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  1. Looks like fun- what is your plan for this, are you going to be milling PCBs for prototyping? Does that work well for fine-pitch parts? Or is it for sign or badge-making, etc.?

    1. I just want to learn the ins and outs of milling PCBs first hand. Hopefully not loose an eye or finger.

  2. I own a 3040 and I use Mach 3 for control using an old laptop. I’m sure there are free alternatives.My emergency switch doesn’t work either, I once looked at the controller board and I think it’s missing the emergency switch pullup.

    Mine came with the aluminium cutting board badly bent and inclined, and the structure is a little twisted too. There’s about 1mm of Z depth difference from one corner to the other of the cutting area which makes the thing completely useless, so I replaced the aluminium board with a self-planarized wood board that acts as a martyr too, and I just drill goles for clamps on-demand until the board gets too wrecked or wet from lubricants and I get a new one.

    Anyway for PCB manufacturing you NEED to have some sort of multi-point capable depth gauge (a pogo pin acting as a switch with the PCB copper for example) and a software to compensate for the depth variation, as you need sub 0.1mm accuracy to get anything decent. Also V-cut engraving bits are guaranteed to break if you try to eyeball the depth.

    With the brushed 230W stock spindle and using the appropriate bits I’ve done several plastics, aluminium, wood and lots of fiberglass laminate parts.

    1. One thing to remember is that in this implementation the emergency switch is nothing but a logic signal going up to whatever controls the machine – ie. it’s not hard-wired to stop anything directly. If your controller software is not configured correctly to handle it (or is just busy doing something else, like say it just crashed) it won’t do anything at all.

      I’ve been doing PCB tests with my 3020 without any depth sensing hardware or height-compensating software, it works just fine – all you need is an MDF board milled flat before you start and paying proper attention when you set the height, carefully. No, the v-tip doesn’t break if you take a little care to do it properly (but it definitely will if you’re being clumsy or impatient – watch your feeds and think of v-tips as consumables, you WILL break the tip of at least a few until you learn), and in my experience a 100 x 160 PCB could be milled quite satisfactorily with no more than a 0.06mm depth setting and a 0.2mm point 40deg. v-tip.

      Spreading some light oil on the surface of the PCB before cutting is optional – it lubricates the cutting process and it also keeps copper dust locked in instead of flying around, but not everyone is doing it. The other thing to remember is to not get scared when the end result is not perfectly burr free – a light scrubbing with a “scotch brite” type pad will clean it up to perfection if one didn’t screw anything else up.

      Finally the thing to remember is to keep one’s expectations reigned in – producing hobby quality PCBs at DIP or SOIC (and large-ish passive SMD) level is quite doable, but one might find milling footprints for many of today’s high-pitch ICs is a much more hit-and-miss thing, if ever successful at all. Oh, and as far as software goes – Visolate, LineGrinder and FlatCam is your friend… ;)

  3. My uncle has one of these, the emergency stop is nothing more than a logic input. It needs to be mapped in the software, and could be virtually anything you want. Hell it could be your start button if you wanted. Bizarre design that…

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