  The newer, sticker mat works better.

With the above setup we don't find it necessary to use any fancy tweaks or adjustments.  The stencils cut quickly and cleanly because we're only using one pass.  The resulting stencils last easily 30-50 uses in one session; overall we've made about 200 boards with this method.  On the downside, the 0.5mm QFN only cuts acceptably about 70% of the time, and some poking with a dental pick is usually required to make sure all the pads are actually clear, but the cheap Polyester and quick cut times make some failure acceptable.

Let me know if you have any other questions!  We think this method is pretty great as far as DIY goes.

[attachment=1]
[attachment=0]
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: spoolofwire on December 27, 2014, 04:57:20 am
Hey,

I've been following this thread and have been looking at picking up a Silhouette Cameo, however it appears they just released (sometime towards the end of 2014) a newer version with a touch screen interface? (okay maybe I was looking at too many craft / scrapbook sites this holiday season)

Anyway, I'm hoping tons of scrapbook people get the new one for Christmas and the prices of used ones will drop as it's now an older model. I was just curious and wondered if anyone with more knowledge could chime in and let the rest of us know if this newer one would work with the stencil software.

Thanks in advance.

-J
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: reserve on January 02, 2015, 05:42:23 pm
Hi @ all,

I just tried some things out and i found an awesome combination to prevent from scraping off the transparency leftovers: use some application tape ("Oratape", got mine from there: http://http://plotter-folien.com/product_info.php?info=p32_uebertragungsfolie-30-5-cm-x-100-m.html) and stick it on the bottom side of the transparency foil. Finally you can simply remove the stencil and all the cutouts remains on the application tape. Works just perfectly and isn´t too expensive.

Greetings from Germany,
Tobias

[attachment=5]
[attachment=4]
[attachment=3]
[attachment=2]
[attachment=1]
[attachment=0]
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: stan on February 14, 2015, 12:16:13 am
Hi all,

I know this is an old thread but need help!

I am trying to follow the instructions and mae it work on mac os but with no luck :(

what should be the proper Cutter device name string for mac os?

Is it normal when using GUI and hot browse to not be able to select the file?

is it normal if I manually enter the path to the file and hit show Gerber in gerbv to have open Gerber dialogue box and not be able select the file again?

If there is someone who made it work on mac please help!!

Thanks
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: digitaldreamer on May 03, 2015, 09:39:55 am
I'm finding that pstoedit doesn't appear to support the "pic" format on my OS X 10.10 Yosemite Mac. I'd like to think this is some install or configuration error, as it's just like the other errors other posters have presented here.

The error when running gerber2graphtec.py is (last line):
IOError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: '_tmp_gerber.pic'

And, sure enough, no pic file was created. The pdf file was created, but no pic file can be exported from the pdf via pstoedit:
Code: [Select]
Unsupported output format pic
Available formats :
psf: .fps: Flattened PostScript (no curves) (built-in)
-------------------------------------------
ps: .spsc: Simplified PostScript with curves (built-in)
-------------------------------------------
debug: .dbg: for test purposes (built-in)
-------------------------------------------
dump: .dbg: for test purposes (same as debug) (built-in)
-------------------------------------------
gs: .gs: any device that Ghostscript provides - use gs:format, e.g. gs:pdfwrite (built-in)
-------------------------------------------
ps2ai: .ai: Adobe Illustrator via ps2ai.ps of Ghostscript (built-in)
-------------------------------------------

I'm still investigating, but beginning to wonder if the script will need to be rewritten for a format other than pic.
MAJ
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: digitaldreamer on May 05, 2015, 05:05:49 pm
A ticket was already filed for this MacPorts bug a month ago:
"pstoedit 3.70 does not have most of the available drivers that 3.62 did"
http://https://trac.macports.org/ticket/47354
One of the missing drivers is the "pic" driver.

A patch was released for openSUSE.
http://https://build.opensuse.org/package/view_file/openSUSE:Factory/pstoedit/pstoedit-pkglibdir.patch?expand=1

I tried going back and installing v3.62 r125207, but there were too many missing files.
Going to try a different route.

