# DIY CNC PCB drilling machine maybe

#### 3v0

##### Coop Build Coordinator
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I already have more project then I can do but...

A while back I posted about a guy who figured out how to connect an inexpensive digital caliper to a PIC.

At school we have a loft of dead computers junk that includes a few printers. I was thinking that one could salvage the carriage and drive motor from two printers to make the XY table for CNC drilling PCBs. Connect one caliper to each axis for feedback.

The drive motors I have seen are brushed DC motors that one could drive with an H-Bridge. The motor drives a toothed belt without gear reduction. With some amount of work one should be able to come up with software. The hard part would be driving the motor such that you did not over or undershoot the desired position. Perhaps on would need to replace the motor with a gear reduction motor aka gearmotor.

I do not know a lot about PID but I think most algorithms are intended for use with continual feedback. The interface only provides 3 reading per second. It could be interesting.

What do you think?

#### Pommie

##### Well-Known Member
I think you would be better off using steppers and dead reckoning. I'm pretty sure that the motors in printers are mostly steppers any way. Have you seen www.cnczone.com/. A very informative site.

Mike.

#### 3v0

##### Coop Build Coordinator
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Pommie said:
I think you would be better off using steppers and dead reckoning. I'm pretty sure that the motors in printers are mostly steppers any way. Have you seen www.cnczone.com/. A very informative site.

Mike.

EDIT:
But I am fairly sure that they are very much into steppers and would say exactly what you did.

Last edited:

#### monkeybiter

##### Member
i've got more old/redundant pc's and printers than i have counted in a while. i have stripped a few of the printers with a view to doing just what you're describing, minus the feedback [at first at any rate ] all of the motors i've salvaged so far are steppers.
the head traverse is commonly driven with a direct drive to a toothed belt, to which the head is fixed. i want to go with leadscrews because i think it will allow for lower powered motors, and i'm not even slightly worried if that means low speed.
i may counter-balance the high speed drill to facillitate satisfactory vertical movement.
i'm also thinking about adding a rotary table of sorts, powered with a stepper, which would allow the engraving of cylindrical object such as napkin rings or maybe a cylindical, spherical or even 'mobius' pcb....
it will be a fun and interesting crossover project of electronics and light engineering.
like you i've got too many projects ongoing or waiting, so i hope you'll share your progress on this forum as well as the other.

#### picbits

##### Well-Known Member
Don't do it !!!!

You'll find yourself on the long expensive downward spiral constantly upgrading and building new machines to improve on what you've already got

I've still got to finish mine off but every time I start working on it again, someone offers me money to do some work for them and it gets put on the back burner again.

I've spent around £300 on mine so far and its almost finished but not in any state to actually do anything productive yet lol.

#### 3v0

##### Coop Build Coordinator
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picbits said:
Don't do it !!!!

You'll find yourself on the long expensive downward spiral constantly upgrading and building new machines to improve on what you've already got
That is called a money pit.

There is a CNC mill at school that I can use for milling so there is no need to have this do anything other then drill holes in PCBs. My thinking was to attempt to build a $100-$200 dollar CNC PCB drill mostly from old parts.

#### Boncuk

##### New Member
picbits said:
Don't do it !!!!

You'll find yourself on the long expensive downward spiral constantly upgrading and building new machines to improve on what you've already got

I've still got to finish mine off but every time I start working on it again, someone offers me money to do some work for them and it gets put on the back burner again.

I've spent around £300 on mine so far and its almost finished but not in any state to actually do anything productive yet lol.
I agree.

First you'll be satisfied drilling a few holes. Drilling different dia holes you start thinking about something more practical like a KAVO-drive with automatic tool change. At that point at the latest your salvaged stepper motors are getting useless because of the weight of the drive. With the KAVO drive you don't plan to drill PCBs of match box size. So you need new spindles and and, and ....

