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Author: Subject: CNC 3018
02GF74

posted on 16/12/20 at 12:32 PM Reply With Quote
CNC 3018

Anybody have experience of one of these cheap CNC 3018 models?

My intention is to make PCBs which supposedly it can, nothing overly complex (single sided, through board only components) and low volume = maybe a credit card size PCB once a month.

At around a 120 what can possibly go wrong??

Are they accurate enough and repeatable for 2 step process: first step for cutting the traces and second to drill the holes?


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coyoteboy

posted on 16/12/20 at 01:12 PM Reply With Quote
Cheaper and better quality results from somewhere like OSHPark, most of my boards have cost about 15 for 3off, double sided, soldermask and silkscreen in a nice purple hue. They can work with Diptrace files directly too, so no generation of gerbers and faffing with conversion.

The CNC may do it, almost certainly will in fact, but you won't be able to make small pitch surface mount pads etc as you'll need *tiny* cutters.

I thought about it for a while, then decided PCBs were better made by PCB houses and made myself a proper CNC converted metal mill instead.





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nick205

posted on 16/12/20 at 01:32 PM Reply With Quote
Don't know about the equipment you guys are discussing, but at work we design PCBs (thru hole and SMT, single sided and up to 8 layer) and have them manufactured for us by PCB makers. 5 prototype PCBs typically costs us about 75 with a 1 week delivery. Made very well, including plated holes (if required), solder resist etc. It just isn't worth the faff trying to make them in-house.

That said we have professional schematic and PCB software which outputs gerber files. The software isn't free and each user is trained and experienced in using it to get the best output from it.

Before spending any money I'd speak to a few PCB makers to find out what services they offer and at what prices.

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coyoteboy

posted on 16/12/20 at 02:21 PM Reply With Quote
Don't bother going to any of the big UK commercial manufacturers, the UK costs are vast. PCBtrain is about the cheapest and that used to be 75 quid at least, that cost was the thing that made me look at CNCing as it's just not practical if you are a home user - a couple of mistakes and you're 200 quid in the sink.

Cannot recommend these guys enough:
https://oshpark.com/

and for home use, this is free to a limited pin count (I've yet to hit it, including making addressable LED arrays and using large SMT packages)
https://diptrace.com/

The libraries are easy to use, footprints easy to make, you can find people's free libs online to work with and it uploads straight into OSH without needing to convert anything. We use Orcad in work, but I still revert to diptrace for my home stuff, even when I have access to 6K seats of orcad lol.





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nick205

posted on 16/12/20 at 02:58 PM Reply With Quote
When I say PCB manufacturers the ones my employer uses are actually "brokers". UK companies, which in reality source the PCBs from the far east, hence the more sensible pricing. We use Altium schematic and PCB software. I don't know the per seat cost, but it certainly won't be home/hobby type money.
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02GF74

posted on 16/12/20 at 04:24 PM Reply With Quote
the purpose is for rapid prototyping - I would consider using a commercial PCB manufacturer once the board is tested - it will be too costly and take too long ordering one off boards.
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HowardB

posted on 16/12/20 at 08:55 PM Reply With Quote
Altium is 4,000 per seat - ongoing costs are probably circa 1000 pa





Howard

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lsdweb

posted on 16/12/20 at 11:33 PM Reply With Quote
I bought one at the start of the year, it sh*t itself within a day and the Chinese suppliers refused to sort it out . The replacement part was too expensive to justify so it now sits in an annoying corner of my garage!

Wyn

quote:
Originally posted by 02GF74
Anybody have experience of one of these cheap CNC 3018 models?

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Bluemoon

posted on 17/12/20 at 09:14 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by lsdweb
I bought one at the start of the year, it sh*t itself within a day and the Chinese suppliers refused to sort it out . The replacement part was too expensive to justify so it now sits in an annoying corner of my garage!

Wyn

quote:
Originally posted by 02GF74
Anybody have experience of one of these cheap CNC 3018 models?



This, too much cheapness. Not rigid enough, spindle iffy, some nice YouTube videos on that CNC, probably not worth the hassle for PCB work.

