In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to make PCBs using the CNC milling machine. First of all, we need to know what is this machine.
ProtoMat ® S62 LPKF
It is a milling machine or CnC created for quick and quality PCB manufacturing. The S62 has a very high accuracy with a system resolution of 0.01 mils (0.25 microns). The milling and drilling machine can all types of PCB with extremely fine traces. The milling spindle speed of up to 6 “(150 mm) per second and a 62,000 RPM. The tool change is automatic, which gives us the option of using 10 tools that are replaced automatically by machine.
|Minimum Track Width||4 mils (0.1 mm)|
|Minimum Isolation Width||4 mils (0.1 mm)|
|Minimum Drill Hole Diameter||6 mils (0.15 mm)|
|Working Area (X/Y/Z)||229 mm x 305 mm x 38 mm (9” x 12” x 1.5”)|
|Resolution||0.01 mil (0.25 µm)|
|Milling motor rpm||62,000 rpm|
|Tool change||automatic, 10 positions|
|Drilling speed||150 holes per minute|
|Travel speed (max)||6” per second (150 mm per second)|
|X/Y positioning system||3-phase stepper motors|
|Z drive||F-Theta, F2 160|
|Integrated head lighting||Included|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||25.6″ x 21″ x 31.5″ (650 mm x 510 mm x 800 mm)|
|Weight||121 lb (55 kg)|
|Power supply||120/240 V, 50 -60 Hz/200 VA|
|USB computer connection requirement||USB 1.1 port or better|
|Optional accessories||Integrated vacuum table top; fiducial camera alignment system|
|Optional fiducial camera USB computer connection requirement||Additional USB 2.0 port|
|Specifications are subject to change without notice|
You can see more downloading the datasheet from this link: =>http://www.lpkfusa.com/downloads/support/docs/man_s62.pdf
Contour Router: Strawberry cutting edge or boundary, serves mainly to cut our PCB.
Universal Cutter: Strawberry Run, is what creates the initial outline of our design, as well as a minimum isolation.
End Mill: It is responsible for creating the isolation of the tracks and paths.
Drill: Son drill bits, which are responsible for conducting drills.
After a brief introduction of the machine, I will highlight the software that came with the CNC to create the PCB’s.
But before I forget, I have to stand out the Gerber / Excellon exported Layout process, in this case with Proteus.
Exporting Gerber / Excellon with Ares
What is the Gerber and Excellon file?
Gerber: Gerber files are ASCII files containing coordinate information and types of lines, which allows the Plotter or milling machine to create designs created by Layout.
Excellon: Excellon files contain all the information we need to make our PCB drilling and roads and pads. Like the Gerber, are also generated with the layout.
How to export files in Ares?
First we have to get into Ares and open our project, since we had already finished.
Now we will create the Gerber / Excellon files, export data to design a Circuit Cam.
Simply go to the bar Output>> Gerber / Excellon Output menu, as we see in the next picture.
Then it will be prompted a message which tell us to make a checking of our design, we click on “Yes” and start making the checks, which takes seconds.
Once finished, we will see a new window where you select the path where we are going to export the files, if you want to save it as. * Zip or. * Txt and layers that we want to export our design.
In our case, we will select 4: Top Copper, Copper Botom, Drill and Mech1 (that we have created a framework like Mech1 first layer).
When you press OK, we would have finished the part of Ares, and we could move to the next point, in our case Circuit Cam which I will explain below.
So we have the Circuit Cam, which is a software that allows you to import data from any PCB CAD package. Besides that allows us to edit, modify, create multiple utilities, Checks Design Rules, set the isolation, etc. So then, I will explain how to use this software in the next tutorial:
How to use Circuit Cam?
Once we have the Gerber / Excellon exported Layout (Ares in our case), we will open the Circuit Cam software to perform a series of modifications to our prototype.
Inside the Circuit Cam application, we can see the program and the number of options available. As explained above, this is a Layout program and allows us to make the changes we want in the design.
In this case we will provide insulation and set the boundary area for cutting, first of all we will be doing is importing Gerber / Excellon files.
We click on the option on the left sidebar “Import”, as seen in the next photo, select the exported copper Ares as CADCAM Bottom, Top copper, Mechanical1, Drill files.
Once selected, a new window appears us with the layers we’ve added, and we will change the “Layer” option, setting the layer corresponding to each file in “File name”, as seen in the pictures.
After the above, the next step is to click on the option that is right under import (in the left sidebar) “Contour routing”, this option is to set the Contour Cutting.
