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How to flatten the CNC table

Hey guys, recently we got a medium-low end CNC machine in the lab I am working. We got it mainly for prototyping PCBs of our projects. I am still in the process of fine-tuning the machine. The learning curve was (is!) pretty steep and makes it even worst if you have little time to spend working the machine.

Anyway, when I printed my first PCB using 15 mils for copper width, I noticed some inconsistencies on the final result. One factor of this problem is the fact that the cutting table is not flat in relation to the XY axis of the machine. In other words, the distance between the table and the spindle is not constant along the plane.

This could happen for many reasons, your table may not be flat, the machine may not be exactly horizontally fixed to place etc. After asking around the web, the good fellas at the CNCzone.com forum, suggested to flatten the table surface by milling into it. So what that means is that you pass the cutting tool up and down, cutting out a square area on your table. Since the cutting tool is always at the same depth, the square are should be completely flat with relation to your cutting tool. Genius isn’t?

A nice and flat square on the wooden table!

In order to do that, you need the appropriate g-code of course. I search around a bit and found a software for that, but for some reason (bugs?) it wasn’t working well for me. For that reason and also because I wanted to learn Java Applet programming in a day :), I created a simple tool to create that square area for you.

Head over to CNC Tools page to find my online tool for for a flattening the CNC table. The tool will load into your browser and after you input your data it will give you the g-code and the estimated time to finish the job. You can test the generated g-code on a CNC simulator.

Let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or bug to report.

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