I always admire those hobbyists having a machinery workshop in their garage. But living in Singapore government housing basically deprived me of any wild wishes of having my own. It is not until I found Proxxon Micro Mill MF70, I see a glimpse of hope. The reason I choose MF70 is not only because of its compact size and “reasonably” affordable price, but more importantly it being “CNC Ready”. I can imaging it would extremely useful for PCB prototyping and building cases or panels for my upcoming projects. Backed by the huge MF70 CNC community, I stated the quest for my first ever computerized machine.

After some study I decided to use DIY USB controller plan from www.planet-cnc.com. In fact I simply bought a ready made USB controller from a Taobao seller together with a 3-axis Toshiba TB6560 based step motor driving board. I think it is much cheaper than building my own and since the schematic is open source, I won’t have much support issues. I also ordered 3 NEMA23 step motors (Moons brand 23HS0410-01, no specification whatsoever!) , a Mean Well 100W 24V switch mode power supplier from another Taobao seller. For the mechanical part I ordered a set of MF70 conversion kit from eBay seller mbbilici, a well know guy in the community. It took 2 weeks for the kit to be shipped from Turkey to Singapore but it well worth the waiting. After some more shopping from local Sim Lim market my CNC machine is just waiting to be assembled …

Oh? … Oh no I still need some more boards. I need a relay board to control MF70 main spindle. I need a keypad board for manual control, and I need a 24V ->; 5V regulator board for main controller power… Maybe other boards, who knows? But the relay board is definitely high priority because I need it now to plan the rest part of the casing.

Now it sounds like chicken-n-egg story. I need the MF70 CNC to make PCBs but now I need a PCB to build MF70 CNC. Any yet I do not want to waste money and time with a PCB house. So what to do? Let’s do a manual CNC 😉

( Here starts the keyboard saving part)

Relay board design
Relay board design, as simple as it looks
Sketch the routes
Manually sketch the routes
Manual PCB milling
Milling the track boarder
Board after milling
Board after milling
Peel off excessive copper
Peel off excessive copper
Board after sanding
Board after sanding
Finished relay board
Finished relay board

( No more lazy fingers)

So happen TODAY is my birthday. I spend half a day to work on the board and the balance write this blog. Did not go out enjoy much, but the level of happiness is unmatchable 😀

P.S.

1. Casualty of milling: 2×0.4mm and 1×0.8mm end mill bits when I overturn the table, still trying to locate the broken pieces before it pierces my foot. (Hope this will never happen after my CNC is ready)

2. Lesson learned: need to add light sources to the CNC machine plan.

One thought on “Manual PCB milling

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