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CNC Machining in PCB Assembly

Where PCB assembly meets CNC machining

CNC Machining in PCB Assembly image by Asharkyu (via Shutterstock).

No chemicals required: one of the main benefits of CNC machining in PCB Assembly. Image by Asharkyu (via Shutterstock).

Most electronics hobbyists create prototype projects on Veroboard, which is a perforated board. This is a popular option if you lack access to etching equipment, as used in PCB assembly. In the old days, you sketched a circuit board, created a transparent transfer, then used a UV box to add your circuit design to the board. The transfer is added to your board and placed into an etching tank.

With CNC machining, you don’t need an etching tank and the chemicals. The PCB is laser etched and milled onto the board. Your circuit is created using software which is fed to the CNC milling machine. Within minutes, your PCB emerges ready for soldering and drilling.

After you’ve created your PCB, each hole needs to be drilled meticulously. Once again, the CNC milling machine can take care of that. No more broken circuits due to ham-fisted drilling.

For precise work, CNC machining for PCBs are the best option. Even more so for complex circuitry and voltage tolerances. They can also be used for prototype which means no more Veroboard.

Not the cheapest option

If you’re a hobbyist, the etching tank and chemicals in your workshop are a cheaper option. Especially as CNC machines are around €3,500 – €10,000. CNC milling machines for PCB assembly are well within the price league of electronics companies.

A must-have for electronics companies

If you’re an electronics company noted for PCB assembly, they are a must in terms of productivity. More complex circuits can be created with ease. Environmentally, no more chemicals to dispose of after etching.

Stoney CNC, 19 June 2017.

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