Othermill for PCB prototyping?

I was just curious if anyone has experience using an Othermill or some other small scale mill for PCB prototyping?

We were just discussing pcb software in the attiny25/45/85 tread. The names that came up were eagle and diptrace. It was mentioned that diptrace is much easier to use, but I have no experience. I downloaded the program yesterday and will mess with it today. I’ll have to look into othermill as well.d

LightRider, Othermill is, well, an actual mill. :slight_smile:
subrosa, do you already have one or are you considering purchase to make pcbs? It’s way too expensive just for that, and you can use any cnc mill for pcbs. You just need to generate gcode from gerbers or dxf exported pcb layout.

Ahhh. An actual mill! :person_facepalming: never mind then. :slight_smile:

Having machined PCBs on a desktop mill (TAIG CNC) I would say it has it’s ups and downs and unless you are really in a rush just go with oshpark. Your first problem is tooling, I never tried those micro endmills, only low angle engraving bits but lets face it those micro end mills will break if you glance at them in a threatening manner. So the first problem is trace width, using engraving cutters you are really limited by how flat you can make the board and using micro endmills you are limited by how small you want to go and a lot of luck. PCBs are anything but flat, and the only way you are going to make them flat enough to get small features is with a vacuum table or super glue. Both work but can be a pain, not to mention how carefully the machine has to be trammed. Double sided boards become a pain because of the careful alignment needed and in the end your left with bare boards. Also the cut edges often have burs and are generally messy unless the cutter is brand new. Meanwhile oshpark can get you very precise boards, double sided, with solder mask, plated through holes, gold contacts, the works for a very reasonable price if you are just willing to be a little patient.

Also while I like the idea $3200 seems a bit steep for that mill. My taig all in was about $1500, that is the mill in CNC ready form, steppers, and gecko controller. Power supply I build from computer PSUs pulled from the dump and the computer running EMC2 is from the dump as well. With that I have a mill that can actually machine fairly sizeable parts, with good precision, plenty of power and it’s made from real metal. Now for PCB milling the taig has one problem, top spindle speed is 10K and running that for long times does get the bearings a bit toasty. But you can stick on any number of faster spindles for well south of $1700, from crazy water cooled ones from china, to rotozips and the like, I was even experimenting with very high speed air tools (dental drills lack bearing rigidity to spite there crazy 350K speeds). I if I was going to pick one I liked the brushless outrunner conversion where you replace a high powered RC brushless motor’s shaft with an off the shelf collet shaft and stick on some better bearings, crazy speeds, tons of power and speed control with the turn of a knob.

My friend who actually does the board design, after trying several programs settled on KiCAD, which if your computer savvy enough to make it work is very powerful and free.