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CNC Machines With PCB / Case Modification In Mind

06/21/2011 11:20 AM

As an electronic technician I have an interest in making my own PCB but also in modifications to current hardware and cases.

I am looking for a CNC machine that is capable of simple dual layer autorouting ( by reversing the artwork to route the opposing side ) and also capable of simple case modifications like drilling and milling. The machine must be able to have an X-axis travel of at least 50 cm and Y-axis travel of 50 cm. I would prefer if the Z-Axis could have around 50 cm of travel as well, but this isn't absolute. If the unit can have a small array of interchangable tools of say 5 to 10 pieces that would be great and other preferences and considerations would be a camera with crosshairs along with software that runs on Windows XP. I prefer the interface to be USB but any other connection will be ok, like Ethernet, serial / parallel. Speed and torque are not terribly important, although I would like the unit to go down to ~1 RPM, accuracy is very important, the unit must also be durable as well as reliable and require a low level of maintenance. I plan on milling wood, mild steel and plastic. The unit also needs to be able to mill in vertical and horizontal axis. One final consideration is that the chuck must be able to accept drill bits down to 0.2 mm in size.

I have seen that Mazak gets a good rap, but in viewing their site I quickly realize I am well out of my depth and require some help.

Cheers,

Paul

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#1

Re: CNC Machines With PCB / Case Modification In Mind

06/21/2011 11:28 AM

"I am looking for a CNC machine that is capable of simple dual layer autorouting..." please explain. Do you intend to make PCBs by milling away the copper ?

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: CNC Machines With PCB / Case Modification In Mind

06/21/2011 8:21 PM

In the case of roughing out circuits yes. I also have to fix up a number of PCB I made using the wrong diameter of hole for a certain component. This isn't the primary function for the unit, I can make Vero board designs and simply cut tracks with a knife or Dremel now.

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#3

Re: CNC Machines With PCB / Case Modification In Mind

06/21/2011 10:31 PM

By, "by reversing the artwork to route the opposing side" do you mean that the router would follow the artwork traces to produce the circuit?

You have described a 3-axis machine center that has optical recognition allowing it to follow a pattern. CNC machines don't use physical patterns, they do it by following digital instructions.

Or, did you already know this?

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: CNC Machines With PCB / Case Modification In Mind

06/22/2011 7:02 AM

I used to program SMT machines so I am familiar with coordinates and alike, I am also an Assembler programmer ( Z80 / 6502 ) and PIC programmer. I am writing this because I believe any milling machine would be capable of milling out the tracks in copper on a PCB, this isn't my primary focus for wanting a milling machine though.

I searched around on Ebay and found things like this

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/CNC-3020-Router-Engraver-Drilling-Milling-Machine-NEW-/300558842202?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_15&hash=item45fab3f95a

Looks cheap and nasty.

I am looking for something that will do everything that I have described and I assume that most come with software to enable them to work from drawings in CAD / CAM software or have converters for such?

On a last note do most machines have a variable origin point or are they fixed?

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#5
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Re: CNC Machines With PCB / Case Modification In Mind

06/22/2011 7:21 AM

Generally there's a fixed absolute reference position for each axis.

Your working co-ordinate space can (obviously) be offset from this in software.

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#6

Re: CNC Machines With PCB / Case Modification In Mind

06/22/2011 10:09 AM

A small sherline cnc mill will cost around $3,000.00us and should do what you need. You need to contact them about what software is available.

http://www.sherline.com/

We use them in our machine shop for precision work.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: CNC Machines With PCB / Case Modification In Mind

06/22/2011 10:38 AM

From what I can see of their website their mills come with mounts for stepper motors but not the actual motors themselves and the overall travel of the axis isn't enough. I am looking for something more as a complete package which includes everything being software, stepper motors etc. or did I miss something?

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: CNC Machines With PCB / Case Modification In Mind

06/22/2011 10:50 AM
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#9
In reply to #8

Re: CNC Machines With PCB / Case Modification In Mind

06/22/2011 11:02 AM

They come with a motor for the milling chuck but not stepper motors for the axes, I just realized I kept writing axis instead of axes.

Could I ask people to consider the first post as that outlined the applications and requirements, I am looking for people's expertise in using milling machines that are accurate and computer controlled, preferably by USB thanks.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: CNC Machines With PCB / Case Modification In Mind

06/26/2011 8:46 AM

I went back and had a thorough look through Sherline's site and found where their full CNC milling machine with motors attached was, I would have liked more travel in the tables but their prices are unbeatable.

I will make some further inquiries with them but I would like to thank the people who contributed to this discussion, if I can return the favour regarding analogue synthesizers or related equipment, please ask.

Paul

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#11

Re: CNC Machines With PCB / Case Modification In Mind

07/04/2011 6:30 AM

Have a look at http://www.axyz.co.uk/

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