(moved) PCB routing build platform for Thing-O-Matic

by MarcusWolschon, published

(moved) PCB routing build platform for Thing-O-Matic by MarcusWolschon Jun 17, 2011


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This is an alternative build-platform for the Thing-o-Matic.
(May also fit the Cupcake, You'll have to try.)

Using the ABP-quick-release ( http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:8878 )
you can quickly switch your automated build platform for this platform and using
the Repman toolhead adapter ( http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:8738 )
and Dremel Milling Toolhead ( http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1703 )
you can start milling PCBs.

Make mechanics, enclosures AND electronics on your desktop factory!

I'm currently preparing a video explaining all the steps
from printing the parts down to setting up VIsolate
for optimized voronoi milling and then actually
milling a spare Thing-o-Matic end-stop.

This is already version 1.2 of the platform while I used version 1.1 .
The difference is that you can level the platform using 4 small bolts now.

Blog Entry:





ComponentTraces.pho is a nice file to test this.
It is the upper side of the v1.2 mechanical end-stop for a Thing-o-Matic.
(You can have 3 additional end-stops + 1 emergency-stop -switch.)

In the video I describe the basics of running vIsolate
( http://sourceforge.net/projects/visolate/ )
to do optimized voronoi milling of that PCB.
There are lots of other programs to do the g-code generation too.

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Looks like someone designed a derivate platform for the Prusa Mendels.


prusa pcb holder
by atntias

Hi! I just wanted to drop some notes:

*) if the pcb is not supported on the whole underside, it will start to vibrate. This will cause the cutted sides of the copper to be very flakey, even if you manage to keep the cutting depth constant. Bad example from my side: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernhardkubicek/6925129909/in/photostream/lightbox/http://www.flickr.com/photos/b... see the shiny flake reflections.

*) For the relatively low cutting speeds, you might want to throttle the rotation speed of the tool to around 8000 rpm. A rule of thumb is for 600mm/min you want 20k rpm.

*) visolate (I did a lot of work on it) was rather dead the last time I looked (java3d ...). I prefer pcb2gcode, and made also a fork of it which features path optimization and simplified paths, so that a mill without blending movement control can go for it.

https://github.com/bkubicek/pcb2gcodehttps://github.com/bkubicek/pc... The major problem is to get it to compile

*) there is a script https://github.com/bkubicek/Metaboardhttps://github.com/bkubicek/Me... that converts a brd file directly to gcode, using pcb2gcode.

good work on your side, but I would be quite surprised if you achieved the milestone of one wire between two pads at 2.54mm distances, due to the limitations of the belts, and the flakes on the copper side, and the width of the groove. With a decent mill, the limit is around 0.6mm chip pitch. Curr
ently, I am working on a lasercut-able reprap style dedicated pcb mill. However with threaded spindles and linear bearings.
I did do a writeup once on milling here: https://metalab.at/wiki/PCB_CNChttps://metalab.at/wiki/PCB_CN...
the stuff on the reprap wiki you probably know anyway.

very nice greetings, and all the best,

Thanks for the insight.

I tried it a few times but that had to move on to other projects.

It worked "good enough" for some trivial milling.

So, are you up for updating the design according to what you have in mind?

Wow good work man! One step closer to creating an entire 3d printer with a 3d printer...


I'd like to patch vIsolate to parse "DRL - Gerber drill rack files" and also create the G-code for the drilling of the holes. (manual tool change.)
But I can't find a description of that file format. :(

I'm also planning to update the toolhead-adapter to use a third bolt to be more stable.
(The T
OM toolhead-mount is too unstable for the backlash or fast milling) and make the toolhead grab the flex-shaft on the upper side too to give more support.

With a servo (see the unicorn plotter head) one could tilt the milling head and allow
for the milling of proper ramps as you should not push a dr
um-shaped mill into the material vertically. (This will become important for thicker things then PCBs and effectively turns the TOM into a kind of small and limited 4-axis CNC mill. ;) )

...lots of areas where we can improve this further.

You are awesome Marcus! Thank you so much for all of your work!

I too would like to be able to drill with my Makerbot. I think this might be the information you need:

Excellon drill file format:


Let me know if this helps.