Mill Single or Dual-Layer PCBs with Ant’s Desktop CNC Machine

An open source electronics team known as the Ant Team has designed a new desktop PCB CNC mill capable of producing single or double-layer boards, which is a far cry from traditional machines that are large and can cost thousands of dollars. The Compact PCB Maker was created with several goals in mind — it had to be compact, low cost, robust, scalable, easy to build, and have an open license so anyone could make it.

Ant’s Compact PCB Maker features a USB micro camera and a series of bipolar stepper motors, and bCNC software to mill PCBs. (📷: The Ant)

On the hardware end, the Compact PCB Maker is outfitted with a series of bipolar stepper motors, including a pair of Nema-11 JK28HS51–674 for the X and Y axes, and a single LC1574W-04–025 for the Z-axis. A single Turnigy 2632 1000 kV outrunner brushless motor is used for the spindle head, which is controlled by an ECS, while the bipolar series use regular motor drivers. An STM32-based microcontroller runs the show, and most of the CNC mill use 3D-printed parts, which helps keep costs low.

The Compact PCB Maker is aligned using a USB micro camera that’s mapped using the bCNC software suite. The Ant Team has uploaded a repository for the mill on their Bitbucket page, complete with files folders, schematics, code, and a heavily detailed wiki that covers every facet of the machine. They also have a YouTube channel detailing the mill’s creation and its capabilities, as well as a Reddit community that offers support and interaction with different projects. Sadly, for the those who don’t own a 3D printer, the Ant Team does not provide the Compact PCB Maker for sale, even in kit form.

Mill Single or Dual-Layer PCBs with Ant’s Desktop CNC Machine was originally published in Hackster Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original article: Mill Single or Dual-Layer PCBs with Ant’s Desktop CNC Machine
Author: Cabe Atwell