EDIT:
Success!
I just went with Homebrew, instead, which uses pstoedit v3.62.

So, if you are using MacPorts, just uninstall all your ports, then MacPorts.
Code: [Select]
sudo port -fp uninstall installed
sudo rm -rf
        /opt/local
        /Applications/DarwinPorts
        /Applications/MacPorts
        /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.macports.*
        /Library/Receipts/DarwinPorts*.pkg
        /Library/Receipts/MacPorts*.pkg
        /Library/StartupItems/DarwinPortsStartup
        /Library/Tcl/darwinports1.0
        /Library/Tcl/macports1.0
        ~/.macports

Then, go to http://brew.sh (http://brew.sh) and follow the directions.
After installing Homebrew, install pstoedit, libusb (universal), and gerbv (x11).

Example: brew install pstoedit
Check that it's version 3.62 by using brew info pstoedit

MAJ
Title: New Silohuette Cameo
Post by: jesuscf on May 12, 2015, 10:35:49 pm
For a few months now, a new version of the Silohuette Cameo has been available.  I recently used it to cut a couple of solder paste stencils using the procedure outlined in this forum.  The results are mostly the same as the original Cameo.  The main difference: it takes the new Silohuette Cameo more than a minute to start cutting after receiving the Graphtec file from the computer.  Also, be aware that the printer driver for the new Cameo is different from the old one.  The old driver doesn't work with the new Cameo!  That got me as I was initially testing the new Cameo using the computer I normally use with the old Cameo.

Jesus
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: electrizay on May 17, 2015, 07:39:06 pm
Hi,

For those who need to use file names or paths containing spaces, there is a small modification to do in the g2g_gui.py file.

Replace:
Code: [Select]
os.system("echo "%s" --export=pdf --output=%s --border=0 "%s" > "%s"" % (os.path.normpath(gerbv_path.get()),temp_pdf,os.path.normpath(Gerber_name.get()),temp_bat))
with
Code: [Select]
  os.system("echo "%s" --export=pdf --output="%s" --border=0 "%s" > "%s"" % (os.path.normpath(gerbv_path.get()),temp_pdf,os.path.normpath(Gerber_name.get()),temp_bat))

File names (%s) are enclosed in double quotes using "%s" instead of %s alone.
Check if there is some more modifications to do in the .py file other than the one listed above (for me it is working like that).

I received some files from a client with very small or too close apertures the Cameo 2 was unable to cut, I started edit Gerber files using a text editor.
I decided later to write a program to do automatic DRC of apertures (size, distance ans shape).
This program is available for free on request cause it is too large to be attached herer

Serge
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: Coconuts on August 03, 2015, 02:48:22 am
I'm having trouble getting gerber2graphtec to install on my computer. Im running Yosemite 10.10.4. I got libusb and pstoedit to install using home-brew but, when I try to install gerbv i get this:

Michaels-MacBook-Pro:python-libusb1 michaelquijano$ brew install gerbv
Error: No available formula for gerbv
==> Searching formulae...
==> Searching taps...
homebrew/x11/gerbv
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: Coconuts on August 03, 2015, 03:49:15 am
Okay, I believe I figured it out and got gerbv. Now my trouble is with running the python bindings for libusb-1. When i type python setup.py install i get this:

Michaels-MacBook-Pro:libusb1-1.4.0 michaelquijano$ python setup.py install
running install
running build
running build_py
running install_lib
copying build/lib/libusb1.py -> /Library/Python/2.7/site-packages
error: /Library/Python/2.7/site-packages/libusb1.py: Permission denied

