Hello all, this is my first post, I'm sorry if you have been asked this question hundreds of times before!
I make PCBs using photo/etch technique, I want to improve quality and production capacity. I am faced with a choice - do I buy an etch/develop tank or a CNC mill?
The tank would cost 300 pounds (I'm in the UK).
I am looking at mill alternatives now and understand that they will cost me more! However, the automation is very appealing, not to mention the accuracy. The bed would need to be about 20x20 cm, but that is not crucial.
I have seen a 'budget PCB CNC mill' on uk.farnell.com (it uses a basicstamp2 for stepper control) and while I'm sure it's up to the job you have to use their software and I already have my designs on ARES 7, from the Proteus package.
Is there an entry level mill that would do the job? I am still well within the 'hobby' sector!
I am confident I could fabricate the mill/gantry hardware and the axis controls if needs be if there is a widely accepted design that fits my needs, I do not need a generic CNC mill.
Thank you for reading,
Are you talking about making one-offs for prototyping or actually producing boards via routing/engraving? I would never consider engraving boards for production when you can get 25 to 100 boards made at a board house, double sided, plated through holes for under $4 each. A lot of the board houses even run specials, things like $100 off your first order and such.
Of course if you are doing one-offs, then an engraver could be good...