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Subject: Re: Is a PCB auto-hole-drilling machine available for under $1000?
Date: Tue, 03 Dec 2002 09:09:11 -0800
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.78 [en] (Win98; U)
Dave Bovee wrote:
> The big drag in designing and building electronic circuits is drilling all the
> stupid holes in the board after it's etched. Is there a fairly inexpensive
> ($500-$1000) x/y programmable machine available to drill small boards â€“ say,
> 6" x 6" max? Or are there plans available to build such a device? I'm a klutz
> with mechanical devices, but I'd try to build one.
> Or, failing that, how do the rest of you people do it? I've got a Dremmel
> drill press, and I can't drill twenty 0.1 centered holes in a row. I can
> usually manage to make a ratty-looking prototype, populated with
> crippled-looking ICs, but if the design works and I want a dozen more boards,
> the prospect of drilling thousands of holes drives me nuts. It's bad enough I
> have to solder them afterward.
> Any suggestions?
Yep, use surface mount parts. Cuts down dramatically on the number of holes
to be drilled.
I built a drill out of an old 3-axis IC probing gizmo and a dremel.
Biggest problem I had was aligning the board with the drill plan.
I'm too cheap to waste the extra material to add fiducials and use a
standard board size.
Had great fun building it, but hardly ever use it. By the time I dig the
cart out from behind the motorcycle and the tent and the other junk in the
garage, I could have drilled the board by hand. If you can clamp a block of
wood on your drill so you can slide the board along, you can get alignment in
at least one axis. IC pins are way more compliant on one axis.
I've thought about building a small sliding stage with detents that could be used
getting the holes in the right place. Or maybe the head/carriage motor and lead
out of a 3.5" disk drive to get just enough local motion to drill 10 holes in a
Some of the old 8" diskette drives have neat leadscrew arrangements.
People have used flatbed plotters. A serch for Dancad or Dancam will turn up
some interesting hardware used with that program. Still think a ready made 3-axis
surplus thingie will save a lot of grief.
Bunch of stuff For Sale and Wanted at the link below.
Tek 2465, TFT projector, ham radio, 30pS pulser
Tektronix Concept Books...
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