For PCBs better to send them out - surprisingly cheap, used Chinese PCB house in the past, very cheap per board.

Dan

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watsonpj

posted on 17/12/20 at 12:57 PM Reply With Quote
Lsdweb what part broke as general parts are really cheap as its mostly the same stuff thats on RP machines. I'm interested as I was thinking of getting one just to play.
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lsdweb

posted on 17/12/20 at 01:51 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by watsonpj
Lsdweb what part broke as general parts are really cheap as its mostly the same stuff thats on RP machines. I'm interested as I was thinking of getting one just to play.


I can't remember ! I'll dig it out and try it again over the next few weeks. We're locked down again from.the 28th so I'll have time to try it!

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peter030371

posted on 17/12/20 at 02:46 PM Reply With Quote
Not used that machine myself but years ago I used to mill double sided PTH boards here at work when we HAD to have prototypes in <24 hours.

I used a Bungard machine to mill and a Mega plating line for the PTH. You will need VERY good depth control. I used to mill down to 10mil track and gap OK, could do a little 8mil track and gap at a push providing it wasn't all over the board. Used to drill, route top, route bottom, plate and than cutout.

Sharp cutters are key, each cutter would only do a few boards before it lost its edge.

Lots of places do fast or cheap boards now so stopped doing it in house >10 years ago. For cheap stuff we have recently been using jlcpcb.com and had no problems. I wouldn't use them for multilayer, impedance matched or RF heavy boards but for low volume hobby stuff they are good.

We have 4 Altium licences, I used to use Protel 99 like an extension of my hand Now I pay other people to do it! It costs us >5k a year to maintain these license and it makes my eyes water thinking what the original purchase price was

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coyoteboy

posted on 18/12/20 at 01:57 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 02GF74
the purpose is for rapid prototyping - I would consider using a commercial PCB manufacturer once the board is tested - it will be too costly and take too long ordering one off boards.


Well, I give in I bet my bottom dollar you'll scrap the idea after trying it and realising how hard it is to set up, calibrate and operate something well enough.

By far the quicker solution is to get a laser printer and some acetates and use the toner transfer method (either direct transfer or masking via acetates) but then you have to store some etchant too.

You get nothing free in this world, and my experience with making my own CNC, is that they're neither easy or cheap to set up and run properly.





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Tatey

posted on 18/12/20 at 03:42 PM Reply With Quote
I would highly recommend PCBWay who are a Chinese PCB house. It's $28 delivered for 10 board, max size 100mm X 100mm. 24 Hr production time, 3-7 day ship time by DHL, 2 layers with silk screen. The quality I have had from them is very good.

I'd also recommend KiCAD which is a free open source PCB software to design and make the Gerber files.

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02GF74

posted on 21/12/20 at 12:16 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by coyoteboy
quote:
Originally posted by 02GF74
the purpose is for rapid prototyping - I would consider using a commercial PCB manufacturer once the board is tested - it will be too costly and take too long ordering one off boards.


Well, I give in I bet my bottom dollar you'll scrap the idea after trying it and realising how hard it is to set up, calibrate and operate something well enough.

By far the quicker solution is to get a laser printer and some acetates and use the toner transfer method (either direct transfer or masking via acetates) but then you have to store some etchant too.

You get nothing free in this world, and my experience with making my own CNC, is that they're neither easy or cheap to set up and run properly.


I hear what you are saying but the question was has anyone experience of this CNC router for making PCBs

Anyway, I'm scrapping that idea, so other option may be a 3D printer or go the UV masking route (I've got all the parts for this apart from an A4 glass sheet).

I have tried the laser printer method using the correct transfer paper but found the ink does not give 100% coverage so the acid can eat small holes in the tracks (addressed by painting over the tracks but that is time consuming).

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coyoteboy

posted on 22/12/20 at 01:59 AM Reply With Quote
quote:

I hear what you are saying but the question was has anyone experience of


Fair enough, just wanted to save you wasting time based on my experience with a better one &#128514;

[Edited on 22/12/20 by coyoteboy]





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