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Questions about the BatchPCB service

Moderator: robacarp

By rf333
#67046
Hi,
I’m looking for good CNC machine for PCB.
I found one http://www.accuratecnc.com.
What do you think about it ?
(LPKF & T-TECH second hand are more expensive !)

I’m going to use it for RF & PCB prototyping.

Thank you in advance !
By TheDirty
#67050
There's alot of discussion abount CNC PCB prototyping on the Homebrew PCB yahoo group.
User avatar
By ohararp
#67137
rf333. I would definitely recommend this machine! I almost bought one but got an epilog laser instead. The big thing about this process is the thru hole plating you will need to do to get your boards with two-sided tracing. you can got to my blog www.ohararp.com/blog and look at the March 17, 2008 post to see some pictures of a sample Chris cut for me.
By rf333
#67244
ohararp wrote:rf333. I would definitely recommend this machine! I almost bought one but got an epilog laser instead. The big thing about this process is the thru hole plating you will need to do to get your boards with two-sided tracing. you can got to my blog www.ohararp.com/blog and look at the March 17, 2008 post to see some pictures of a sample Chris cut for me.
Hi @ohararp,

Thank you very much for your response.
I think the machine is suitable for my needs (mainly prototyping):
- 2 layers PCBs with QFP64/QFP100, 8 mils traces
- full copper rubout (for our FR filters & antennas)
- stencils
I have tested the PhCNC demo software with our gerbers – it seem good enough. On the main page (www.accuratecnc.com) are visible a few samples with good quality …

“thru hole plating” is not a big problem, specially for prototypes. For me the time for development and prototyping is much more important.

So, I’m going to order A360 with camera and PhCNC pro (stencils are included in Pro only). There are few good options: cabinet & vacuum, … but may be later :)

P.S. I found one refurbished Accurate 350 (ebay), but 360 seems to be better choice (USB & camera)!
By marianmp
#67690
I strongly recommend Accurate 360. I have got one, equipped with camera 6 months ago. It is excellent.
Use to have Protomat C60 by LPKF, this one is better because of motorized Z axis. The software is good and very friendly.

Now I am looking for thru hole plating.
What I found at LPKF site is a technology using conductive ink, no tanks, no acids. About 35 minutes.
Lately Chris (http://www.accuratecnc.com) told me that they are working on their own process similar to the one offered by LPKF.

If somebody knows, other technology/manufacturer for thru hole plating (connection) without chemistry, I will be glad to hear from.
By rf333
#70163
Thank you all for reply !
I got my machine 4 days ago.
Here is may first board (Atmel’s ATR2406-DEV-KIT2) made on it:
Image
Actually it looks a lot better than the picture :)

Machining time is ~ 15 min (according to software), it took me 20 more minutes in search of the tools :)
My first impressions are very good: rock solid built, easy to use software

I got the camera option and the Pro software, but decide not to order professional vacuum.
Now I think it’s needed because the one that I am using is too noisy.

My total cost a little bit over 7000 EUR
Here is what I ordered:
The machine: http://www.accuratecnc.com/A360.html
Camera option: http://www.accuratecnc.com/A104.html
PhCNC Pro: http://www.accuratecnc.com/A106.html

Definitely good for the money!

P.S.
I checked out other machines (actually the software demos/samples) CirquitCAM+BoardMaster Demo (LPKF, Germany), PCAM (Everprecision, China or Taiwan), PhCNC some how fits to me.
It is easier to understand and work with. PCAM jams every time when your Gerber file contains some more complicated layer, Cirquit CAM is too heavy and hard to navigate.
Now I can say it exactly the way it is shown in the PhCNC demo. Just you have to really change the tools :)
By Philba
#70179
wow, for $9,200, you could get a LOT of quickturn boards done.
User avatar
By ohararp
#70191
@rf333 Sweet board! Can I ask about your thru hole plating setup? I looked at a couple of different options but just couldn't justify the additional cost and pain in the but off the palladium and thp setup. Can you elaborate on what you are planning to do for this?
By Philba
#70194
I make DS boards all the time and if you design with the right set of design rules, you don't need plated through holes. Vias can be done with wire soldered to connect the two sides.

The DRs are pretty obvious when you think it through.
By rf333
#70246
Philba wrote:wow, for $9,200, you could get a LOT of quickturn boards done.
We (me and my buddies) are spending $5-6000 annually for prototypes, so it looks like we will be at + for less than 2 years.
Also we are planning to make stencils and small batches (orders of 100 or below) of antennas.
We see the time as the biggest gain, especially when you have tight dead lines for your projects. Many of RF projects need more than one try to get through and the customers keep calling…. :)

P.S. LPKF’s S62 starts at $ 22К
By rf333
#70247
ohararp wrote:@rf333 Sweet board! Can I ask about your thru hole plating setup? I looked at a couple of different options but just couldn't justify the additional cost and pain in the but off the palladium and thp setup. Can you elaborate on what you are planning to do for this?
So far we don’t have a solution for thruhole plating (except soldering small wires on both sides) and we planning to try LPKF’s conductive ink.
In many cases it is possible to reduce the vias during the design process. unfortunately not always.
By macegr
#70256
I think I'd have to break even in far less than 2 years to consider this option worth trying to solder surface mount parts without solder mask.

It's not even that fun soldering through-hole circuits that have been isolation milled.
By NleahciM
#70467
rf333 wrote:
ohararp wrote:@rf333 Sweet board! Can I ask about your thru hole plating setup? I looked at a couple of different options but just couldn't justify the additional cost and pain in the but off the palladium and thp setup. Can you elaborate on what you are planning to do for this?
So far we don’t have a solution for thruhole plating (except soldering small wires on both sides) and we planning to try LPKF’s conductive ink.
In many cases it is possible to reduce the vias during the design process. unfortunately not always.
The board you posted a photo of has a number of vias on the thermal slug of a QFN. How do you plan on soldering those?

Additionally, what's the cone shaped piece of copper on the PCB for? I must admit my ignorance in the RF field.

edit: speling
Last edited by NleahciM on Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
By rf333
#70522
funnynypd wrote:...
How much is this machine?
To make a decision on buying this machine:
No. 1 is of course performance,
No. 2 is cost.
The machine is priced aprox. 1/3 of S62 (LPKF with camera). Under $10 K with the shipping. If you exclude the auto tool change it seems to me even better than LPKF. They shows unbelievable high (sub micron) resolution, but the tools have usually up to 2.5 microns run-out, in addition they never mention their own spindle run-out. Seems to me that their specs are more commercial than technical.
I spend months in research to determine which one to buy and reach the conclusion that it should be specialized unit for PCB prototyping. Universal CNC machines or DIY are definitely not a solution. Now I am able to run a prototype in a few hours. This is an advantage that is hard to estimate in money. You know the world is spinning faster and faster and I feel this is a good investment.