We have to select the layer “Cutting outside”, modified to our liking, we will execute the changes.
Then we have to make the insulation layers. The option is in the menu bar >>Tool path>> Isolate.
We are loading a new window and we have to make the insulation in two parts:
First isolation of the bottom, we will leave the default tools, it is important that you have to change the settings to 1.2mm wide.
Finish it to execute the changes.
Now we have to repeat the same process but with the side Copper Top, and likewise execute, to apply the changes.
Having done this, we can save the file and it would be all set for the software export control CnC, Master Boad.
To do this, we have the option in the left sidebar “Export LPKF circuit board plotter.”
If we had opened the Board Master 5.0 when exported, it would open the file automatically in soft.
Secondly we have the Master Board program, which is an intelligent control software for milling plotter LPKF brand. This software processes the data for milling and drilling, that have been created previously Circuit Cam.
I’m also going to show you how to use this software in the next tutorial:
How does Board Master work?
First we will open the Master Board software, to get familiar with the options and then explain how to work with a PCB.
Main Program Overview
Here you can see a number of program options:
LMD File Import
Open job file
Enable zoom from mouse
Zoom x1.5 + to the cursor position
Zoom – a x1.5 to the cursor position
View area of material
Overall view of the work area
The first table is for tool selection
The second is to select the work or phase
Opens the configuration
Open tools library
Open the Toolbox
Start the engine head
Parking: returns to the start position or pause
Home: Returns to the Home position
Movement to position 0 user
Displacement in Z and X, Y, Z coordinates
Enables the selection rectangle
Move the entire project
Copy project selection
Add selected segments
Remove selected segments
Add all segments
Remove all segments
Once the options are explained in the program, we will explain how to create our PCB, with a design of a minimum microcontroller system, in the next tutorial:
How to work with Master Board?
Previusly I’ve explained how to use Circuit Cam selecting the cutting area of the plate and establishing isolation. Completed these steps, we have to export from Circuit Cam the result as a DML file using the “Export LPKF circuit board plotter” option.
If we have opened Master Board, our design we appear on the Workspace directly, if not, turn on the machine and opened Board Master to access the option:
File>> Import LMD / LPR …
Once you have imported design, we have to place it on the part of the work area where we can work with, in terms of our copper plate.
To place the plate, we have to move with the option to move the project completely.
Now we will move the head manually scrolling options X, Y, Z, in the corners of the design to make sure we can work properly without touching on the fiducial points, or exits the area of copper. Finish this send to the Parking.
Logically copper plate must have made the fiducial points, to have the attachment points.
The fiducial points we have established as follows: 5mm to the right of the Home position the fiducial point on the left, and the right to the first point 287 made).
In the next step we have to select the tools to work, to do this we click on the option to open the toolbox.
We get the following window and we will have to select the right tools in the left frame (10 tools important for us, otherwise we will have to do it for parts or re-edit the layout of Ares changing the diameters of the Drill).
(invalid case: +10 tools can be seen in the right picture)
While we are selecting tools in the left frame with the door open machine, we gradually introduce the necessary drills or cutters, the machine asks us.
Selected all the tools, close the lid and press Ok for changes to be established.
Important Always save the file, because if we lose the job, we would have to start over.
Now we can start creating the PCB, we will split:
To do this select the phases on the phase where the job is selected.
1- First we will make the holes in the PCB, selecting the “Drilling Plated” option.
Then we click on the “All +” selection option for selecting all the drills and then will press “Start” to begin the CNC work.
The “+” option allows you to add segments or individual work, it is advisable to use for testing.
2- We will make Milling Bottom face.
The milling face corresponds to Bottom Layer face, for it will select “Milling Bottom” and as in the previous step, select “All +” and “Start”.
3- Top Milling face.
Then we will get to work with Top face, so we must turn to the plate forward. Flipped, we will select “Milling Top” face, to create the Bottom Layer.
4- Finally we have to make the cut, selecting the option “Cutting Outside”. We must not turn back the plate.
Very important, in every phase change, make Quickcheck to deposit the machine tool into its correct position.
Finally add, obviusly, while the machine is working you should not open the lid and always have to wait out the work that we command.
Once you have finished making the cut, you can open the door of the machine and see the result. Here is an example picture:
When finished the job, we can take bits and strawberries to keep them in their boxes (if we point the distance traveled by the strawberry best to keep track of life). Then close the Master Board program for the state machine returns to Standby.
Finally, turn off the machine from the inside switch, and we will vacuum to clean the remains of copper chip.
This is the result with all components soldered: