|Remember to always; clean up and return the equipment to a fully functional, safe state before you leave. This includes returning any safety mechanisms to fully working order.|
ProtoMat PCB Mill
A small, precision milling machine for prototyping circuit boards. It can also be used for engraving of faceplates and other items if the proper bits are used. This unit was made in approximately 1999 by the German company LPKF Laser & Electronics AG. It uses standard 1/8" shank bits, 38mm for cutting the board and 36mm for cutting and milling the copper. The 38mm length is pretty standard, but the 36mm bits are more specialized.
- Ownership: Paul xx%, Nate B xx%, Nate W xx%, Matt O xx%, Roger S xx%, etc.
- Location: This machine is located on the work table in the middle of the shop near the large CNC machine.
- What it looks like:
- Make/Model: LPKF ProtoMat - Model C30/S
- Part Number:
Before using this machine, you must meet with someone who is experienced in using it. The bits are expensive and easily broken, and you must be careful when using the machine as there is a risk of injury if it is not used safely.
Things that Need to be Done
- Why does the ProtoMat make the final cut to separate my circuit board from the PCB stock offset from where it mills the circuits?
- If you are making a bottom-layer-only board, the CircuitCAM software still puts the cutout milling layer on the top. In BoardMaster, pick Configuration / Phases and choose the cutting phase. Check the "Reversed side" box to put the cutting paths in this phase on the bottom. The cuts, drills, and mills are all assigned to "phases" which roughly correspond to the layers in CircuitCAM. Each phase works on one side of the board. What it's doing in your case is that it is expecting you to flip the board over so it's cutting from the top side, so it's cutting where your board would be if you flipped it over. Since you're making a single-sided board, you should not need to do this. (You remembered to add in bridges so your board doesn't fly out, right?)
- Why are some of the pads for components on my board missing? The area where they would be is milled out and the trace that would connect to the pad just stops there.
- If the missing pads are octagons or some other non-round shape, then the problem is that these are special "flash" element codes in the Gerber file that CircuitCAM does not seem to render. There are two options. One fix is to go back to your PCB design application and change the pads to circular pads. In Eagle, you might have to edit the symbol for the component(s) in the Library file that they are drawn from. The other alternative is to fix the pad sin CircuitCAM. Pick Config / Format Configurations / Gerber - Aperature list ... from the menus, double-click the configuration that has it's Used check box checked (do NOT use the edit button!). Find the aperatures (e.g., D11), edit each one (click the name and then the edit button - do NOT double-click the name!). In the edit window, choose the correct shape and make sure the size is correct. Make sure to save your work.