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Old 21st Jan 2020, 4:24 pm   #1
electronwilly
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Default PCB CNC Chinese router.

Can anyone recommend a cheap Chinese router for PCB milling, cheers Billy G7LER.
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Old 21st Jan 2020, 6:25 pm   #2
merlinmaxwell
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Default Re: Pcb cnc Chinese router.

I wouldn't bother, go for photo etching anytime if doing at home. At work we have a non cheap one (many thousands of pounds) it is rubbish. Also you can get PCBs made in China very cheaply with a week turnround, they are very good indeed. They seem to insist on DHL or TNT for delivery (15 quid tops, mind you I have never tried a cheaper option) the cost of the boards is a fraction of that.
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Old 21st Jan 2020, 7:06 pm   #3
whiskas
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Default Re: Pcb cnc Chinese router.

try
www.pcbway.com
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Old 21st Jan 2020, 7:09 pm   #4
Sinewave
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Default Re: Pcb cnc Chinese router.

Any particular reason why it needs to be Chinese?
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Old 21st Jan 2020, 8:41 pm   #5
G0HZU_JMR
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Default Re: Pcb cnc Chinese router.

I've not used any of the Chinese routers but someone has produced a guide here for using one particular Chinese model:

https://forum.electricunicycle.org/t...op-cnc-router/

The results look quite good although a lot depends on the skill, patience and sympathy of the operator.

My experience is with T-Tech and LPKF machines and this dates back to the early 1990s. Give any of these professional machines to a novice and they will declare them a waste of time and the chances are they will break several tools, they will produce poor results and maybe even damage the router. Let an experienced operator use the machine and the results will be extremely good. I base the above on nearly 30 years' experience using these machines.

I think this 'operator' issue will be even worse with the cheaper Chinese variants. I think it will require some determination and skill to get similar results to the PCBs shown in the link above.
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Old 21st Jan 2020, 9:35 pm   #6
merlinmaxwell
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Default Re: Pcb cnc Chinese router.

The real problem with routed PCBs is the force required to remove the copper, very small tracks (0.25mm width is very common today) tend to be ripped off, or nearly so, even before you start soldering.
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Old 22nd Jan 2020, 12:27 am   #7
G0HZU_JMR
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Default Re: Pcb cnc Chinese router.

I think a lot depends on the quality of the machine and the tools used. 0.25mm is 0.010" and tracks milled to this width should be quite robust when milled with one of the professional machines. Fresh and sharp tools are needed and the bearings in the machine need to be healthy too. Otherwise the traces can quickly become ragged.

I have a couple of the classic T-Tech 7000S machines here and these can mill traces down to 0.004" with the relevant (expensive!) 0.004" end mill tool. However, it quickly gets very expensive to mill traces this fine because the tool life of a 0.004" end mill is quite short. I rarely use an end mill that is less than 0.014" for this reason but the pointed 'vee' tools can mill fine traces down to 0.008" quite reliably if the machine uses a reliable system to set the cutting depth.

https://t-tech.com/shop/product/quick-circuit-qc7000/

These days it would be bonkers to use one of these machines to mill large 'digital' boards that have lots of fine data bus traces in parallel because it would take absolutely ages to mill each board and it might wear out an expensive tool just on one PCB. In this case it would be much better and cheaper to order a PCB from China.

These machines are at their best when milling fairly small and simple RF boards on exotic PCB materials like Rogers 4003C, especially if the board needs to be a strange shape with custom apertures and even more so if several iterations of a printed filter design are needed in a short time. That is what I mainly do with mine and the same applies at work. They can also be used to make laminated tools or front panels or 'emergency' piggy PCBs that can be added to a regular PCB to prove a modification ahead of a design review etc.
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Last edited by G0HZU_JMR; 22nd Jan 2020 at 12:36 am.
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Old 22nd Jan 2020, 9:15 am   #8
Craig Sawyers
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Default Re: Pcb cnc Chinese router.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinewave View Post
Any particular reason why it needs to be Chinese?
Cost. I use pcbway (already mentioned above by whiskas). Five large circuit boards, USD10. After shipping and VAT the total is less than 40. I send the Gerbers to Shenzhen on Monday and they hit the doormat on Friday. And are superb quality.

Just for laughs I sent the same set of Gerbers to a couple of UK boardhouses, apparently recommended for low price, and the best price was 400 on two week delivery.

Kind of clear why Chinese!

Craig
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Old 24th Jan 2020, 4:35 pm   #9
See_Mos
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Default Re: PCB CNC Chinese router.

I agree with Craig and I have been using Elecrow and the boards have been really good.

My last order was 6 for 10 boards of the same design 100mm square, single sided with solder resist and silk screen, plus 20 for 5 day post.

I did try the cheaper airmail option but had to wait three weeks for them to arrive.
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Old 27th Jan 2020, 4:48 pm   #10
Gabe001
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Default Re: PCB CNC Chinese router.

Quote:
Originally Posted by electronwilly View Post
Can anyone recommend a cheap Chinese router for PCB milling, cheers Billy G7LER.
I've read good things about the cnc3018pro, but don't own one myself. Don't think you need the lasers for PCB milling but read about it and judge for yourself. Best prices on AliExpress, but find a seller that ships from europe.
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