For KiCad users who want to mill their circuit board designs on the Bantam Tools Desktop PCB Milling Machine, here are instructions to generate Gerber files that can be imported into the Bantam Tools Desktop Milling Machine Software.
What is KiCad?
KiCad is a popular, open-source app suite for designing circuit boards. It runs on Mac, Windows, FreeBSD, and Linux.
Where do I get KiCad?
You can download KiCad on the site.
Where can I find documentation about KiCad?
You can also find KiCad’s documentation on the site.
How do I get my board from KiCad into the software?
- In pcbnew, click the Plot button or File menu > Plot.
- Set plot format to Gerber.
- Select the layers for which you’d like to create Gerbers, which must include the top copper layer (F.Cu) and board outline layer (Edge.Cuts). Bottom copper layer (B.Cu) is optional, for when you have a double-sided board. See the screenshot below for reference.
- Make sure “Exclude PCB edge layer from other layers” is checked.
- Click the Plot button to generate your Gerber files.
If you have drills/holes in your board:
- First make sure you’re not using slotted or oval holes, as the software doesn’t support the G85 command which is used to make them. If you need a slot, make a row of overlapping holes that are a few thousandths of an inch larger than the tool and overlap by about half their diameter. For example, for a 1/32" (0.031") tool, make a row of 0.033" holes, with centers spaced 0.016" apart.
- Click the Generate Drill File button to open the Drill Files Generation window.
- Set your Output directory.
- Set Drill Map File Format to Gerber.
- Drill Units can be inches or millimeters.
- Set Zeroes Format to Decimal format.
- Keep all three Drill File Options unchecked.
- Set Drill Origin to Absolute.
- Click the Drill File button to generate the drill file.
How to Import Gerber Files to the Software
- In the software, click the Open Files button.
- Navigate to the directory that contains your Gerber files.
- Open the Gerber file containing the Top Copper layer, which usually ends in F.Cu.gbr.
- In the resulting dialog, ensure the correct files are selected for the Bottom (if you’re milling a double-sided board; usually ends in B.Cu.gbr), Outline (usually ends in Edge.Cuts.gbr), and Holes (usually ends in .drl). See the screenshot below for an example.
- Click Okay to finish opening the files.
Import dialog with all files selected.