Printed circuit board milling-Hardware-
A PCB milling system is a single machine that can perform all of the required actions to create a prototype board, with the exception of inserting vias and through hole plating. Most of these machines require only a standard AC mains outlet and a shop-type vacuum cleaner for operation.
Software for milling PCBs is usually delivered by the CNC machine manufacturer. Most of the packages can be split in two main categories - raster and vector.
Software that produces tool paths using raster calculation method tends to have lower resolution of processing than the vector based software since it relies on the raster information it receives.
The mechanics behind a PCB milling machine are fairly straightforward and have their roots in CNC milling technology. A PCB milling system is similar to a miniature and highly accurate NC milling table. For machine control, positioning information and machine control commands are sent from the controlling software via a serial port or parallel port connection to the milling machine's on-board controller. The controller is then responsible for driving and monitoring the various positioning components which move the milling head and gantry and control the spindle speed. Spindle speeds can range from 30,000 RPM to 100,000 RPM depending on the milling system, with higher spindle speeds equating to better accuracy, in a nutshell the smaller the tool diameter the higher RPM you need. Typically this drive system comprises non-monitored stepper motors for the X/Y axis, an on-off non-monitored solenoid, pneumatic piston or lead screw for the Z-axis, and a DC motor control circuit for spindle speed, none of which provide positional feedback. More advanced systems provide a monitored stepper motor Z-axis drive for greater control during milling and drilling as well as more advanced RF spindle motor control circuits that provide better control over a wider range of speeds.
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