#### picbits

##### Well-Known Member
The problem is that you will get the CNC bug and want to build bigger better machines lmao.

All I need/want for this unit is a small machine that can drill a 4x4 PCB. The $50 price tag sounds good. I assume there are people at cnczone that have done this? The little CNC at work is a MAXNC which can only do non ferrous metals. If needed I could use it to help build the PCB drill. The teacher that runs the shop at school is a machinest. Maybe I can talk him into getting an old bridgeport and converting it over to CNC. That would save a few of the intermediate steps #### jbeng ##### Member Since you're using the MaxNC machine to mill the board, why aren't you using it to drill the holes too? Just curious ... Jeff #### theo92 ##### New Member The motor which I disassembled from my old samsung PATA HDD, 3.5" of course, looks like this one: I think this is a DC brushless motor. AM I correct ? What type of driver should be used with this one? I've a very cute idea, can it drive a small PCB drilling machine, can this motor generate such high torque,required for PCB drilling, preferably 1 - 1.2mm. Now I've a intense fear for PCB making, because I've to drill plenty of holes with my hand drill. it kills plenty of time,breaks many drill bits, sometime the hand drill's exterior get broken. Then I had to buy a new one. They dont have any electrican PCB drilling machine. Dremel press? huh!only a dream....fading now. So, I gonna make my custom PCB drilling press. First thing, I need to set up the main drilling mechanism. then the fancys. please help.... #### Sceadwian ##### Banned Why not use the power drill you already have and make a spring loaded jig for it? I'm gonna guess that motor wasn't meant for the speeds you're going to look for, Dremels use 30000 RPM, HDD's usually only spin around 7000, you're gonna want at least 10-15k I'm guessing. They're not really meant to drive torque, once an HDD is spun up there is very little load on it, so you're likley not gonna get what you want out of that. Last edited: #### theo92 ##### New Member Why not use the power drill you already have and make a spring loaded jig for it? I'm gonna guess that motor wasn't meant for the speeds you're going to look for, Dremels use 30000 RPM, HDD's usually only spin around 7000, you're gonna want at least 10-15k I'm guessing. They're not really meant to drive torque, once an HDD is spun up there is very little load on it, so you're likley not gonna get what you want out of that. Why not use the power drill you already have and make a spring loaded jig for it power drill? what's that? I also thought it, HDDs have very little load while spinning, it only have to move some platters, which are nothing respect to PCB drill. But I'll try Let see what other members tell us. #### Mike_2545 ##### Super Moderator Probably won't get much more than light duty use on it. It's plastic, so after a while the tolerences will get loose. #### duffy ##### New Member The little CNC at work is a MAXNC which I have a MAXNC mill. It has saved me countless hours cutting panel holes for connectors, displays, buttons, etc. Well worth the couple grand I spent on it. What software are you using? I'm actually typing the damn G-codes into a text editor by HAND. Whenever I check on prices for CAM software, it is all pretty insane. I bought "Bobcad-cam" a couple of years ago because it was the cheapest I could find, but it is woefully unimpressive and supports just a limited machine profile for the MAXNC. #### theo92 ##### New Member would this$95 XYZ table be adaquate for PCB routine and drilling guys?

3 Axis Machine
I love it. But cant buy it, coz I'm in india. I'll try DIYing it, inspiring by utube, will be hard though I'll give it a try.

##### Banned
Nothing worth doing is ever easy.

#### 3v0

##### Coop Build Coordinator
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So far I have only used the NC10 for drilling PCB holes. I have wanted to do other things but the list is long...

For PCB layout I use Eagle Lite. There is a ULP (user language program) called PCB-GCODE that will generate a a GCODE file from the PCB.

PCB-GCODE is actualy a PCB milling program and I hear it works well for that. But I was doing photo transfer prior to the CNC and see no reason to switch to milling.

We have soildWorks but no CAM program to generate file for the filling machine. If things have not changed we will be getting packages next year that will include a CAM package.

We have the probe and a the 4th axis attachment.

3v0