It's a authorization issue.... how do I get around that? I'm not familiar in the slightest with running python script.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: Coconuts on August 03, 2015, 04:03:20 am
Okay, another update. I'm pretty sure I had libusb already. So, how exactly do I install/use gerber2graphtec?
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: 0xdeadbeef on August 29, 2015, 08:15:39 pm
I finally got gerber2graphtec to create the output file under Win7 without warnings.
I'm using Python 2.7.8, Ghostscript 9.16, pstpedit 2.70 and GerbV 2.6.1.
Didn't try to cut yet but I find it a little scary that the created temporary PDF seems to be missing the upper 1 or two millimeters.
See attachment - it's the "fine_pitch_sampler" example.
Any ideas? Or is this normal?
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: 0xdeadbeef on August 30, 2015, 12:13:32 pm
OK, anyway, I finally dared to just give it a try and the result was pretty much perfect with default settings on Avery 3552 transparencies. I just somewhat underestimated the work to remove all these tiny sticking bits.
Just two hints from my side for people trying on Win 7 64bit
1) It's important to use only 64bit versions (or only 32bit, but not mixed). E.g. I first installed Ghostscript in a 32bit version by mistake which resulted in weird error messages.
2) At least in my case, no Silhouette printer was shown in the System Control's printer tab - only some default USB printer support. Silhouette Studio still worked but to share the printer in the network, you need a proper printer driver installed. I finally found it hidden on the Silhouette site:
http://www.silhouetteamerica.com/faq/so ... er-concern (http://www.silhouetteamerica.com/faq/solution/driver-concern)
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: spoolofwire on December 02, 2015, 05:32:00 am
[quote author="reserve"]Hi @ all,

I just tried some things out and i found an awesome combination to prevent from scraping off the transparency leftovers: use some application tape ("Oratape", got mine from there: http://http://plotter-folien.com/product_info.php?info=p32_uebertragungsfolie-30-5-cm-x-100-m.html) and stick it on the bottom side of the transparency foil. Finally you can simply remove the stencil and all the cutouts remains on the application tape. Works just perfectly and isn´t too expensive.

Greetings from Germany,
Tobias
[/quote]

Thanks for the link. I'm in the US and want to try to get that tape (or similar) locally since shipping is pretty high. I've found "Application Tape" with I think is similar however I'm not sure which Tact to chose. I found Oratape on ebay and it comes in High Tact, Medium Tact and Low Tact (at least I believe that's what the HT, MT and LT stand for)

I was wondering what Tact you had on your tape (or if you knew)

Thanks,

-J
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: vidalrjm on December 09, 2015, 11:08:30 pm
Hi guys,

As our friend jesuscf told us, a new Silohuette Cameo has been available, somebody do some test with all scripts and gerber2graphtec and validate the same resolution as the old version?.

On the other hand, what is the best mylar product in order to manufacturing smt stencils.

Thanks in advance.

Jose.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: ppo on December 24, 2015, 10:27:33 am
I've tested g2g_gui in Win7 x64 with new Cameo 2 which has LCD touch panel.
It work fine. But I have two problems: positioning drawing on page and after cutting 99% of holes stays on stencil and not on the mat and I need to manually squeeze them all. It's a terrible:(

I didn't get how to use offset and border options. They are confusing.
Never mind what I enter to offset it cuts in same place.
Suppose I have Silhouette cutting mat with A4 transparency with album orientation that is glued on mat. I'm trying to cut stencil for small CPU just to adjust blade's thickness, force and speed. But I'm unable to do so on same sheet because if I change offset setting it still cut on same place.
Please anybody, explain how to cut same small part of drawing on same sheet in different places by using offset setting!! It'll be very helpful.
Thanks all for this thread.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: vidalrjm on December 27, 2015, 12:39:48 pm
Hi Ppo,

I try to do that and happend the same...Did you solve it?.

Also I detectes a bug into program...when you try to rotate 45º, 135º, etc round pads... the file output of gerber2graphtec is wrong. If you set rectangular or octogonal pads is ok.

Anyone know how to fix it.

Thanks in advance.

[attachment=0]
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: ppo on December 30, 2015, 02:46:04 pm
No, I didn't solve issue with positioning.

I also have no idea how to cut (what settings and what transparency to use ) stencil in the center of A4 page with frame near the border of A4 page. Gerber with frame looks like this:
[attachment=2]
This frame is used to place stencil in right direction on solder paste printer (http://http://www.lpkf.com/products/rapid-pcb-prototyping/smd-assembly/solder-paste-printing/smt-solder-paste-printer.htm) because there are small difference in the holes in the top and bottom:
(http://http://www.lpkf.com/_images/1677-protoprint.jpg)


Any thoughts what is the difference between loading cut mat and loading media?
Especially in cases when you're using Silhouette Studio or gerber2graphtec.

