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#nodela ##A Simple Interface for the Roland MDX-15/20

nodela was developed for PCB fabrication using the MDX-15/20 milling machines. It is an interface for quickly sending PCB designs and toolpaths from an Eagle .brd file to the milling machine.

Video tutorial on preparing your Eagle design for nodela

Video tutorial on setting up and running a job on the Modela


Nodela connects directly over a serial connection, so it can work on any operating system. However, your mill must be connected using a serial cable that works with your computer. The cable that comes with the Roland will only work on Windows, so you'll have to change the cable to work on other platforms.

See this tutorial for how to properly connect a serial cable to the Modela's RS-232 output.

You'll have to make sure the RS-232 25-pin to 9-pin adapter is wired correctly (I had to do some soldering), and then make sure you're cable's drivers are installed on your computer.

###Installing the node-webkit app on OSX

Simply download this repository, and run the app by double clicking node-webkit/Mac/ The icon can also be dragged down to the dock for to make it easier to start, just like any other app.

###Installing the NodeJS server for other platforms

Nodela can also be run as a simple NodeJS server on other platforms (OSX, Windows, Linux), using the following steps:

NodeJS and npm must already be installed on your computer.

Download .zip, or using Git:

git clone

Install dependencies with npm:

cd nodela
npm install

To run with NodeJS from the command line:

node nodela.js

Open a browser window (Chrome, Firefox, etc) and point it to localhost:8080, and the interface will prompt you to drag your .brd Eagle file onto the screen.


####Run straight from your .brd Eagle File

No need to export from Eagle. Simply drag and drop your .brd file into the browser, and your design will be loaded. The interface is currently searching for only three things in your design file:

  • Wires
  • Part Holes
  • Vias

This means a board will be predominantly shaped by the Wire elements found in your design. See THIS TUTORIAL on how to prepare your design for the nodela. For the lazy check out this ULP, but your final board will be of lower quality.

####Jog the bit to select origin

Mill anywhere on your copper plate by jogging the head around. The interface will also mirror your design for when milling the bottom of your PCB.

####Automatic speed and plunge settings

By selecting the current bit and cut depth, nodela will decide the best settings to run at. This will prevent bits from breaking, and greatly decrease your cut time.

####New Bed Design

Repository also includes a redesigned bed plate, in order to avoid using any tape. The file inside ./resources was designed to be laser cut into flat delrin.

With the newly cut delrin plate attached to the Roland, attach a 1/8 inch end mill. Click Load Facing Plan in the interface, and run the job to face the delrin and drill holes. Remove the plate when finished, and hammer 4-40 threaded inserts into the holes.