Anyway here is my best cuts:
[attachment=1]
[attachment=0]
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: mixographer on January 26, 2016, 12:34:18 am
I can't find /dev/usb/lp0 on my Mac(Mac OSX 10.11). Do I have to install some kind of driver? In CUPS it shows up like this, usb://Silhouette/Portrait?serial=906660R (http://usb://Silhouette/Portrait?serial=906660R), as a generic postscript printer. Can someone who has had success on mac tell me how you added the lp0 file?

Thanks!

Jimmy
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: mixographer on January 27, 2016, 09:02:01 pm
Just back to answer my own question for future reference.

I set up my Silhouette with cups as Silhouette_Portrait and then sent the output of gerber2graphtec to lp like so:

Code: [Select]
cat stencil.txt | lp -d Silhouette_Portrait

That works perfectly. One thing is see is that my cutter only cuts three sides of the stencil. I'll be looking into that.

Thanks

Jimmy
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: ppo on February 11, 2016, 01:25:23 pm
What did you mean by cutting only three sides?
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: mixographer on February 12, 2016, 06:14:07 pm
By 'cutting three sides,' I mean that the outline of the stencil is only cut on three sides, like the shape of a [ rather than a square. I think maybe it's thinking it's cutting to the edge of the mylar, but the alignment is off....

Jimmy
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: ppo on February 15, 2016, 12:55:21 pm
Understood.
You can't cut border around your stencil.
I experienced such a trouble few times and it was due wrong (offset+border) settings.
While you feed transparency to cutter, the top right corner of a mat it's point from where offset in measured.
So when you set offset to 6.0,4.0 (top right corner minus 6" by X axis and top right corner minus 4" by Y axis) it will point to somewhere in the center of A4 album oriented paper on the mat and from this point your drawing begin to cut to the left of a page. So you cut is actually will be placed in left part of a page.
When you set Border setting (even 0.0 leads to cut border for me) and generate file which you then send to cutter you may face a situation when some border line is out of mat/paper and thus not cutted
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: sobakava on March 01, 2016, 09:47:49 pm
I have been trying to cut stencils with my cameo (2014 - touchscreen model) using semitransparent laser films but I wasn't satisfied with the results so far. Then I found this thread and decided to give it a try.

I'm using Windows 10 64bit operating system and this is how Cameo is enumerated by the OS:

Silhouette CAMEO 2

I have downloaded and installed Cameo 64bit drivers from Silhouette website.


Gerber to Graphtec GUI app can create result.txt with success from my gerber file. But then I try to send it to Silhouette using 'Send Graphtech File to Silhouette Cutter'

Cutter Shared Name: \MYCOMPUTERCameo

I get this error:

The network name cannot be found.
        0 file(s) copied.
The network name cannot be found.
        0 file(s) copied.
The network name cannot be found.
        0 file(s) copied.
The network name cannot be found.
        0 file(s) copied.




Unfortunately Silhouette Cameo does not appear in Devices and Printers window, so I can not do right-click and share thing.

Is there any way to use this on Windows 10?
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: Sjaak on March 08, 2016, 06:38:42 pm
How to place the blade in the machine? I think the orientation does matter, but the blade seems to fit in almost any orientation. I have a portrait.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: ppo on March 24, 2016, 12:45:02 pm
This is how the blade have to be placed in Cameo.
[attachment=0]
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: ppo on March 24, 2016, 12:51:25 pm
[quote author="sobakava"]
Is there any way to use this on Windows 10?[/quote]
I'd suggest to find computer with Win 7 or you can try to download Windows image for virtual machine from here (http://https://dev.windows.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/tools/vms/windows/) and install Cameo there.
You might need to forward USB Cameo from you host system to virtual machine.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: Sjaak on March 25, 2016, 10:32:20 am
Thanks for the picture of the placement. I never realized the cutting blade rotate inside the head (which it does) so it does'n't matter at all.

Sorry for the n00b question :)
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: Sjaak on March 27, 2016, 01:47:59 am
Some results of the first run can be seen here: http://smdprutser.nl/blog/diy-solderstencils/ (http://smdprutser.nl/blog/diy-solderstencils/)
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: ppo on March 28, 2016, 11:34:32 am
[quote author="Sjaak"] the cutting blade rotate inside the head so it does'n't matter at all.
[/quote]
However I've read the statement in Cameo manual that fin of blade have to be placed right opposite to the blade's lock mechanism.
Although I also don't know if there are any negative effects of placing blade randomly because the cutting blade in the head of blade has a rotation.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: Sjaak on March 28, 2016, 03:15:25 pm
[quote author="ppo"][quote author="Sjaak"] the cutting blade rotate inside the head so it does'n't matter at all.
[/quote]
However I've read the statement in Cameo manual that fin of blade have to be placed right opposite to the blade's lock mechanism.
Although I also don't know if there are any negative effects of placing blade randomly because the cutting blade in the head of blade has a rotation.[/quote]

I couldnt find it anywhere :) I dont think it matters, as long as the knife is in the lowest position (as near as possible to the cutting surface).
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: chuvakpasha on April 09, 2016, 12:45:23 pm
Hello
How to cut a stencil on a sheet of A3.
I changed in file graphtec.py self.media_size = (12,11) on self.media_size = (12,24)
But cutter wants to cut stencil longer than 15 ". All apertures below 15" are ignored and are not cut.
Please, help!
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: ppo on April 19, 2016, 03:12:10 pm
[quote author="sobakava"]
Is there any way to use this on Windows 10?[/quote]
I've just tested Cameo2 on Win10 x64 and it works perfectly with g2g_gui.py script.
And cutter appears in Devices and Printers as expected.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: racemaniac on March 16, 2017, 11:12:11 am
[quote author="ppo"][quote author="sobakava"]
Is there any way to use this on Windows 10?[/quote]
I've just tested Cameo2 on Win10 x64 and it works perfectly with g2g_gui.py script.
And cutter appears in Devices and Printers as expected.[/quote]
With a portrait on windows 10, i had the same issues as others above.
For me to get it to work on windows 10, i had to do the following:

- in the fixes made to the python script mentioned early in this thread, i had to add .exe to the modifications, my windows wouldn't run the programs unless the full filename was specified.

-my portrait didn't show up in the printers, but it did show up as an unknown device with "usb printing support" capabilities. Alas that was not enough to be able to share it over the network, so i followed these instructions to create a new printer with the microsoft generic printing drivers pointed to the port of the portrait: search for the following on google: "raw printing directly usb printer" and you should find the stackoverflow article (i can't post the link since i'm a new user -_- )

And with that i've got it all up & running perfectly on a windows 10 machine, and with a portrait. I assume people having the same issue with the cameo 3 will also be able to solve it like that :) (at first i gave the VM option a try, and indeed, with a windows 7 VM i could also get it to work, but just being able to do it in windows 10 is far better :p )
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: adzus on August 31, 2017, 11:07:30 am
Hello, friends!
Has anyone tried compatibility of gerber2graphtec with Cameo3 or Curio models?
Curio2 is out of production :(
But I would very much like to take a model with two heads for other tasks than cutting smd templates.
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: courcirc8 on November 25, 2017, 10:58:01 pm
@adzus
Yes my Cameo 3 works like a charm on OS.X with mixographer solution:
cat stencil.txt | lp -d Printer_Name After installing the Cameo as a generic postscript printer
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: courcirc8 on November 27, 2017, 02:30:26 pm
You can also use Cameo 3 with file2graphtec after updating it with:

device_list = [
  (0x0b4d, 0x1121),    # Silhouette Cameo
  (0x0b4d, 0x1123),      # Silhouette Portrait
  (0x0b4d, 0x112c),      # Silhouette SD1 (not tested)
  (0x0b4d, 0x112d),      # Silhouette SD2 (not tested)
  (0x0b4d, 0x112f)      # Silhouette Cameo 3
]
Title: Re: Cutting mylar stencils with a silohuette cameo
Post by: rwijbenga on December 16, 2017, 12:41:21 am
Did anybody get the Cameo 3 working under Windows ? Or only under OSX ?